Allegheny County

Man who lost everything in Wilkinsburg water main break takes concerns to board meeting

WILKINSBURG, Pa. — It’s been more than a month since a water main break in Wilkinsburg sent water rushing up to chest level inside Ray Pope’s condo, destroying everything he owned and forcing him to break his glass door to escape.

Still, he has more questions than answers.

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“No one wants to take accountability. It’s almost like getting into a car accident and the person that knows they hit you doesn’t want to own up to it,” Pope said.

Last month, Wilkinsburg Mayor Dontae Comans told 11 News the water main break on South Trenton Avenue was caused, in part, by work being done in the area by the Wilkinsburg-Penn Joint Water Authority.

Pope filed a claim with the water authority looking for help replacing his belongings but says he was denied.

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Tuesday night, he brought his questions directly to board members at their monthly meeting.

“It’s still an outrage what happened and what is going on now,” Pope said. “It would definitely be nice to hear some sort of accountability.”

11 News also tried, unsuccessfully, to question Board Chair Dennis Simon and Executive Director Douglas Komandt.

To this point, Pope says the only help he’s gotten has been from a few neighbors and through his GoFundMe.

Pope’s condo association has also brought in contractors to begin repairing his home. They tell him their goal is to have it ready for him to move back in in the next three months.

“I’m lucky and I’m very glad to be alive because I almost didn’t make it out of there, so I’m totally thankful for that, but I try not to think about the loss,” Pope said.

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