Homeless woman scooped up by city heavy equipment operator during cleanup

PITTSBURGH — Target 11 has confirmed that work crews providing assistance to people being asked to leave a homeless encampment on the North Side last week didn’t realize that a homeless woman was still in a tent when they began the operation.

According to multiple sources, a front loader operator began scooping up the tents they suspected were already empty and tossing them into dump trucks to haul away.

After clearing the area along Stockton Avenue, the city also fenced it off to keep the homeless out.

According to sources, the homeless woman began screaming and poked her head out of the tent. She then fell to the ground. It’s unclear how far she fell, but sources say it was likely between six and eight feet. The woman declined medical assistance and got up and walked away from the scene.

Our crew was there shooting video of the cleanup that day, but we were not there when the incident happened.

A spokesperson for Mayor Ed Gainey’s administration said all of the tents were checked before the cleanup, but she said in light of what happened, a review is now underway to determine what went wrong.

“County and city employees who were working to clean the encampment on Stockton Ave(nue) did a thorough review of all of the tents prior to the decommissioning of the camp. We are currently reviewing what happened in regard to an individual being inside of a tent at the time of the incident. The individual walked away from the scene after turning down assistance and we have had no contact with them at this time,” said Maria Montano, the mayor’s press secretary.

A spokesperson for Allegheny County reached out to Channel 11 to clarify the statement from the Mayor’s Press Secretary.  The county spokesperson said county outreach workers were not involved in “clearing” the homeless camp.  The spokesperson said county workers were just there to provide assistance and resources to any of the homeless who were being displaced.

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