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Homes damaged by possible mine subsidence in Washington Township

Homes damaged by possible mine subsidence in Washington Township
Homes damaged by possible mine subsidence in Washington Township 02:32

Washington Township (KDKA) - Possible mine subsidence struck Washington Township in Fayette County over the weekend and it's not the first time it happened in the small township either.

Mine subsidence occurs when an old mine shifts or collapses underground.

Jeff Manown, his wife and 10-year-old son woke up at 2 a.m. on Saturday to find cracks in the foundation of their home and in the walls all around their house. In their basement, a block wall is buckled and pushed in, and the ceiling is sinking. Even the water in their pool is sideways.

Manown said his house shifted and dropped.

"The basement was all caved in, we didn't know what was going on, and the house was leaning the one side when we got out of bed," he said.

He said mine subsidence caused damage to his house and at least five others on Mutich Street in Washington Township.

"The cracks are all in the yard, in the chimney, the whole foundation needs replaced, my pool in the back, the deck, all that needs fixed, and cracks upstairs in the walls. It just goes on and that's all we noticed right now. There could be more," said Jeff Manown.

Manown said the damage estimate they received for his house is around $350,000. They do have mine subsidence insurance.

"I have mine subsidence insurance, but I do not have enough to cover the damages is what they said," he said.

Now their gas is shut off and they don't know if they can save their home.

His father is heartbroken for his son.

"We're all devastated, you can see, it is hitting me. You know, I'm trying to help him out. I pretty much lost my mind that whole night we were here at 2 in the morning, probably 24 hours straight just trying to do the little things that we can. There's not much you can do right now until they come back and they fill all these voids or holes that's down in the mine," said Frank "Buddy" Manown.

This isn't the first time mine subsidence has wreaked havoc on homes in Washington Township.

It happened on Smithfield Street in June 2020 and in the area of Grace Street and Perry Avenue in September 2022.

A map from the Department of Environmental Protection shows that nearly all of the township is "undermined" as a result of the extent of historic mining in the area.

This father and son stood in the front yard, with township supervisor Chuck Yusko and asked him why the problem hadn't been fixed. They said something should have been done a few years ago.

"I love this area, and the township that I live in, and I don't want to move, and I just would like to get something addressed through this area of the township. I feel that something needs to be done because it's just going to keep happening and happening," said Jeff Manown.

Yusko told KDKA-TV they're working with the DEP to see what can be done. They said DEP crews were on the street Sunday and Monday.

There are also cracks in the road. Jeff and Frank Manown said underneath the biggest gaps are sewer lines and they hope that's looked into as well.

"Everybody in this neighborhood is kind of like shook up. That's like the biggest investment you own, it's your home, you want to get it taken care of. It's terrible," said Manown.

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