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Bridge closed

residents worry

January 13, 2000

Rohrersville fireBy SCOTT BUTKI / Staff Writer

photo: KEVIN G. GILBERT / staff photographer




ROHRERSVILLE - A mobile home destroyed in a fire Wednesday wouldn't have been saved even if the nearby Park Hall Road bridge was open, firefighters said Thursday.

Since May motorists have had to drive about 1 mile out of their way to reach their destinations because of the closed bridge.

Firefighters said the bridge is about 1/2 mile from the destroyed mobile home at 20502 Park Hall Road.

Residents' concerns are growing, said Kathleen Cooker of Rohersville.

"They are just sitting on a powder keg," she said. "We are starting to really worry about when the weather gets bad," she said.

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She voiced her concerns to county Public Works Director Gary Rohrer, Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook and others Thursday.

"Seconds count," she said, These are all our lives we are talking about."

The one-lane bridge was closed in late May after it was inspected and found to be structurally unsound, Rohrer said. The county said it is legally required to replace it with a two-lane bridge to meet safety standards.

The mobile home at 20502 Park Hall Road owned by Dale and Ruby Younger was gutted in a fire about 2:50 p.m. Wednesday, said Curt Fales, assistant chief of First Hose Company of Boonsboro's Rohrersville substation.

The fire rekindled later that night and the rest of the mobile home burned early Thursday, he said.

The State Fire Marshal's office said the fire began in the furnace.

The Youngers could not be reached for comment.

The blaze Wednesday brought firefighters from Rohrersville, Boonsboro, Sharpsburg, Middletown, Myersville and Brunswick.

Most firefighters knew the bridge was closed and took the detour but some from farther away may not have known, Fales said.

Cooker said at least one fire company was unaware the bridge was closed and drove up to it, stopped, turned and took another route.

Fales said the detour and delays probably made no difference.

It takes fewer than four minutes for a mobile home to be fully involved in fire so a delay wouldn't have mattered, Fales said.

The bridge was closed in May but the county didn't get the right of way needed for the widening and award the construction bid until October because some residents opposed the widening.

The contractor has begun work but can't proceed now because of the cold weather, Rohrer said. The project will be finished by April, he said.

The Younger family lost everything in the fire, Fales said.

People can send donations to the family to the First Hose Company of Boonsboro at 5 Saint Paul St., Boonsboro, Fales said. Call the station at 301 432-2348 for information.

The Youngers are staying with family, according to the fire marshal's report.

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