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Demolition work halted on former Washington County Hospital after complaint of dust spread by wind

January 13, 2012|By HEATHER KEELS |
  • One of the former Washington County Hospital buildings becomes a shell Friday as work on razing the complex continues.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

Demolition work on the former Washington County Hospital was halted Friday afternoon after a neighbor complained that the wind was spreading thick dust from the demolition site, a Hagerstown official said.

"We sent one of our code inspectors down after we started getting complaints, to tell them to shut down" for the day, city spokeswoman Erin Wolfe said.

Crew members said they were wrapping up for the day when the inspector arrived, she said.

The city plans to return to the site on Tuesday to ensure the work is being done in compliance with the demolition permit issued by the city, which states that adequate measures must be taken to control dust, Wolfe said.

In addition, an assistant city engineer lodged a complaint with the Maryland Department of the Environment's air quality compliance division, Wolfe said.

MDE's local air-quality inspector was on vacation Friday, but the department said an inspector would visit the work site early next week, she said.

Wayne Kesselring, who lives across South Cannon Avenue from the hospital site, said he called the city to complain about the problem.

Kesselring said most days since demolition started, neighbors have noticed some dust on their vehicles, but on Friday, the dust was so thick that the neighborhood looked as if it were filled with smoke.

His wife, Carolyn, said she thought the house was on fire because of the dust that clouded the air.

Kesselring said a misting machine the demolition crew had been using to control dust was not turned on while the work was being done on Friday.

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