Several Pittsburgh Pirates players made the biggest play of the night when they helped to free a groundskeeper who got swallowed by a billowing tarpaulin that was being pulled over the infield when storms rolled through Allegheny and surrounding counties on Tuesday evening.
Matt Gerhardt, field maintenance supervisor for the Pirates, suffered no serious injuries when strong wind gusts blew the tarpaulin over him and several other groundskeepers during a rain delay in the top of the third inning at PNC Park.
He declined to talk about the incident after being checked by a team trainer. He returned to his duties after the rain delay, the team said.
The storms downed trees and power lines throughout Allegheny and surrounding counties, leaving thousands without electrical service.
Pirates Andrew McCutchen and Sean Rodriguez were chatting outside the dugout when the tarp got caught in the winds — which were gusting at 51 miles per hour at Pittsburgh International Airport during the storm — knocking Gerhardt down and trapping him inside.
McCutchen and Rodriguez, soon joined by Gregory Polanco, ran to the tarp to help groundskeepers, police and others free Gerhardt.
The players then helped cover the infield as a deluge began.
More storms were expected throughout the night, and many parts of the area will remain under a flash flood watch until 11 a.m. Wednesday, the National Weather Service stated.
Numerous trees and branches were reported downed throughout Pittsburgh, emergency dispatchers said.
The facade of a building at East Warrington Avenue and Millbridge Street in Allentown collapsed, damaging at least two vehicles, city firefighters told emergency dispatchers.
A portion of Overbeck Street in Spring Hill was closed by a landslide, dispatchers were told.
Trees were reported down in the Washington County community of Taylorstown, the National Weather Service said.
Flooding was reported along roads about five miles northwest of Waynesburg, and a bridge was damaged by a slide in the same area, the weather service stated.
The weather service received a report of a 100-yard stretch of trees being downed near the fire hall in Baden. Large tree branches were reported down in and around the town of Beaver, the weather service said.
Some 3,900 Duquesne Light Co. customers — 500 in Shaler; 400 in Ross and 350 in Penn Hills — were without electrical service at 9:30 p.m., the utility web site shows.
More than 10,000 West Penn Power customers were without service at 9:30 p.m., the utility web site states. More than 4,900 were without service in Butler County, 1,968 in Washington County and 4,374 in Westmoreland County.
The storms forced PennDOT to cancel overnight road work enclosures on the Parkway West.
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This article was written by Michael Hasch from The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.