Carnival continues despite storm

High winds, heavy rains disrupt Winfield event

July 11, 2002|By Ellie Baublitz | Ellie Baublitz,SUN STAFF

A day after a sudden storm roared through a carnival and sent four people to the hospital, members of Winfield Community Volunteer Fire Department worked to ensure that the show would go on.

Fire company volunteers spent much of yesterday taking stock of the booths and stands that weathered the storm and setting up replacements for the tents that didn't. They were determined to open the gates for the third night of the carnival's six-night stand.

Dave Kemp, who was among four volunteers preparing the pit beef stand for another night, recalled yesterday how the storm left one woman caught up in a wind-whipped tent.

"She was holding onto the pole and I told her to let it go, and the wind took it and she got all wrapped up in the tent and the pole came down next to her," Kemp said. "It could have been ugly."

The severe thunderstorm, with high winds and heavy rain, shut down the carnival as the annual firemen's parade was getting under way Tuesday night.

Several hundred people had turned out for the parade, which stretched a mile from Winfield Elementary School on Salem Bottom Road to the firehouse on West Old Liberty Road, when the storm hit about 7:30 p.m.

"We didn't have any warning on this," said Tim Warner, president of the Winfield fire company. "Usually if we have severe weather coming, with our pager system, we get a warning, or dispatch people will call us to say there's bad weather coming. Apparently this one snuck up on them."

Violent wind gusts created a dust storm on the carnival grounds, toppling several tents and sending people running for cover. More than 200 carnivalgoers sought shelter in the firehouse.

"I walked up to the gun raffle stand to get a couple of tickets and he [the raffle stand operator] was holding onto his tent and two legs were off the ground," Sam Carr, another volunteer at the pit beef stand, recalled.

Fire Department personnel treated 10 people for minor injuries, mostly cuts and scrapes, Warner said. Four people, including a teen-age Winfield junior firefighter, were taken to Carroll County General Hospital for more serious bruises. They were treated and released, Warner said.

County Commissioner Robin Bartlett Frazier, riding in the parade, said she got to the firehouse before torrential rains started.

A Rosedale Attractions worker said no rides were damaged during the storm. An additional discounted ride night will be offered today at the carnival. Ride bracelets purchased in advance will be honored tonight, said Warner.

Winfield firefighters also answered eight storm-related calls Tuesday evening for downed wires and tree and pole fires, Warner said.

Sharon Sasada, a Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. spokeswoman, said 5,985 homes in Carroll County and 70,000 statewide were left without power at the height of the storm. Power for all of the homes, including more than 300 that were without service yesterday afternoon, was expected to have been restored by last night.

Many problems resulted from the high winds and lightning that hit trees and toppled branches onto power lines. Bruce Lockard, Carroll County roads chief, said his department received 15 calls for trees down and across roadways Tuesday night, mostly in the southern part of the county.

Dave Smith of the State Highway Administration in Westminster, said crews responded to calls for limbs in the road on Route 97 north of Route 140 and in Route 32 in Gamber, and a call for a tree blown over against telephone wires on Old Washington Road north of Winfield.

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