Water main breaks continue to cause damage in multiple areas

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CARRICK, Pa. - Water main breaks continue to be a major issue in and around the Pittsburgh-area,  even as temperatures begin to rise.

Even though the weather may be getting better, that doesn’t mean problems from this week’s subzero temperatures will go away. Utility workers said rapid changes in the weather will cause older water lines to expand and then contract, exposing weak spots and causing the breaks.

Cold water flowing through pipes can also be a cause in some of the breaks.  

In Carrick. crews  worked to repair a major break that left some residents without water service for several hours.

The 20-inch break was reported on Concordia Street early Wednesday afternoon, sending water into houses' front yards, basements and first floors.

The break dumped water into six houses, temporarily cut off service to at least 75 customers, and temporarily trapped one family on a second floor, afraid to brave the cold, rushing water.

Resident Ashley Buckholtz was worried about the water affecting her furnace and electrical service and making it dangerous to come down from the second floor, where she was sheltering with three children ranging from 2 to 10. Firefighters at the scene told her she was safe to remain where she was.

Penn American spokeswoman Josephine Posti said water service was restored Thursday morning . Disaster-response contractors were sent  around the affected area to assess the damage to homes and start repairs. 

Andy Mehlich said he has lived in his house for eight months and was home Wednesday afternoon when the break happened. He said his basement was filled with ankle-deep water.

 “I went down here and like a raging river, it lifted up the concrete all the way to the back porch. All the garbage came down the street in my backyard,” Mehlich said. 

Meanwhile, breaks continue to be reported across the area. Early Thursday, a line ruptured in Stanton Heights.

The break happened near the intersection of Stanton Avenue and McCabe Street. 

Channel 11’s news exchange partners at TribLIVE contributed to this report.