On Sunday evening, August 28, more than five inches of rain fell in a short period of time in the Connellsville and Bullskin, Pa., area. The massive amount of rain caused detrimental flooding to the towns. Late that evening, Connellsville Mayor Greg Lincoln declared a State of Emergency.
A deluge of water rushed down Route 119 trapping people in their vehicles, prompting water rescue operations by boat. Nearby, Breakneck Road turned from a quiet country road to a treacherous stretch of crumpled pavement. Two and a half miles of the two-lane road were destroyed; the pavement buckled and sunk in portions, and boulders littered the remaining surface.
As the days pass by and clean up continues, the devastation is more apparent. As of September 1, 2016, 14 homes will need to be demolished. Connellsville Area School District was forced to push their first day of school to September 6, as the high school was severely damaged in the flood.
Several area contractors and businesses have stepped up and donated various supplies and services to the towns and their community members. Case CE dealer, Groff Tractor, sent a Case SR220 to Bullskin Township. “We have a few employees that live in the area and wanted to do something to help. I took a donation to the New Haven Fire Department early in the week. On Wednesday, we were able to get in touch with Bullskin Township and sent them a skid steer to use to aid in the cleanup,” stated Chelsea Bithell, marketing coordinator for Groff. Area trucking company owner, Steve Black, generously donated his company’s time to haul the equipment to the disaster area.
Connellsville and Bullskin are still in great need of assistance. Items needed include cleaning supplies and building materials. Anyone who wishes to donate building supplies, such as dry wall materials, can contact the Connellsville East Side Fire Hall. The Red Cross is taking donations at the New Haven Fire Hall for cleaning supplies, personal supplies and non-perishable food items. Monetary donations can be made to the Connellsville Community Ministries at www.connmin.org/ministries/crisis-assistance/