Heavy Rain Too Much for House

FELL TOWNSHIP — Many people in our region were cleaning up wet basements after Thursday night’s soaking rain storms. But, for one family in Lackawanna County, the storm took their basement with it!

Our Newswatch 16 meteorologists say Thursday night we saw about 2.75 inches of rain in the backyard in Moosic. In Lackawanna County’s Up Valley, they saw more like four inches of rain. The runoff there was so strong that it destroyed a family’s home.

For the Swartz family, the heavy rains turned into a small waterfall down their backyard and into their basement in Fell Township, just outside Simpson. Stanley and his son started working with squeegees, but they got much more than they bargained for.

“I got my son to go up the cellar basement steps so he didn’t get hurt, and we heard the wall coming in. The wall just crashed in. Everything came in, the mud, the water,” said Stanley and his wife, Barbara.

The entire back wall of the home’s foundation caved in and much of it was swept away with the rain. No one was hurt, but the rest of the family felt the house move when the waters took out the wall.

“It was shaking like an earthquake, the way the water was. The pipes, the toilets were crooked in the bathrooms on the first floor.”

Our Stormtracker 16 meteorologists say it wasn’t necessarily the amount of rain, but the rate at which it came that caused flash flooding all over our area. Most of the damage was minor, but it doesn’t feel that way for the Swartzs. They say the home they rent is a loss and they’ll have to find somewhere else to live.

“But, I know how the poor people down the line felt, you know? They lost everything and I kind of know how they feel.”

The Swartz family did have renters’ insurance, but they say it doesn’t cover water damage, so everything that was in their basement is a loss, too.

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