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Old Forge Auto Shop cleans up the floods

OLD FORGE, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE / WYOU) – The larger rivers were spared from the flooding problems in our region, but the smaller ones were not so lucky. The Lackawanna River overflowed and took on a historic auto repair business.

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

Flood cleaning has become a bit too common at Schuback’s Auto Parts. It’s another round of shoveling, high pressure washing and whatever it takes to get this family business going back to the 1950s.

“It’s a workout. Like I’ll be in pain for days. My back is probably going to kill me but you know you’re kind of working the adrenaline, ”explained Michèle Schuback-Ruby, the owner’s sister.

All of this work is the result of the Lackawanna River spilling onto its banks, crossing Lonesome Road and entering 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 interior of her brother’s garage which, hours earlier, contained two feet of flood water.

Before that happened, valuable tools were placed on an elevator while cars and other valuables were secured.

“The sandbags held up and helped us a lot. The borough brought them to us, but it’s still, you know, ”said Schuback-Ruby.

Instead of working on customer cars, owner Mike Schuback works to remove flood mud from the front lot using a front loader. He estimates that flooding has hampered business nearly a dozen times over the years.

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

Another sight has also become a bit too mainstream over the years: Workers are closing Lonesome Road between Main Street in Moosic and Bridge Street in Old Forge. Crews cleared the road and shored up the river bank.

Reinforcing rocks is one thing, but the Schubacks believe the state needs to step in and do something a lot more or otherwise, every time it rains like Wednesday they will be faced with flooding.

Schuback thinks the right decision is to extend the banks of the river several meters.

“If we do that, that will solve the problem. I mean there is so much height at the end of the river and there is so little here, ”said Schuback.

Unless that happens, there will be more exhausting work again.

“Fortunately, it’s a bank holiday weekend. We’re going to clean up until next week, ”Schuback-Ruby said.

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