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San Mar residents to struggle to stay warm

December 06, 2002|by LAURA ERNDE

laurae@herald-mail.com

BOONSBORO - Residents and staff at San Mar Children's Home have been living without heat since the home's furnace broke Nov. 12.

A new furnace has finally arrived and will be up and running soon. Now administrators have the challenge of finding a way to cover the unexpected $12,000 expense.

"If you need a tax write-off, here it is," said Executive Director Bruce Anderson.

The 18 girls who live there, along with the group home's staff, have been using space heaters and layers of clothing to keep warm, Anderson said.

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"It has been frigid. I can't imagine what our electric bill is going to be," Anderson said.

Thursday was the coldest night of the year, registering 11 degrees, according to Hagerstown Weather Observer Greg Keefer.

The boiler breakdown was not covered by insurance because it had cracked due to age, Anderson said.

Anderson opted to buy a new furnace when he learned it would take five weeks to get parts to fix the old one, which was installed in the early 1980s.

Then, because of an unexpected delay, the new furnace didn't arrive until last weekend. Crews have been working to get it running since then and Anderson said he hopes the heat will be back on today.

The girls were understanding when he explained the situation to them, he said.

"They have not been complaining at all, bless their hearts," he said.

Board members probably will meet next week to begin figuring out how to pay for the new furnace.

San Mar received some donations after posting an appeal on the agency's Web site at www.sanmarhome.org.

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