Williamsport Town Council briefs

September 15, 2011

Deputy praised for quickly fighting fire

WILLIAMSPORT — Williamsport Mayor James G. McCleaf II Monday night praised a Washington County Sheriff's Office deputy for his quick action fighting a fire in a three-story apartment/office building Sunday at 5 N. Conococheague Street.

There could have been severe damage to the block of buildings and possibly injuries if Deputy First Class Carl Witmer had not reacted as quickly as he did, McCleaf said during a Williamsport Town Council meeting Monday night.

The blaze started about 11:20 a.m. in exhaust fans above the bathroom in the first floor of Jewells & Jewells Used Appliances and caused about $50,000 in damage, officials said.

Witmer was eating with his family at the Desert Rose Cafe on Conococheague Street when he heard about the fire, McCleaf said.

Witmer rushed to the building and helped another person fight the fire with a fire extinguisher, McCleaf said.

McCleaf said he has often worried about a fire in that area of North Conococheague Street. Buildings in that part of the street share a common attic, which means a fire could travel quickly through the buildings, he said.

"I thought, 'Oh no, here we go,'" McCleaf told council members.

Grant to be used to spruce up downtown

WILLIAMSPORT — Williamsport has received a $20,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission as part of an ongoing effort to revitalize the downtown area, town officials said Monday night at a  town council meeting.

The money will be used to purchase banners, signs, new town flags, repaint bicycle lanes, repaint bicycle racks and do landscaping, Mayor James G. McCleaf II said.

The town will have to contribute $20,000 to obtain the matching grant, McCleaf said.

Town officials are revitalizing the downtown area in an attempt to capitalize on tourism, particularly stemming from the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park.

— Dave McMillon

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