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    By Times staff reports

    © St. Petersburg Times, published June 7, 2001


    Rains help offset water use during repair

    TAMPA -- Heavy rains came just in time for the city's latest water problem. Problems at the water plant cut production in half and prompted a plea from city officials for conservation. Water use has dropped dramatically this week, with 75.6-million gallons pumped Tuesday -- the city's most recent watering day -- compared to nearly 106-million gallons the previous Tuesday.

    A broken part led to a chlorine leak on Monday, but the plant is expected to be running at full capacity by Friday night. The next legal watering day is Sunday. "We've asked customers to continue to limit water to essential use only" until the plant returns to full capacity, said water department spokeswoman India Williams.

    Woman raped after argument with boyfriend

    ST. PETERSBURG -- A woman walking home was raped early Wednesday by a stranger who attacked her from behind on 49th Street, between Central Avenue and Ninth Avenue N, police said.

    The woman, who is in her 20s, was attacked about 12:30 a.m. after she got out of her boyfriend's car.

    "She and her boyfriend got into a shouting match. She said, "Let me out, I'll walk home,' " said St. Petersburg police spokesman George Kajtsa. "That area has spotty lighting. There's some real dark areas."

    The woman told police that her attacker surprised her, coming at her from behind and knocking her to the ground. He tore her clothes from her body, raped her and tried to strangle her with a thin cord.

    The rapist ran away after the assault. The woman went to a fire station at Ninth Avenue N and 49th Street to call the police.

    The woman described the rapist as a chubby, brown-haired white man in his early 30s, with scruffy facial hair. He was about 5 feet 10 or 5 feet 11 and weighed about 200 pounds. He wore a dark baseball cap and a pullover T-shirt. He smelled of alcohol and had bad body odor, the woman told police.

    Anyone with information about the assault is asked to call St. Petersburg police Detective Denise Schmidt at 893-4259 or the Police Department's Personal Violence Unit at 893-7265.

    Police identify woman killed in hit-and-run

    ST. PETERSBURG -- Police identified the pedestrian killed in a hit-and-run accident Tuesday night as Sherry C. Evans, 45.

    Evans of St. Petersburg was crossing Dr. M.L. King (Ninth) Street near 16th Avenue S when a vehicle southbound on M.L. King hit her at 9:55 p.m., said George Kajtsa of St. Petersburg Police.

    The vehicle, which did not stop, was described as an older model white minivan, Kajtsa said. It will have a damaged front grill area and a possibly damaged orange turn signal lens.

    If you have information, police ask that you call 893-7633.

    Electrical short caused fire at Town 'N Country complex

    TOWN 'N COUNTRY -- An electrical short between the first and second floors of a building at Chase Crossing Apartments caused the fire Monday that destroyed four units, damaged two others and left $400,000 in damage, officials said Wednesday.

    The electrical short caught wood and insulation on fire, sparking the blaze that spread unchecked for several minutes, said Capt. Ray Yeakley, spokesman for Hillsborough County Fire Rescue. Firefighters couldn't open the complex's fire hydrants, which were rusted shut.

    Camden Properties, which manages the apartment complex, was responsible for maintaining the hydrants. Yeakley said Camden still has not provided fire inspectors with the maintenance records for the hydrants.

    Residents displaced by the fire are living in furnished apartments at Chase Crossing and other Camden complexes.

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