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.