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Gusts rip roof at high school

December 12, 2000

Gusts rip roof at high school



By STACEY DANZUSO / Staff Writer, Chambersburg


WILLOW HILL, Pa. - Students at Fannett-Metal High School in northern Franklin County got the day off Tuesday after they arrived at school to find high winds had ripped off portions of the building's roof.

"We have some new skylights we hadn't planned on," Fannett-Metal principal Mark Leidy said Tuesday.

The damage occurred between 6:30 and 7 a.m., when winds were gusting at between 50 and 60 miles per hour, Leidy said.

The wind lifted up the roof and a four-inch layer of foam insulation on the western side of the building, exposing several classrooms and the gymnasium to the outdoors in spots.

The 300 middle and high school students who share the building were sent home while teachers and volunteers put the school back in order, Leidy said.

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"We sent the kids home when we weren't sure if there was structural damage," Leidy said.

A roofing company determined the only damage was to the roof and was putting it back in place temporarily.

The school board held an emergency meeting Tuesday night to make a decision on a permanent fix, Leidy said.

The school will open two hours late today.

The damage extended to four classrooms, the shop area, a storage area, kitchen and the gymnasium.

A damage estimate was not available Tuesday.

Leidy said community response was tremendous.

"We were very pleased with the response from the community. We had a lot of phone calls of people offering to help the school in whatever capacity they could," he said.

Among the offers, Lowe's home improvement store donated some materials and the Franklin County Career and Technical Center sent some people out to help with repairs.

The school was built in the 1950s and the roof has been repaired since then, but Leidy was uncertain exactly when.

The high winds began late Monday, and the National Weather Service issued a high wind warning that was in effect through Tuesday afternoon.

For most of the day, winds hovered between 25 and 35 mph, but one gust of 74 mph was recorded Tuesday morning in Shippensburg, said Kevin Fitzgerald, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in State College, Pa.

Winds died down later Tuesday, but Leidy may have to contend with snow today, with the forecast calling for highs in the mid-30s and a 40 percent chance of snow this afternoon.

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