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Blast from The Past

July 10, 2008

From the week of July 8, 1958

Williamsport's Mayor and Council plan a second effort to obtain a swimming pool for the town.

Discussed last night was a new proposal for a pool that would cost far less than the $100,000 originally proposed.

Specifications for the pool, which would measure 50 by 100 feet, will be put out for quotations from contractors. If the pool can be built for the new sum that the town has in mind, it will become a reality.

A committee has been appointed by Mayor L. Beard Miller to look into the pool construction project.

Williamsport's Mayor and Council at last night's meeting also discussed two other major matters that may be adopted for the town, a sewage disposal plant and expansion of the town limits.

Williamsport now has Imhauf tanks at the edge of town for disposal purposes, but their capacity has just about been reached and construction continues in the area.

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Federal money is known to be available for disposal plant purposes. Williamsport authorities will look into the question of how much is available.

The proposed increase in the town limits would be to the south, along the Downsville-Boonsboro Road, and to the east along the Hagerstown Road. This would tie in with the sewage disposal plant, since many properties would fall within the town's limits for the first time, under this expansion.

Last night's meeting also produced the announcement that Dr. G. V. Broadwater has canceled his lease for offices in Williamsport's Town Building. The vacated offices will be available for use by a professional man, and efforts will be made to secure a new physician for the community.

From the week of July 12, 1983From the week of July 12, 1983

An 11-year veteran of the Long Meadow Volunteer Fire Department, partially buried in a 10-foot-deep ditch for more than two hours, "rescued himself" yesterday with the help of Hagerstown Community Rescue.

Karl Pile, 51, of 2415 Marsh Pike, escaped with only cuts and bruises to his left foot after two-thirds of his body was buried in the ground. Pile was released from Washington County Hospital after X-ray examinations proved negative.

Pile, owner of Karl Pile Septic Tank Service, was attempting to repair a septic tank in the back yard of a house at 1820 Gilbert Ave. about 3:30 p.m. and had stepped into the hole to inspect the tank when one side of the ditch collapsed, officials said.

The dirtfall trapped Pile's left foot against the septic tank and pinned his lower body between the fallen dirt and the other wall of the ditch, officials said.

A dozen rescue workers responding to the scene found Pile up to his chest in dirt and unable to free his foot. Concerned that the ditch might continue to collapse, they used plywood panels to bolster the sides of the hole, fastening them in place with hydraulic pumps.

A belt was fastened around Pile's waist and a robe was draped under his arms and through the belt.

An oxygen mask was dropped down and strapped loosely around Pile's head.

Using small shovels, rescuers worked for more than an hour to clear away much of the dirt enclosing Pile's waist and thighs. But Pile's left foot remained trapped.

So workers dropped Pile a six-foot iron spike and he began digging his foot free.

"He knows where his leg is and he's capable of digging himself out," said Don Bolyard, a rescue worker, as the spike was handed to Pile. "He can dig himself out, rather than us jamming his leg."

"Talk to me, Karl," a rescue worker asked as Pile began digging. "Are you alright?"

"I think I'm gonna lose my shoe," he replied.

Stopping occasionally to draw air from the oxygen mask and complaining of numbness in his leg, Pile continued to chop away at the hard-packed clay. Workers on the ground used a bucket to carry off dirt until Pile managed to work his foot free.

A ladder was inserted into the hole and Pile climbed out, exhausted but relatively unharmed.

He was placed on a stretcher and carried off to Washington County Hospital.

Officials said the 12-by-4-foot trench had been dug earlier yesterday with a backhoe, which piled the rock and dirt on one edge of the pit.

Rescue workers speculated that the weight of the dirt forced one side of the trench to collapse just as Pile entered to inspect the septic tank.

"That pile of dirt added stress to that side," said John Thomas, a Hagerstown Community Rescue worker. "The dirt just slid in on him, so he was pinned up against the septic tank."

"He basically rescued himself," Thomas said. "He's a very lucky man."

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