Plum, Oakmont Families to Sue After Tragic Washington Boulevard Flood

Four residents from the Plum-Oakmont died during a flash flood in August 2011.

The families of four Plum and Oakmont residents are suing several entities after losing their loved ones during a flash flood in Pittsburgh's Highland Park neighborhood a little over a year ago.

Relatives of , of Plum; and Mary Saflin, 72, of Oakmont, are suing the City of Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority, Allegheny County, Alcosan, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Chester Engineers Inc., and Chrysler Group LLC (the make of the Griffith vehicle). Attorneys Paul Manion and Alan Perer made the announcement Friday.

After their minivan was immersed underwater during the Washington Boulevard flash flood on Aug. 19, 2011, the Griffiths drowned. Saflin was swept away from her vehicle into a sewer conduit where she died. Police found her body in the Allegheny River the day after the flood.

“Evidence has emerged that the danger of swift, violent flooding on Washington Boulevard has been known to government officials and their engineering consultants for a very long time and occurred repeatedly,” the attorneys said in a news release. “Plans to correct the dangerous situation were drawn up but never implemented.”

A flood event had occurred on Washington Boulevard a month before the tragic incident.

After the storm, officials immediately began to discuss plans to remedy future flooding problems on the road. Currently, there are automated flood gate systems that use sensors to automatically close when water gets too high.

Pittsburgh emergency personnel also began training for water rescues.

The Plum-Oakmont communities came together after the tragic event, hosting fundraisers, services and even constructing memorials for the victims.

Stay tuned with the Plum-Oakmont Patch for any developments in this story.


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G-Man February 01, 2013 at 04:49 PM
Money of course won't assuage the loss..but I wish the families the best of luck in court..I hope the city and the other defendants don't drag this out..haven't these poor souls suffered enough..and after civil action is complete..there should be a criminal investigation which of course is long over due and no doubt will ever happen..you people who were "in the know" and could have done something and you know you could have..will carry this all your days.. And in your case I hope they are long..
diane February 01, 2013 at 08:31 PM
I feel that these victims' families have been haunted by this totally unnecessary tragedy and should be compensated. It's really not about the money. That will NEVER bring their lost family members back. However it WILL make a statement to the city that things need to be done to fix this "way over due" problem. Why does it always take a tragedy to open peoples' eyes? I pray everyday that the victims' family members find peace. I can't imagine having such a thing happen to my family and learning to cope with that devastating outcome. I wish the families luck in court.


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