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Burning leaf pile closes skating center

October 20, 2003|by PEPPER BALLARD

A small fire in a pile of leaves caused more than 120 adults and children to evacuate Family Skating Center in Halfway on Sunday afternoon.

"It appears someone had set some leaves on fire close to the building," said Bill Rishel, rink owner.

Rishel said the smoke from the 3:05 p.m. fire went up the side of the building, but no damage was done.

He said the people skating at the rink Sunday evacuated in an orderly fashion, many taking off their rental skates before leaving the building.

The Volunteer Fire Co. of Halfway, the Williamsport Volunteer Fire Department and the Funkstown Volunteer Fire Co. responded to the scene, said Jonathan Gift, chief of Funkstown Volunteer Fire Co.

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Josh Lessner, 13, who was skating outside in the parking lot, said he and a couple of his friends smelled the smoke while in the rink and told the owner, who called 911.

"We went over by the door and saw all the smoke blowing," he said. "Most people took off out the door."

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