The Baltimore Sun

Gas leak prompts evacuation of Bel Air school

About 1,300 students at Bel Air Middle School were evacuated yesterday morning and sent home for the day after work crews inadvertently struck a gas main, sending fumes into the building.

The crews were drilling test holes about 10:30 a.m., searching for a leak in a water main, when the accident occurred. Firefighters from the Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company arrived at the school on Idlewild Street within minutes, and BGE crews arrived by 11 a.m.

The gas main was capped by 11:15 a.m., and the school building was ventilated.

"We closed the school because we could not be sure there were no gas remnants," said Don Morrison, spokesman for the county school system.

The school system's automated telephone alert system placed more than 3,300 calls within 15 minutes to inform parents of the closing, Morrison said. The school is expected to open at the usual time today.

Mary Gail Hare

Harford County

: Abingdon

Motorcyclist dies after head-on crash

A Harford County man died Monday evening at Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore of injuries suffered when his motorcycle and a pickup truck collided in Abingdon, state police said.

The accident occurred about 2 p.m. when the 17-year-old driver of a Dodge Dakota was trying to pass another vehicle in the 3400 block of Philadelphia Road in a no-passing zone, police said. The pickup truck collided with the oncoming motorcycle, police said.

The motorcyclist was identified as Anderson Barrett, 60, of the 3200 block of Wilson Ave., Abingdon.

He was flown by a state police helicopter to Shock Trauma, where he later died, police said.

Police said the driver of the pickup truck was not injured. The Joppa teenager's name was withheld because he is a juvenile, police said.

The accident remains under investigation, police said.

Richard Irwin


: Transportation

City to crack down on illegal parking

Tomorrow, Baltimore's parking control agents will aggressively enforce laws governing the use of parking spaces reserved for drivers with disabilities, according to the city's Department of Transportation.

The idea is to raise the awareness for drivers who flout the rules. "Motorists without disabilities who park vehicles in spaces specifically marked for the handicapped even 'just for a minute' is 60 seconds too long," a statement from the Transportation Department says.

Extra agents will deployed in city neighborhoods starting at 7 a.m. Transportation officials said they will target areas where problems are most frequent.

The fine for illegally parking in a handicapped space is $202.


Free admission starts Halloween events

The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore is starting its Halloween celebration with free admission Oct. 1.

The event is the first of many for what has been designated "OctoBoofest."

There will be a weekend with a Harry Potter theme, and a mystery scavenger hunt and trick or treating on the weekends of Oct. 20, 21 and 27 and 28.

Most activities are included in the zoo's general admission price. For more information: www.marylandzoo.org.

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