New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - December 28, 1983, New Braunfels, Texas
H !i crc'; >'* ex , inc
The San Antonio Span tad catted a pean
to u Iii m i|ayS MMMmI flutt
vvinCivDCv Iva BOOD T?CVflM*DD/t WPK-■ WwHi -fPr'
press time was that it was to aaaoaact tin flrtag oi roo bk coscn moms mcisosc* nenvw sh been nuder fire for the Span* alow start Bls
The Span, currently mired la last plan ti Ba Midwest Division after rnaktog the Western Division finals last year, lost the* fifth straight game Tuesday. In losing to the Boston Deities at home, 115-108, San Antonio dropped Is Urlt.
McHone was a former assistant conch andor Stoa Albeck, who left the Span after Inst yanr to Become head coach of the New Jersey Nota.
-it : A . 0 .
JallPS, 75?ll5Concerns raised about city department
By DYANNE FRY Staff writer
Employee turnover in the City of New Braunfels building department has local builders worried. The department regulates the town’s booming construction business, and the builders want to see it operating at IOO percent capacity.
The city has been sliort one building inspector since November. Dan Montrose resigned after working for the city less than three months. Since then, building official Joe Calvin has been doing most of the inspections, with Department of Public Works
Supervisor Fred Hyden assisting in tight spots.
The Herald-Zeitung got word last week that some local contractors may be growing impatient with the frequent delays in getting a city inspector to the construction site. In some cases, an inspection must be done before the next phase of construction can proceed. Contractors lose money if the crews have to stand around too long.
Even when the city had two inspectors, they sometimes didn’t get around as fast as the builders liked. Several months ago, the New Braunfels Builders Association lobbied for a second truck, so that both inspectors
could be on the road at the same time. City Council approved purchase of the truck in November. Now there’s only one inspector.
Concerns have also been expressed that plumbing inspections aren’t being done adequately. Calvin is a master electrician, but Montrose was the department’s plumbing expert.
Ryden said Wednesday that he had more than one application for Montrose’s job, but that it would probably be after Jan. I before he hired anyone. He does expect to have someone on board by the time the new truck is delivered in late January or early February. And he said the new inspector
would be a licensed plumber.
The building department has seen quite a few changes in personnel of late. Former inspectors Don Constance and Bob Fitzgerald left last summer. The first replacement is reported to have lasted less than a week. Calvin started work in early fall, a couple of weeks ahead of Montrose, who resigned “about a month ago,” Ryden said. The department clerk has also been replaced twice in the past year.
One local contractor (who asked not to be identified) thinks it all boils down to money.
See BUILDING, Page 8A
New Braunfels, Texas
■ I OO TCO OO D--A __
WEDNESDAY December 28,1983 25 cents
Vol. 92 - No. 258
28 Pages —4 Sections
Broken pipes plague Utilities, local homes
By OEBBIE DsLOACH and DYANNE FRY Staff writers
With record-setting lows over the Christmas holidays and more cold weather headed this way, Adolfo Sanchez is getting a real taste of his temporary title.
As acting water superintendent for New Braunfels Utilities. Sanchez is filling in for vacationing superintendent Jessie Perez Three foremans take turns at the acting position, and Sanchez was the lucky one this time.
He and his crews have spent many hours since Christmas Eve helping NBU customers find their water cut-offs, repairing major water main breaks, and trying to keep the instruments on the Utilities' water tanks from freezing.
Even so. Sanchez said his initiation as acting superintendent hasn t been unbearable “We all had a good Christmas, and we've been more fortunate than others," bradded
Three major water main breaks were a problem over the weekend “We were out in the HOO block of West Mill from
about 11:30 p m Saturday to about 6 a rn. Sunday. Water was shooting up in the air about 30 feet on that one,” Sanchez said.
A small water main leak at Perryman and Unicom developed into a major problem Saturday, and required about four hours of attention.
Then, on Monday, “we had a split pipe on Magazine between Highway Bl and Nacogdoches.’’ Sanchez said. “We couldn't shut the water off completely, so we had to fight awhile to get a clamp on it.”
Hose to 200 calls came in over the weekend for shutting off water to homes and businesses with broken pipes. “We got about another IOO calls on Monday," Sanchez said. “People call rn and don’t know where their water cut-off is. We don't mind helping, but it might be nice if people went out and located their cut-offs before this next spell — just in case*'’
Another headache has been frozen instruments on water storage tanks. “When the gauges freeze up. we can't
See WATER, Page BA
Gas crunch eases — at least for now
With five days of record temperatures just past, and another arctic front on its way in, many parts of Texas are facing power shortages Coma! County isn t in serious trouble yet. but utility companies are advising residents to watch those watts and BTUs.
Some local industries had stopped production or switched to backup fuel supplies rn compliance with a natural gas curtailment unposed by the Valero company That curtailment was lifted at 3 p rn Tuesday for all but the very largest customers — those using more than 200.000 cubic feet of gas per day.
In this county, the only customer in that category is WestPoint Pepperell,
The company 's two textile nulls were running on fuel oil Tuesday. Robert Jones, district manager for Entex Inc., said the nulls now have limited access to natural gas Other local industries, which qualify as smaller users, are back on line When asked whether the curtailment would be re-imposed when temperatures drop back into the teens tonight, Jones frankly said, “I don't know ”
Electricity is also rn heavy use, but New Braunfels Utilities says the
Lower Colorado River Authority has not set or requested any curtailments.
“Of course, we need to renund cusiuuicTs tu be conservative on their electrical use.” said Frank Panebianco, superintendent of electrical distribution. “That's what is helping us now — conservative customers
As far as the local generating capacity goes, “What’s killing us is early in the morning, like from 7 a m. to noon’’ Panebianco said “Everyone gets up, warms up the house, cooks a little breakfast.*’
Sun photo bv D**o K/onut
Two New Braunfels firemen help sweep out water from a storage area behind Roadrunner office supply at 208 S Casten after a water pipe broke The storage area (used by the Herald Zeitung), the office supply store and many other stores and homes had similar problems as pipes thawed Tuesday.
New snow sweeps into state
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
A record cold spell kept its grip on Texas as another arctic front plunged into the state this morning, spreading snow from the Panhandle as far south as the Permian Basin by dawn.
Temperatures had risen just high enough Tuesday to trigger a flood of calls to plumbers and utility companies as frozen water pipes warmed and then shattered across the state.
Readings this morning dipped into the teens in the Panhandle this morning and into the 20s over the rest of the northern half of the state. Accumulations of snow were expected to reach 6 inches along the Red River and 4 inches in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
The snow was expected to reach as far into East Texas as far as Lufkin tonight.
Ahead of the front and along the coastal plains and in far South Texas dense fog lowered visibilities to near zero.
At 6 a rn., it was 13 degrees at Amarillo, 27 at Midland, 2S at Wichita Falls, 28 at Dallas. 47 at Houston. 36 at San Antonio and 55 at Brownsville
On Tuesday, the problem was water rather than ice. Many Texans who still had water service were plagued by low pressure because of bursting mains elsewhere.
Hospitals in Houston turned away patients who did not have life-threatening conditions and limited surgery to emergency cases only.
Some health clinics in the bayou city closed because of lack of water and-or heat.
“We are basically without (city) water," a spokesman at Spring
See WEATHER. Page BA
Explosion levels buildings in Buffalo; 6 killed, 43 hurt
BUFFALO, NY (AP) -Firefighters combed the smoldering ruuis of a residential neighborhood today for more victims of a propane gas explosion and fire that killed at least six people, injured 43 and leveled a city block, officials said Five firemen and a resident were known dead in the blast at a warehouse Tuesday, and another fireman was missing, officials said Of 43 people taken to three hospitals with injuries ranging from severe burns to broken bones and cuts, five were listed in critical condition The blast hit around 8:30 p.m., just nunutes after three fire trucks arrived in the neighborhood east of downtown to check a report of a propane leak around a bakery supply building and an adjacent four-story brick warehouse, Battalion Fire Chief Michael Angrisano said.
About 15 firefighters were searching for the leak in and around the warehouse when the building exploded with two jarring blasts felt up to 15 miles away. The warehouse, bakery and several houses in the same block were demolished, and windows were broken half a mile away.
“I thought that a nuclear war had hit. I thought the Russians pulled one of them buttons,’’ said Clinton Holloman, 58, a resident who heard the first fire trucks arriving and was leaving his house to see what was happening when the explosion knocked him down.
“If I had gotten there. I probably would have been one of those killed,’’ he said, adding that only bu hair was singed.
The debris crushed one fire truck and heavily damaged two others Thirty-eight homes were damaged, according to James F. Casey of the American Red Cross. A knee-high layer of rubble covered the street.
It was not immediately known what ignited the blast. It was also not known what the warehouse contained Sarah Hampton was in the kitchen of her home across the street from the warehouse and had “just finished washing dishes when the lights went off and there was a big noise.’’
“I looked over and the house across the street was in flames,'' she said. Her own dining room “was full of wood and stuff and I had to walk through it”
Lizzie Preston, who lives with Ms. Hampton, was buried by the rubble. “I tried to pull the stuff off of her, but I just couldn’t pull it off," Ms. Hampton said. “Then I went Old and screamed, ‘Get her out! Get her out! ’’’
The fire spread quickly to the adjacent bakery and wood-frame houses, and more than 150 firefighters battled In 10-degree temperatures to control the flames Rescue workers and ambulances were hampered by ankle-deep snow that fall Monday, and residents and members of the Guardian Angels crime watch group struggled to push vehicles stuck In tha snow.InsideToday's Weather
advisory is in effect today and with a SO percent chance of freezing Made this afternoon and a 20 percent chance North winds will continue to chill the putting temperatures in the Ms by evening, and into the toons tonight. Wind speeds will range from ll to SO wib* per hour today, diminishing to 15-15 tonight and 10-15 mph on Thursday. Wind advisories are in effect for Canyon Lake. Skies will remain cloudy, and temperatures will stay in the low- to mid-JOe on Thursday Sunset today will be at5:#pm, and sunrise Thursday at 7:25 a mPlayoff Fever
a big one for volleyball in Comal County, aa all three teams were in post-saoaan playoffs, two won district titles and one brought home the grand prize — a state championship. Sports, Pope 7A.A Blast
Toxic gases produced by a four-alarm fire at a northwest Harris County chemical plant forced a shopping center to close early and prompted off* ’isis to. evacuate residents living within three miles of the plant . See Page 3A
TV LISTINGS........... 40
The boat won't float
County still leaning toward closing ramps
By DORIAN MARTIN Staff writer
The cost of liability for Canyon l^ake boat ramps was the main stumbling block between the Ann) Corps of Engineers and Comal Commissioner* during a special meeting Tuesday.
By the end of Die meeting, the commissioners were leaning toward not renewing the ramps because of the liability factor. However, another workshop on Hie issue will be scheduled for January
Hie special session was called since leases for two boat ramps will expire soon — one on Dec 31 and another on Feb 9, 1984. The ramps are currently leased by Comal County from the Corps.
Under the present lease agreements, the county waives its statutory liabilty limitation and holds the Corps harmless for any damages. Under the Texas Torts Claims Act, counties in Texas are limited to $100,000 liability per individual and $300,000 total per incident.
County Judge Fred Clark recounted that during the couumssioners’ Nov. 21 meeting, County Attorney Bill Renner had warned that unless a wording change was made in the lease, Comal County could be subject to a severe penalty in excess of tile total tort liability.
For an example, Clark said if tile Corp was found liable for damages of $1 million, since the county had agreed not to hold the Corps responsible, the county would have to augment $700,000 in liability.
“There would be no limitation no matter w hat (hat liability would be,” Clark explained.
Noting a precedent set in a recent court case, Clark said he had been advised that “Comal County would be liable for any amount that would be assessed."
Although he was not did not state definitely what the Corps’ position would lie, Canyon Reservoir Manager Phil Parsley did not believe the plan would be accepted.
Clark questioned whether the Corps could enter into a lease agreement with a private developer, or if
Noting a precedent set in a recent court case, County Judge Fred Clark said he had been told that “Comal County would be liable for any amount that would be assessed.*
it had to continue to lease to the county government, which in turn would work with the private sector “It still has to be another governmental entity,” Parsley said.
If tile Corps doesn’t want it on their shoulders, why should we want it on ours"’’’ asked Com-nussioner Charles “Tart'’ Mund Parsley said he was surprised this was not thought about at the time of the original contracts in the 1960s.
laking at the current situation, Parsley said,
‘ The Corps doesn’t want liability for them He added that if the county returned the recreation ramps, the Corps’ policy would be to close them, although the Corps’ chief engineer in Washington could decide to keep them open.
The Corps has closed two ramps permanently to consolidate facilities to cut costs, Parsley said “A few are closed seasonally, and they will reopen," he added
“The marina facilities are public concessions,’’ Parsley said.
Explaining the two ramps were closed oil by a gate and a lock, Parsley said other closings “would be on an individual basis '
Commissioner W.N. George asked Parsley what the mood of the Corps would be if another developer made a plea for a boat ramp and the county worked up an agreement "Would you all sign it (the county’s agreement)?’’
See COUNTY, Page »A