Harford Week

August 22, 2004

Millard Purcell, 65-year volunteer firefighter, dies at 88

Millard Purcell, a 65-year volunteer firefighter from Bel Air, died Aug. 13 at 88.

Purcell, who once was chief of the station, responded to 35,416 calls in his career - nearly 2,000 of them last year.

Dozens of modern firetrucks and hundreds of volunteer firefighters turned out Tuesday to honor Purcell at a service at Bel Air United Methodist Church and to follow the procession through town to the cemetery.

Area firefighters help to battle California blaze

Twenty Maryland Forest Service firefighters have been dispatched to northern California to join crews battling a growing wildfire near Redding, the state Department of Natural Resources said.

The firefighters are from Carroll, Dorchester, Frederick, Harford, Howard, Montgomery, Talbot, Washington and Worcester counties, DNR spokeswoman Megan Arts said.

The team includes two AmeriCorps volunteers based in Perry Point, according to Monica Davis, an agency spokeswoman.

Davis said that the deployment would be for 16 to 18 days.

The team left Tuesday morning from Jarrettsville.

According to the National Fire Center, the French Gulf fire, 15 miles northwest of Redding, started Aug. 14 and has burned about 13,000 acres, including 22 residences and two commercial structures. At last report Friday, firefighters had the blaze 90 percent contained.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Arundel Polymer Services relocates to Belcamp

Arundel Polymer Services, a division of Arundel Recycling Center, is relocating from Arbutus to Belcamp.

The company, which uses post-industrial materials to manufacture building products, will employ 50 at its new location and is scheduled to open this summer.

Last month, Arundel Polymer Services purchased a 66,000 square-foot industrial building at 1324 Brass Mill Road. The building, which includes office and warehouse space, was formerly the home of Alcore.

According to management, capital improvements, including automated processing systems, will be made this year.

"We chose the Harford County location for its access to I-95 and our Mid-Atlantic customers. It was difficult to find a location available for purchase that met our electrical requirements. The Office of Economic Development was helpful, efficient and worked closely with us," said Operations Manager Rick Rapson in a statement.

Mustard agent leak again detected at APG

A low-level leak of mustard agent has been detected in the same storage building at Aberdeen Proving Ground that reported similar discharges in June, the Army said Wednesday.

The Army, which operates the Harford County proving ground, said an alarm sounded at 12:45 p.m. indicating a low-level presence of mustard agent vapor inside the sealed storage structure that houses steel containers of the deadly chemical. No vapor was detected outside the building and at no time was there any danger to facility workers, the community or the environment, the Army said in a prepared statement.

"Leaks such as these do occur at the nation's eight chemical agent stockpiles, and [this] leak points to the importance of completing the job of safely destroying the Edgewood chemical stockpile as early as possible," said Lt. Col. Gerald L. Gladney, commander of the Edgewood Chemical Activity and Aberdeen Chemical Agent Disposal Facility.

Workers turned on the building's chemical agent filter to draw its air through the device's carbon and charcoal filters, removing mustard agent vapor from the building.

The leaking container was the same one responsible for an alarm June 23.

Several weeks ago, Army officials isolated that container and sealed it by tightening the valve, the Army said in its statement.

The Army plans to use a specialized sealing device to keep agent vapor from again leaving the container and then transfer the container to the nearby Aberdeen Chemical Agent Disposal Facility for disposal once the surrounding containers in the storage structure can be moved out of the way.

Since beginning disposal operations in April last year, workers have safely destroyed more than 30 percent of the stockpile.

Havre de Grace library branch reopens tomorrow

The Havre de Grace branch of the Harford County Public Library will reopen at 10 a.m. tomorrow.

The branch temporary closed last month for an interior renovation.

For more information, contact the library administrative office at 410-273-5600 or visit the library Web site at www.HCPLon line.info.

Harford County schools expect 40,500 students

The Harford County school system expects 40,500 students when the county's 50 public elementary and secondary schools open Aug. 30, according to Donald R. Morrison, a spokesman for the school system.

The school calendar lists June 9 as the final day of classes for the public system.

Old Pylesville Road closed for stream work

Old Pylesville Road between Route 543 and St. Mary's Road in Pylesville will close Wednesday for about a week for a stream bank stabilization project.

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