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Teen dies, two hurt setting up mobile home

November 04, 1999|By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI

WILLIAMSPORT - A Williamsport teenager died and his father was hospitalized in critical condition Thursday after a mobile home they were moving shifted off the jacks and fell on them.

Another relative was treated at Washington County Hospital and released, Maryland State Police said.

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Arvin Laray Eby, 16, of 14256 Clearspring Road, Williamsport, was pronounced dead at Washington County Hospital following the 11:30 a.m. accident, rescuers said.

Eby, his father Carl Lester Eby, 51, of the same address, and Duane Daniel Strite, 26, of 9248 Downsville Pike, Williamsport, were attempting to set a mobile home on blocks when the accident occurred said Diane Strite, Duane Strite's wife and Carl Eby's daughter.

The pre-owned mobile home fell as the three were attempting to place it on blocks, crushing Arvin Eby beneath it and partially trapping the other men.

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"It all happened in a wink of a eye," said Diane Strite, who witnessed the accident.

She said she wasn't sure what went wrong. A jack might have malfunctioned or the ground under the jack could have given way, she said.

It was windy at the time and that may have been a contributing factor, she said.

Diane Strite said her father, husband and brother were placing the mobile home on a section of her father's dairy farm for another brother to live in.

The family has moved mobile and modular homes for other family members, she said.

Her husband managed to free himself, she said. Rescue workers freed her father and then her brother, she said.

Williamsport and Clear Spring ambulance and fire companies were at the scene.

When firefighters arrived, Duane Strite was sitting on the ground, said Clear Spring Fire Department Assistant Chief Charlie Mundey.

Her husband's leg was broken in the accident, Diane Strite said.

Carl Eby was unconscious when he was taken to Washington County Hospital, Mundey said. A hospital spokeswoman said he remained in critical condition Thursday night.

Diane Strite said her father was taken off a respirator Thursday night, and she was hopeful he would recover.

About 24 firefighters from Williamsport and Clear Spring worked for about 30 minutes to free Arvin Eby from beneath the mobile home, Mundey said.

Firefighters used a neighbor's backhoe to pick up a corner of the home while two men reached in and pulled Arvin Eby clear, he said.

Clear Spring Ambulance Chief John Greenlee said the young man went into cardiac arrest when he was extricated.

Diane Strite said her brother Arvin could always be counted on to lend a helping hand and enjoyed working on the farm.

She said he was friendly and good-natured, and was fond of his nieces and nephews.

"He had a good sense of humor. We just loved being around him," she said.

Maryland State Police said residents placed the mobile home on its blocks later Thursday.

Moving a typical mobile home onto blocks does not require a lot of manpower or technical skill, said Bill Pennington, president of Fortney Homes Inc., in Hagerstown.

He said it's is not unusual for owners of used homes to move them themselves.

An accident of this type is rare but could happen to anyone, including professionals, if the ground is unstable, he said.

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