Postal Worker Has Severe Lung Infection

A Prince George's County man who works at a postal facility in Northeast Washington has received a diagnosis of Legionnaires' disease, a type of pneumonia, or lung infection, usually caused by inhalation of bacteria from air conditioning or water-distribution systems.

D.C. health and postal officials said the man, who was not identified, was hospitalized for treatment in late July but has returned home.

A Postal Service spokeswoman said no one else at the Curseen-Morris facility has reported having symptoms of the disease, which starts with low fever, headache and fatigue and develops into higher fevers, coughing, respiratory difficulty, gastrointestinal problems and chest pain. Symptoms usually emerge within two to 10 days after exposure to the bacteria.

The postal plant, which was contaminated by anthrax nearly four years ago, was closed for extensive cleaning and rehabilitation after that attack and has new air-conditioning systems, spokeswoman Deborah Yackley said.

She said postal officials believe the disease would have surfaced in some of the 1,000 other employees who work at the facility if the source of infection was within the building. The building was renamed in memory of two employees who died as a result of the anthrax contamination.

Groundwater Studied for Contaminants

Federal and local officials have finished taking initial water samples to test whether remnants of chemicals used during World War I at the former American University Experiment Station are contaminating groundwater in the District's Spring Valley neighborhood.

Results of the first round of sampling are expected next month, officials said, and should provide preliminary information about whether the groundwater is contaminated; the direction of the groundwater flow in the neighborhood; and whether there is a risk that contaminants will flow into the Dalecarlia Reservoir. Drinking water from the reservoir consistently has passed safety tests, officials said.

The study is a joint effort by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Environmental Protection Agency and the D.C. Department of Health. Sample locations included 23 "monitoring wells" within the area of the former Army station; the reservoir and nearby creeks.

Leak Shuts DMV Main Office for 3 Hours

The D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles' service center at 301 C St. NW was closed for three hours yesterday because of a sewage line blockage that caused a ceiling leak.

The leak was fixed, the area was disinfected and the center was reopened to customers at 2:30 p.m., according to a spokeswoman.

The DMV's Georgetown service center is closed for renovations and its facility at 65 K St. NE, the department's only location to pay tickets in person or contest them at hearings, has been closed since Aug. 8 because of air conditioning and ventilation problems. Department officials extended the closure yesterday at least through Tuesday.

Motorists who had hearings scheduled Aug. 8 through Aug. 23 to contest moving violations will have their hearings canceled and tickets dismissed.


Frederick Airman Found Dead Abroad

Authorities are investigating the stabbing death of a Frederick woman whose body was found in her quarters on a U.S. naval base in Iceland.

Senior Airman Ashley Turner was found Sunday night in housing for single soldiers and pronounced dead shortly afterward by Navy hospital personnel.

Another airman was detained for questioning but had not been charged yesterday.

Turner was assigned to the 56th Rescue Squadron stationed in Keflavik, Iceland.

Her family told the Frederick News-Post that Turner had been home recently but had returned to Iceland to testify against a man accused of stealing from her.

Funeral arrangements had not been completed, the paper reported yesterday.

Child Support Amnesty Brings $500,000

Maryland collected more than $500,000 during a two-week amnesty period in which the state encouraged parents to pay overdue child support, according to preliminary estimates from the state Department of Human Resources.

Nearly 3,000 noncustodial parents came into the agency to negotiate their payments. Parents with active warrants or parents who had their driver's licenses suspended were given a chance to work on their back child support without fear of arrest.

If all parents keep their agreements, Maryland could collect nearly $14 million for the state's children, officials said.


Driver in Fairfax Connector Crash Named

A man who was killed Tuesday when his truck collided with a Fairfax Connector bus was identified yesterday as Dimitris B. Kutchmanich, 43, of the 7900 block of Hammond Street in the Engleside area, Fairfax County police said.

Kutchmanich might have been driving his Dodge pickup north in the southbound lanes of Mount Vernon Memorial Highway about 3:10 p.m., police said, when his truck collided with the bus near Cunningham Drive. Kutchmanich was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the bus was taken to Inova Mount Vernon Hospital but was not thought to be injured, police said. There were about eight passengers on the bus, none of whom was hurt, police said. Fire Damages Costly McLean House

Fire ravaged a multimillion-dollar house last night in a neighborhood in McLean near the Potomac River, Fairfax County authorities said. No one was in the 10,000-square-foot house at the time.

Dozens of firefighters from Fairfax and Arlington counties battled the blaze in the 1200 block of Crest Lane for about two hours before extinguishing it shortly before midnight, authorities said.

One firefighter suffered minor injuries. The cause of the fire was under investigation, authorities said.

"This tournament is great, and I love softball, and I never thought I would get so far. All the excitement from the games, hearing all the fans cheering for you, when the ball comes to you, I just love it."

-- Jessie Straub, 12, third base player for the McLean All Stars, on participating in the Little League Softball World Series. -- B1

Compiled from reports by staff writers Allan Lengel, Eric M. Weiss, Tom Jackman and Debbi Wilgoren and the Associated Press.