Old Forge auto shop cleans two feet of water after heavy rainfall

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OLD FORGE, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Larger rivers were spared any flood problems in our region but smaller ones weren’t so lucky. The Lackawanna River spilled its bank and took aim on a landmark auto repair business.

It’s not the first time it’s happened, but the owner wants it to be the last.

Flood cleanup has become a little too common at Schuback’s Auto Parts. It’s another round of shoveling, power washing, and whatever else it takes to get this family business that dates back to the 1950s up and running.

“This is a workout. Like I will be sore for days. My back will probably be killing me but you know you kind of work on adrenaline,” explained Michele Schuback-Ruby, the sister of the owner.

All that work is the result of the Lackawanna River spilling its banks, flowing across Lonesome Road and into the garage.

Eyewitness News was there Wednesday night when the road looked more like a lake than a way to and from several businesses including Schuback’s.

Michele Schuback-Ruby showed the inside of her brother’s garage which hours earlier had two feet of floodwater inside it.

Before that happened, valuable tools were placed on a lift while cars and other items of value were moved to safety.

“The sandbags did hold up and help us a lot. The borough brought those in for us but it’s still, you know,” stated Schuback-Ruby.

Instead of working on customers’ cars, owner Mike Schuback is working to clear flood mud from the front lot by using a front-end loader. He estimates flooding has put the brakes on business nearly a dozen times through the years.

“We have a strong customer base in Old Forge and Taylor and Moosic and even outlying areas and the livelihoods of the people that work for us,” explained Schuback.

Another sight has also become a bit too common through the years: workers shutting down Lonesome Road between Main Street in Moosic and Bridge Street in Old Forge. Crews cleaned up the road and shored up the river bank.

Rock reinforcement is one thing but the Schubacks believe the state needs to step in and do something much more or otherwise every time it rains like it did Wednesday, they’re going to be dealing with flooding.

Schuback believes the right move is to build up the river banks by several feet.

“If we do this, it’s going to solve the problem. I mean there’s so much height at the end of the river and there’s so little here,” stated Schuback.

Unless that happens, there’ll just be more exhausting work again.

“Thankfully, it’s a holiday weekend. We’re going to be cleaning up until next week,” said Schuback-Ruby.

Schuback hopes to be able to reopen his business on Tuesday. In the meantime, Lonesome Road reopened Thursday afternoon to traffic.

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