Carnegie, PA is my hometown. I lived there for the first 28 years of my life.

On September 17, 2004, the heavy rains from hurricane Ivan had caused flooding from Chartiers Creek, destroying homes, businesses, and lives. Most of my friends and relatives still residing in the area were relatively safe as they have homes on higher ground. They were lucky. Others (like my good friend and fellow photographer, Mike Bordo in nearby Oakdale, PA) have lost their entire businesses.

Unfortunately, while the poor hurricane victims in Florida continue to receive considerable attention, western Pennsylvania's challenges appear to be going unnoticed by the national press. There are many families here and in West Virginia who desperately need financial assistance. Please do not allow these good people to become forgotten as our nation attempts to recover from so many disasters.

On September 30, thirteen days after this devastation occurred, I took a drive through Carnegie to get a glimpse of what remains of the clean-up effort. It is heartbreaking to see up close. Dust and mud is everywhere. There is an odor I cannot describe. Despite the tons and tons of ruined cars, appliances, furniture, food, and clothing already hauled away, there is yet more debris on the sidewalks. Property owners and volunteers assisting the elderly continue to break their backs removing mud from basements and ripping out not-so-drywall. Long-standing businesses that have stood for generations will never re-open.

Major news outlets may have moved on to the latest political scandal or annulled celebrity wedding, but for the residents of Carnegie, this nightmare has not ended.

We are Carnegie. We never quit!
Spencer Cominos' apartment building
is gutted for future renovation.
Chartiers Creek between Glendale
and Carnegie, PA.
This is St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School. (Forever known to my generation as St. Luke's School.)
This is where I attended Catechism classes as a child and where I DJ'd the Carnegie Youth Group dances as a teen.
In recent years, Carnegie has been reinventing itself
with the addition of fine retailers such as this art gallery.

The owners work feverishly to clean out their gallery
in order to construct an exhibit scheduled for this month.

Update: On October 8th, 3rd Street Gallery reopened with the
"58th Annual Aqueous Open." Beautiful watercolor works
from 18 states plus one from Belgium!!! Kudos to Phil & Jean!

Update: Sadly, Jean Salvato passed away February 19, 2005.
She is missed by husband Phil and the community.

The front window of a coin-op laundry:

Will survive Ivan.

Never give up.

Be strong.
Mansfield Boulevard Bridge.

Chartiers Creek was so high that twenty people, including Carnegie's chief of police, Jeffrey Harbin, were trapped for hours and had to be rescued from this bridge by boat.

Look at the size of the tractor-trailer crossing the bridge
and imagine how much much flood water had to rise
to cause so much havoc.
Main Street Bridge.

Notice the somewhat "normal" water level.
Parts of town saw flood water 6 feet above street level.

Can you imagine such a volume of filthy creek water?

The former Elks Club building can be seen in this shot.
(My sister held her wedding reception there.)
Debris against the fence of a parking lot.
Dust and mud cover the asphalt parking lot and a lone car.
Damaged drywall and household appliances waiting for pick-up.
Over-flowing dumpster on Main Street.

The viewers of WPXI-TV submitted flood images
from throughout western Pennsylvania.
To view a slide show, click here.

For images of flooding in the City of Pittsburgh, check out this site.

Help flood and hurricane victims through the Disaster Relief Fund.
Donate to the local chapter of the American Red Cross.
Click here to make a difference.

As of September 27, 2004, The Salvation Army has provided Hurricane Ivan flood victims in Western Pennsylvania
with more than 13,000 meals and 2,000 clean-up kits. Canteens (mobile feeding units) continue to circulate throughout the area.
Nearly 2,000 families have been served with an average of $500 per family being spent.
Lodging through area hotels and motels continues to be a need for those whose homes have been damaged or condemned.
Overall expenses are nearly topping the $650,000 mark.

Get more information. Volunteer. Donate.
Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services of Western Pennsylvania.
Please click here.

On the other side of Pittsburgh from Carnegie,
the communties of Millvale, Shaler, Etna,
and Sharpsburg were also hit hard.

Click here for images of flooding in Millvale, PA.

Thanks to Liz and the fine folks at Mr. Smalls for sharing.

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