Family displaced by blast staying in county house

January 29, 1995|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Sun Staff Writer

One family whose home was damaged in the Jan. 19 gas explosion in Westminster has found temporary shelter in a county-owned house near Carroll County Regional Airport.

The family has three children and was scheduled to move in yesterday, Department of Citizen Services Director Jolene Sullivan said.

She would not release family members' names.

The county has offered to rent five houses it owns in the 800 block of Littlestown Pike to people displaced by the explosion in the Autumn Ridge neighborhood.

County officials also announced Friday that Second Chances, a shop operated by Human Service Programs of Carroll County Inc., is accepting donations of furniture, appliances, clothes, toys and other items.

The afternoon explosion blew apart one house, left 20 families homeless and caused at least $1 million in property damage. No one was injured.

Five families had inquired as of last week about the Littlestown Pike houses, which are about 1 1/2 miles from Autumn Ridge and in the same school district, Ms. Sullivan said.

The county bought the brick bungalows and ranchers about two years ago because they were near the original flight path for the expanded runway at the airport.

Officials had planned to move the houses, which are about 30 years old, to Kriders Church Road to create a complex for the homeless, but the project proved too expensive.

Plans to build apartments for the homeless at the Kriders Church Road site are pending.

G. Michael Whitson, chief of the Bureau of Land Management, said the Littlestown Pike houses had been rented and soon will be advertised for sale.

Any victims of the explosion who rent the houses will have month-to-month leases and will be allowed to stay as long as they need, he said.

The family that was scheduled to move in yesterday will pay $625 a month and expects to stay two to three months while its home is repaired, he said. The family's insurance company will cover the rent, Mr. Whitson said.

The county also received permission from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to allow people displaced by the explosion to use Section 8 housing certificates to help pay apartment rent. No one had inquired about the offer as of Friday, Ms. Sullivan said.

For information on the houses, call Ms. Sullivan at 848-9707.

For information about Second Chances, call 848-5599.

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