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Crews place new roof on women's club

May 04, 2007|by KAREN HANNA

HAGERSTOWN - More than six months after flames tore through the roof of the historic Women's Club, modern engineering was at work Thursday to re-cover the century-old landmark.

Crews from S. Gates Construction and Wise Construction helped steer mammoth triangular-shaped trusses into place above the three-story South Prospect Street building, which sustained heavy damage in a fire on Oct. 22, 2006.

Ken Wiseley, owner of Wise Construction in Fairplay, which took the lead on the job, said workers built the trusses over the last two weeks, allowing the roof sections to be installed over a few days instead of more slowly.

While workers were replacing the roof - none of it could be salvaged - the building was exposed to the elements, Wiseley said. In all, Wiseley said, workers planned to set in place over four days three trusses weighing 6,000 pounds each and 14 pre-built dormers.

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"And, we hope to have it dried in by Wednesday because they're calling for rain," Wiseley said.

One of the trusses appeared to float as a huge crane pulled it into the sky above the building, where it competed with a chimney and the St. John's Episcopal Church steeple for the stratosphere.

Gene Carbaugh, 43, of Hagerstown, who was helping his son move into an apartment nearby, stopped to watch.

"I do this stuff for a living, but it's kind of cool to watch somebody else do it," said Carbaugh, who said he wanted to be around when the crews crammed into place the third of the three trusses along the roof.

"I just want to see if the last piece is going to fit in there like it should," Carbaugh said.

The Herald-Mail reported in October that 18 women were forced from their apartments by the fire. Assistant Fire Marshal for Hagerstown Doug DeHaven, said the fire was caused by electrical malfunction. Firefighter estimates at the time put the damages at $150,000.

Wiseley said the entire second floor must be renovated, and he estimated that work to restore the building as it was at the time of the fire could take eight months. The roof work could take about two weeks.

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