Mudslide, flooding hit Coalport
Borough applies for FEMA aid
COALPORT — Severe flooding and a mudslide from a ridge in the eastern part of the borough necessitated an emergency declaration and application for help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to repair damage, Coalport Borough Emergency Management Director Jack Laing said.
Westover, a community about 12 miles north of Coalport, also had flooding issues, news outlets reported. An emergency also was declared there.
Coalport’s Main Street was open only to emergency vehicles as water rushed into town for hours.
While some Coalport residents suspected water in the inactive coal mines contributed to the problem, Laing said it was solely caused by runoff from storms Friday morning falling on ground that had already been soaked for days.
Several businesses on Main Street took a hit, he said, as well as homeowners.
Dennis Bungo’s home on Route 53, the south end of Main Street, was flooded. His coal and oil furnaces and fuel were in water. The worst part, he said, was this was the third time his home was flooded since 2005, and the borough hasn’t followed through on flood control improvements for the town.
“They said we are going to put in flood control. They had a FEMA grant, but they gave it back because they had to match it,” he said.
Laing confirmed the borough had applied for federal funding for flood control.
“I’m not sure where they are on that. Probably the cost is a factor, “ he said.
Lifelong Coalport resident Donna Williams was sympathetic to borough leaders saying Coalport doesn’t have the funding or the manpower to implement flood control.
The borough had been flooded before but never as bad as Friday, she said.
“It’s devastating,” she said.
Residents and business owners shoveled mud from sidewalks and followed Laing’s directions for diverting flood water from buildings.
A chunk of mud slid to his feet as he spoke.
“It’s a local disaster,” Laing said as he stood over water swirling into a storm drain leading to a 48-inch pipe under Main Street. That’s a big pipe, he said, and even that hadn’t been enough.
“We are praying for no more rain,” he said.
Mirror Staff Writer Russ O’Reilly is at 946-7435.