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Vandals use Cascade, Purex to damage pond at hospital

June 23, 2005|by PEPPER BALLARD

More than five dozen fish in one of Western Maryland Hospital Center's ponds got an unexpected dose of detergent Wednesday morning, sending workers into a daylong flurry to save the creatures from the poisonous foam.

Hagerstown Fire Department Deputy Chief Ron Horn filled the hospital's entrance pond - from which the fish had been removed - with water Wednesday afternoon. The pond was drained after workers discovered the foamy mess Wednesday morning, Hospital Communications Director N. Linn Hendershot said.

Four containers of Cascade and some Purex were used in the vandalism, Hendershot said. He said workers pulling into the center saw the pond covered with foam.

"This is a shame. This was all built with donations," Horn said.

Between 60 and 70 orange and speckled koi - a carp bred for ornamental ponds - were taken to another pond on the 13.3-acre campus, Hendershot said.

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"Right now, we've lost just a few," he said. "We'll see if they're swimming on their fronts or on their backs in the morning."

Hendershot said hospital workers are concerned the plants in the pond won't survive.

Hendershot said last year, vandals tore apart the fountain inside the pond, causing about $1,500 in damage.

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