Fire at Hopewell pool jeopardizes opening; Pumping equipment destroyed; damage put at more than $100,000


The Hopewell neighborhood swimming pool, off Snowden River Parkway in east Columbia, may not be able to open Memorial Day weekend because of a pre-dawn fire last week that destroyed the pool's pumping equipment and a wooden building that housed the machinery.

Rob Goldman, Columbia Association's vice president for sports and fitness, said it will take a week or two to determine whether the pool, one of 23 public pools in Columbia, will be able to open at all this year.

"We're investigating to see if we can rig something to get us through the summer," he said.

The one-alarm fire was discovered by neighbors about 1: 30 a.m. Tuesday. It destroyed the wooden lifeguard office, as well as the pumping and filtering equipment that keeps the pool water clean. A wooden shower room also was damaged by fire and smoke but not destroyed.

The estimated cost of damage is more than $100,000, Goldman said, though he had no specific figure. The Maryland fire marshal's office has not determined the cause of the fire.

About six weeks ago, another fire, set by vandals in a trash can in the women's shower room at the Kendall Ridge pool, caused $30,000 in smoke damage, Goldman said. Repairs at Kendall Ridge, also in east Columbia, are virtually complete, Goldman said.

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