Emergency Calls Overwhelm 9-1-1 During Wednesday’s Flooding

In another view of Wednesday’s flooding, water rises against two garages in Parks Township along Dime Road. Armstrong County 9-1-1 logged more than 300 emergency calls in regards to the flooding and other applicable damage Thursday and made a record of all of them.

by Jonathan Weaver

Christian and his father, Wes Lundstrom, were coming home from pre-school on Sixth Avenue, in Ford City when Wednesday’s flood waters hit the area.

Armstrong County 9-1-1 emergency dispatchers had their work cut out for them Wednesday after drenching rain covered several municipalities.

But, they were up to the task – and logged more than 300 flooding and emergency calls from East Franklin Township south and into Westmoreland County up through Thursday morning.

The list spanned 40 pages that were acquired by the Kittanning Paper Thursday morning. Tree damage was noted as early as 12:20PM, with the first call of ponding in East Franklin Township along Boltz Road. Kittanning Borough road crews responded to a tree down about 5AM Thursday.

9-1-1 Coordinator Ron Bausert praised the dispatchers for successfully handling all emergency calls. He reported that all were transferred to the proper authorities.

“We had at one time seven people working,” Bausert said.

9-1-1 dispatchers had upwards of 100 calls pending at one point for emergency crews. Bausert said most of the calls were because of flooded basements.

National Weather Service meteorologists noted 2-3 inches of rain per hour during the storm.

“My staff did a very good job,” Bausert said. “We also found out that the new radio system was well-worth its cost and implementation.”

Flooding was also recorded in Worthington Borough, as seen by this image sent to the Kittanning Paper news desk by a reader.

In all, emergencies were noted in about 25 municipalities. Calls noted that some were trapped in their homes or vehicles

The Emergency Operations Center in Rayburn Township has since returned to its normal call volume and staffing of three dispatchers per shift.

As of 1:30PM yesterday, only four state roads were closed in the county by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation District 10 office headquartered in Indiana: Route 3007 (Glade Run Road) between Route 128 in Cadogan Township and Pony Farm Road in North Buffalo Township, Route 2058 (Stitts Run Road) in Parks Township between Dime Road and Garvers Ferry Road, Route 3013 (Nicola Road) in West Franklin Township between Fenelton Road and Route 422 and Route 2047 (Edmon Road/Old State Road) in Kiskiminetas Township between School Road and Ross Road.

Routes 4035 and 3011 (Yellow Dog Road through West Franklin and North Buffalo Township) opened by mid-afternoon after being closed during the morning.

Six of those 10 roads were opened by Thursday morning in the North Buffalo Township/West Franklin Township areas.

As well as the numerous flooding calls, emergency crews also responded to many electrical, gas or hazardous material concerns.

PennDOT emergency crews stopped motorists from entering into Cadogan Township due to the mass flooding. 9-1-1 also logged flooded basement concerns in the area, as well as trapped homeowners.