Monday, December 31, 2007

Firefighters Battle Attached Garage Fire

On December 31, 1998 at 3:30 p.m. firefighters were dispatched to 7925 Nyesville Road, Greene Township after a neighbor spotted a fire in an attached garage. The garage was well involved when firefighters from five companies arrived. Firefighters had the blaze under control in 15 minutes but not before it destroyed the garage, a business van, car and other items. The house sustained water and smoke damage. A cause or damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies assisted at the scene.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

WEFR Places 1968 Engine In Service

On December 30, 1977 at 7:00 p.m. the West End Fire and Rescue Company placed into service a 1968 CF Mack engine. The engine was purchased from the Cresson Fire Department. The unit replaced the 1949 Ford that was recently sold to Baker Heights Va. Volunteer Fire Company.

In the photo Mike Martin is in the officers’ seat, I don’t know who is driving. In the CV ALF behind, Dale Myers Jr. is on the officers’ seat and David Myers is standing in the jump seat.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Barn Destroyed And Livestock Lost

On December 29, 1949 at 5:00 p.m. an alarm of fire was sounded for a barn fire at the Harry Vaughn residence, Shippensburg R. R. 1. A fire of undetermined origin destroyed a bank barn and its contents. Lost in the fire were three horses, a bull, two pigs, several chickens, all the machinery and most of the year’s crop. Damages were estimated at $5,000. The Vigilant Hose Company operated at the scene.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Fire Damages House Near Lurgan

On December 28, 1977 at 3:33 a.m. firefighters were dispatched to a house fire near Lurgan. A fire of undetermined origin caused heavy damage to the second floor and attic of an occupied 2-1/2-story frame house. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies assisted at the scene.

We should be all caught up, thanks to stealing wireless from someone here in the park over the last week. The WEFR patch pictured was their first. I would like to tell you more about it but no one seems to remember it. It is owned by Budd Montague and he kindly left me photograph it.

Barn Destroyed In Southampton Cumberland

Sorry I missed a day, we spent the last couple of nights on Disney property and would you believe that with all they charge if you want Internet it cost extra, I am to cheap for that. With that being said I really didn't want to miss a post so I will do the 27Th and 28Th today.

On December 27, 2002 at 10:00 p.m. firefighters were alerted to a barn fire on McCulloch Road, Southampton Township. A fire of undetermined origin completely destroyed a barn and its contents. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies answered the alarm.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Green House Destroyed

On December 26, 1924 at 6:30 a.m. an alarm of fire was sounded for the Hargleroad Bros. Green House on South Prince Street. An overheated furnace caused a fire that destroyed a boiler shed, storage shed, garage and three green houses. Even after the fire firemen remained on the scene assisting the owner. Damages were estimated at $5,000. The Vigilant Hose and Cumberland Valley Hose companies operated at the scene.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Barn Fire On Christmas Day

The Vigilant Hose Company Christmas photograph is from 1959.

On December 25, 1985 at 2:15 hours as volunteer firefighter were recuperating from a large holiday meal a box was sounded for a barn fire on the Ridge Road in Hopewell Township. An electrical short caused the fire the did considerable damage to the barn and its contents. Over 100 firefighters from eight companies battled the blaze for two hours before bringing it under control. Firefighters managed to save the barn after removing 30 tons of hay and straw. Units remained on the scene for almost 10 hours ending their Christmas plans. Damages were estimated at $30,000. The Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies assisted at the scene.

Monday, December 24, 2007

West Wing Of White House Damaged By Fire

Because so many local firefighters work for the DCFD and a number of you look at this site, this post if for you.

December 24, 1929 at 8:09 p.m., while President Hoover was entertaining guest a blaze broke out in the West wing of the White House causing an estimated $60,000 to $100,000 in damages. At 8:09 p.m. box 1-5-7 was transmitted for the White House, by 8:28 p.m. four-alarm had already been transmitted. It was said that at one point 25 to 30 streams were being played on the fire by the 18 engines, six trucks and one rescue to respond to the alarm. The fire was determined to be under control at 10:55 p.m. Almost 300 off duty firemen were recalled to man the reserve apparatus.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Unattended Candle Causes House Fire

Vigilant Hose Company Christmas 1941, note the size of the tree and the lack of the annex.

On December 23, 1978 evening hours (exact time unknown) 302 West King Street. An unattended candle sparked a fire that did heavy damage to an occupied 2-1/2 story multi-family dwelling. The fire started in the first floor causing heavy damage before extending to the second floor and attic via the outside of the house. The attic was gutted and one bedroom on the second floor suffered fire damage. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies answered the alarm. Shippensburg firefighters worked another job earlier in the day on East King Street.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

GE Gets Contract For Civil Defense Radios

On December 22, 1954 Cumberland County commissioners awarded a contract to GE for the county’s new Civil Defense two-way radio system. The contract was to provide for three base stations, 65 mobile units, 21 receivers to trip fire sirens simultaneously, two selective call control panels, 35 weather proof boxes and two walkie talkies. GE’s low bid was $38,051.47. Delivery and installment is to start within 30 days and be completed in 60 days.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Firemen Make Multiple Rescues

December 21 1932 at 6:00 a.m. M. L. Beistle Building (G.C. Murphy Store), King and Earl Streets. A fire of undetermined origin broke out in the basement of the three-story brick taxpayer (292 X 65 feet). It was believed the fire began when the motor of the elevator ignited a gas leak in the basement. The blaze started on the Earl Street side of the basement, burned up the stairway and raged along the west wall before spreading to the King Street side of the building.

Upon arrival firemen were faced with the task of controlling the fire and seeing that the tenants of 32 apartments were out of the building. Firemen assisted numerous people from the building some from the rooftop. As firemen began connecting to plugs in the 6-degree weather the water pressure began dropping indicating a need for assistance. The Good Will pumper from Chambersburg was soon requested. The Good Will engine was sent to the branch stream where they drafted to supply their deluge gun (Shippensburg had none at this time). At this point there were five engines flowing ten streams of water onto the fire. The Cumberland Valley Fire Company of Chambersburg was requested later in the morning to assist with pumping and to supply much needed gas masks.

Firemen had the blaze under control by 1:00 p.m. At one point the water was shut off to allow the hoses to be disconnected to let the P.R.R. train to pass through town. Numerous firemen were injured battling the blaze; some were overcome by smoke and others from exposure. Temperatures only warmed up to 20-degrees as the day went on. The 65 firemen manning the three pieces of equipment from the Chambersburg Fire Department returned to Chambersburg at 6:30 p.m. Firemen remained on the scene late into the night, some pumping the six feet of water from the basement of the building.

Businesses damaged by the blaze were Whorley’s meat market, Over’s poolroom, the Town Stationary, G.C. Murphy’s, G. Herman’s Grocery, R. Paul Smith’s meat shop and 32 occupied and vacant apartments. During the fire Harrisburg City Fire Chief Millard M. Tawney and former State Fire Marshall William Morgan were on the scene to render their assistance in battling the blaze. Damages were estimated at $100,000. The Vigilant Hose and Cumberland Valley Hose companies answered the alarm.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Shed Destroyed In Accidental Fire

On December 20, 1997 at 1:00 p.m. units were dispatched to Alleman’s Furniture Store, 54 Horst Avenue, Greene Township for a structure fire. An accidental fire destroyed a small shed containing furniture and lacquer. Damages were estimated at $8,000. The West End Fire and Rescue and Vigilant Hose companies assisted at the scene.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Hopewell Township Home Burns

On December 19, 1987 at 8:10 a.m. a 51 box was alerted for a fire in a dwelling on Rt. 696, 1-1/2 miles north of Newburg in Hopewell Township. A gas light overturned and started a fire in the first floor kitchen and quickly spread to the second floor. Approximately 50 firefighters from five companies had the fire under control in 30 minutes but not before it destroyed the kitchen and second floor bedroom. The entire house suffered smoke damage. Firefighters shuttled water from a creek one half mile away. Damages were estimated at $30,000 to $40,000. Firefighters remained on the scene until after 10:00 a.m. The Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies assisted at the scene. Shippensburg firefighters also answered two other structure boxes and a transfer for the day.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Garage Destroyed In Borough Blaze

On December 18, 1934 10:30 p.m., Shippensburg firemen were alerted for a fire at the Charles Myers residence on Queen Street (exact location unknown). A garage containing a Ford Roadster was destroyed in a fire of undetermined origin. A damage estimate was not released. The Vigilant Hose and Cumberland Valley Hose companies answered the alarm.

Congratulations to WEFR Chief Randy O'Donnell on his recent promotion at the Navy Region Mid-Atlantic Fire and Emergency Services, Mechanicsburg. Pa. (Cumberland Engine 37). Captain O'Donnell hired on at the Navy in 1987 (then SPCC) and has worked his way up the ranks to Battalion Chief. Good luck Randy.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Chambersburg Elementary School Destroyed By Fire

On December 17, 1973 at 3:57 a.m. a passing motorist spotted a fire in the Thaddeus Stevens Elementary School, South Main Street, Chambersburg. When firemen arrived the fire had control of the void spaces, about 20 firemen were inside the building when the blaze broke through the roof. All were evacuated and a defensive stance was made. Fireman manning 35 pieces of apparatus from 14 fire companies had the fire under control by 4:30 a.m. and remained on the scene into the afternoon. For you young guys Chambersburg still operated with five companies at this time, each having there own chief and a volunteer chief of department, John Shatzer. The building was destroyed in the blaze with damages estimated at $650,000. The West End Fire and Rescue and Cumberland Valley Hose companies assisted at the scene.

For those that look at my sites expecting to see post made in the morning you can thank mother nature for the late entry. We have been without power since yesterday morning and just got it back a couple of hours ago. We relocated to the Embers last night, and their wireless this morning was so slow that I was not going to attempt to make a post. Shane and I headed to Borders for coffee and wireless only to find out you have to pay for the wireless there, being cheap and all I said no way. Things are looking up, 5 years, two months and one day and I can retire and leave the cold.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Vigilant Hose Purchases First Tank Truck

December 16, 1949 at the Vigilant Hose Company’s regular monthly meeting the members voted to purchase a 1949 International, 1,000-gallon tank truck. The tanker was a demonstrator and purchased from the American Equipment Company in Mechanicsburg, Pa. for $7,000 and the 1936 Reo Seagrave engine (October 16, 2007 post w/photos). The tanker was the company’s first and made its rounds in the area before heading to Florida. The Vigilant’s sold the rig to Marion Co. 8, Franklin County Pa. and from there it went to WEFR and then to Silver Springs Co. 31 in Cumberland County.

The photo is from microfilm of the News Chronicle, Shippensburg. It is the only image I have found of it as a Vigilant unit. I have better photos of it while in the possession of Marion and WEFR and will post them at a later date. If any one has any photos of it during its stay at Sliver Springs I would like to get a copy.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Mobile Home Damaged By Fire

On December 15, 1981 at 3:36 a.m., units were alerted to a Station 4 box at Rife’s Mobile Home Park, 2004 Philadelphia Avenue, Greene Township for a mobile home fire. The fire started in an unused bedroom and gutted that room and extended to two other rooms before being controlled by firefighters from three companies. Firefighters operated on the scene for one and one half hours. A cause was not determined; damages were estimated at $2,500. The West End Fire and Rescue Company assisted at the scene.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Fire Damages Upper Strasburg House

On December 14, 2000 at 12:34 a.m. firefighters were dispatched to 10,726 Upper Strasburg Road for a house fire. A four-year-old boy playing with matches sparked a blaze that caused extensive damage to a 1-1/2 story house. The fire damaged a bedroom and kitchen and caused smoke and water damage to the remainder of the home. Firefighters from six companies battled the blaze. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies assisted at the scene.


Pat Shoop sent the photograph for today's post. Pat said the photo was taken in 1969 when he was one year old. I would assume his father, long time Vigilant member Mick took the photo. Pat is sitting on Buzzy Naugles lap in the radio room, KGD 556 located in the Municipal Building (Vigilant Hose), Shippensburg. Pat also sent four other photos that I will use at a later date. Thanks Pat.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Downtown Shippensburg Threatened By Fire

On December 13, 1869 at 5:00 p.m. Shippensburg fire bells rang for an alarm of fire. As firemen ran to the fire stations it was soon learned that the fire was located on East Main in the area of Railroad Street and that all hands would be needed to extinguish the blaze. The Vigilant’s with their button hand engine and two wheel hose reel and the CV’s with their Philadelphia style hand engine and two wheel hose reel quickly raced along Main Street to the scene. The blaze started in a small frame stable by a burning wad shot from a gun. The fire quickly spread to the east, west and north. Before firemen could control the fire the stable of origin was destroyed along with another stable, a warehouse containing grains and feed for a store, a corn crib and hog pen. One other stable also suffered fire damage along with numerous other buildings. Damages were estimated at $3,650. The Vigilant and Cumberland Valley Fire companies answered the alarm.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

House Built In 1867 Damaged By Fire

On December 12, 1969 at 3:15 a.m., an alarm of fire was sounded for Shippensburg R.D. 2, South Newton Township for a house fire. A blaze caused by a defective chimney damaged a dwelling built in 1867. Firemen from three companies were able to contain the blaze to one room on the second floor and the attic of the 12-room house. The attic was used to store antiques and most were lost in the fire. A damage estimate was not available. Firemen remained on the scene over six hours. The Vigilant Hose Company Stations 1 & 2 and the West End Fire and Rescue companies assisted at the scene.

This add appeared in the Shippensburg News Chronicle in 1972. WEFR sold trees for years at various locations.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

21-Month-Old Boy Dies In House Fire

On December 11, 1971 at 1:28 p.m., firemen were alerted for a house fire four miles west of Newville, Newville R.D. 2. Arriving firemen found a well-involved house. By the time firemen from three companies had the blaze extinguished all that was left standing was the chimney. A 21-month-old boy was killed in the fire. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose Company Stations 1 & 2 assisted at the scene.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Oakville’s Farmer’s Exchange Store Damaged In Fire

December 10, 1936 at 10:00 p.m. firemen answered an alarm of fire at the Farmer’s Exchange store and Newton Grange Hall in Oakville, North Newton Township. An improperly installed furnace caused a fire that badly damaged a first floor store and extended upwards to the Grange Hall before firemen were able to contain it. Firemen from Shippensburg and Newville had the fire under control in 30 minutes. Damages were estimated at $600. The Vigilant Hose Company assisted at the scene.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

One Story Workshop Damaged In Morning Fire

December 9, 1984 at 10:51 a.m. firefighters were alerted for a building fire at 9803 Olde Scotland Road, Southampton Franklin. A faulty stovepipe sparked a fire that caused heavy damage a one-story frame workshop. Firefighters from four companies operated on the scene for over two hours. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies answered the alarm.

In the photograph AC 15 Jeff Washinger is kneeling at the door, Mike Harlow is on the far right on the roof and Brad Myers is on the far left of the roof. I can’t remember who any of the other individuals are in the photo.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Salvage Yard Burns In Lurgan Township

December 8, 2003 1:22 p.m., Hostetter’s Salvage Yard, 12475 Roxbury Road, Lurgan Township. A fire of undetermined origin destroyed a large 50 by 100 foot building that housed high rack storage for automotive parts and other salvaged items. Firefighters encountered multiple explosions and were forced to go to defensive operations 10 minutes from arrival. In addition to the building an old Lance candy truck and three separate piles of tires outside the building caught fire. Firefighters from nine companies operated on the scene for over four hours. Firefighter laid 6,200 feet of five-inch hose to the nearest water supply. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies assisted at the scene.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Rudolph’s Residence Burns Again

December 7, 1879 at 2:00 a.m. Shippensburg firemen again responded to the Henry Rudolph residence at Main and Penn Streets for a building fire. Just five days prior the bakery and residence suffered a devastating fire; all the undamaged goods were placed on the second floor of the residence that was not affected. All of those belongings were destroyed in this fire. Firemen drew water from the same well and cistern they used to fight the first fire. Local officials believe the fire was intentionally set. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant and Cumberland Valley Fire companies answered the alarm.

The photograph is of the West End Fire and Rescue Company's award recipients at their annual banquet held on December 7, 1991, three of these individuals are still active in the SFD. Like the Vigilant photo from 1981 I will let you name the players.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Family Of Three Die In House Fire

December 6, 1976 at 11:26 p.m., Rt. 616 four miles South of Shippensburg, Southampton Township Franklin County. A short in an outside fuse box sparked a fire that destroyed an occupied 2-½-story frame house and killed the family of three. The fuse box was old and designed for 60 amp fuses but had 120 amp fuses installed. More than 60 firemen from four companies battled the blaze for four and a half hours. Firefighter found the three victims in a line on the second floor apparently heading away from the fire. Neighbors attempted to gain entry by were driven back by the heat and smoke. According to Chief Wiestling firefighters were putting water on the fire seven minutes from the time of the alarm. Damages were estimated at over $25,000. The Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies answered the alarm. The West End Fire and Rescue Company also ran a trash fire and an auto accident the same day, the C. V. ambulance had four other runs.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Jackson “Fireman Jack” Gerhart


On December 5, 2004 Jackson Gerhart, 65, died of his injuries at 5:17 p.m. at York Hospital. Jackson was injured on November 30 while helping the Chambersburg Fire Department at the scene of a house fire. Jackson was surrounded by his family and friends in his final hours.

Jackson had dedicated his life to the fire service having started his career as a volunteer with the Junior Hook and Ladder Company in Chambersburg. Jack was employed by the Chambersburg Fire Department for about two years before being hired in Washington, D.C. as a fireman where he worked for 32 years (most as the driver on 17 engine) before retiring in 1994. While in D.C. Jack was the secretary of IAFF Local 36 for 17years.

While living in Maryland Jack was active with the Mt. Rainier Volunteer Fire Department and the Hyattsville Volunteer Fire Department serving as Assistant Chief and Deputy Fire Chief. After retirement Jackson returned to Shippensburg where he was an active volunteer with the West End Fire and Rescue Company and the Cumberland Valley Hose Company.

Jackson was a member of many other volunteer fire companies in the area including a life member of the Fayetteville, Pleasant Hall, Metal Township, West End Fire and Rescue and New Franklin Volunteer Fire Companies.

Jackson had a major impact on the careers of many young firefighters in the area, assisting them in getting career jobs and mentoring. Jack loved to help people and assisted numerous fire companies in getting started or anything else they needed. He was also very active in his church and delivered meals on wheels.

Jackson was well known for his large collection of fire toys. He loved photographing fire apparatus and assisted in numerous publications and books.

On a personal note Fireman Jack was my best friend and mentor and I miss him very much, he left a void that I can never replace. I still feel like I should call him every time I purchase a new toy just to hear him say "I know I got mine yesterday". When I purchased my Ward LaFrance Jack got out all the equipment he thought I might need and had it waiting like a kid at Christmas. Jackson loved Wards and was very excited that I got one, below he sits in the drivers seat of DCFD Engine 17's Ward in the 60's and delivering the old CV's 1937 Ward to the New Franklin Fire Company. Jackson owned that Ward for a few years and was instrumental in getting it back in Shippensburg. He would have loved driving that engine around now. God Bless Jackson and save a seat for me in your new firehouse.

A different article and other photographs can be found at my other site http://bradleymyersphotography.blogspot.com/


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Bedroom Gutted In Mobile Home

On December 4, 1992 at 3:29 p.m., a box alarm was alerted for 39 Town Mills, Shippensburg Township for a mobile home fire. A fire of unknown origin gutted a bedroom and caused extensive smoke damage to an occupied mobile home. Approximately 25 firefighters had the blaze under control in 10 minutes and remained on the scene for about one and a half hours. Three people were displaced. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies answered the alarm.

HELLO IS ANYBODY OUT THERE? I know people are looking at this site but no one has anything to say, you all do any other time. That can't be right, I am around firehouses all the time and the men are as bad as the women maybe worse. I made a post about Brother Jackson a couple of days ago and no one has anything to say about him. Hell yes I am very disappointed.

Monday, December 3, 2007

WEFR International Engine Destroyed In Accident

December 3, 1980, at 3:20 p.m. a rescue assignment was dispatched for Route 696 and I-81 overpass bridge Southampton Franklin for a fire engine overturned. The West End Fire and Rescue Company’s 1973 International/Bruco engine (15-2) was involved in an accident destroying the unit. The engine went out of control and left the road before flipping onto its roof on the bridge, Engine Sergeant Charles Westcott was confined to the cab and was extricated by firefighters. Westcott along with driver Ronald Elliott and firefighter Randy O’Donnell were all treated and released from Chambersburg Hospital. My father and I were the first on the scene and I remember well looking at a pair of bunker pants laying out on the bridge like half of someone was still in them. It was a great relief when we looked in side. The Vigilant Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies answered the alarm.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Fire Causes Heavy Damage To Rudolph’s Bakery

December 2, 1879 at 1:00 a.m. a fire broke out in Henry Rudolph’s bakery and residence situated on Main Street in the area of Penn Street. It was believed that a gas heater exploded causing a fire that gutted the interior of the large building. The blaze was first discovered in the rear of the building under the stairwell and extended rapidly through the stairs and a ventilation flue. Both fire engines established water supplies from a cistern and well. Firemen battled the blaze for over two hours before bringing it under control. It was stated “the fire was fought from cellar to garret (attic) with a resistance almost heroic”. Damages were estimated at $5,000. The Vigilant Hose and Cumberland Valley Hose companies operated at the scene.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Firemen Rescue Three Kids

December 1, 1939 at 7:20 a.m. firemen answered an alarm of fire at the Legion Home and apartments on West King Street. A furnace malfunction in the basement of the Great Atlantic Tea Company sent smoke billowing into the upper floors causing the evacuation of many residents. Firemen wearing gas masks played water on the fire for over an hour before extinguishing the blaze. The fire was confined to the basement with smoke damage to the upper floors. One fireman removed three small kids from a third floor window over a ground ladder. Damages to stock and contents were unknown; damages to the building were estimated at $900. A delay in turning in the alarm occurred when the fire siren would not work and the bells had to be tolled. The Vigilant Hose and Cumberland Valley Hose companies answered the alarm.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Barn Burns For The Third Time

November 30, 1909 at 3:00 p.m. firemen responded to a barn fire at Route 11 and the Walnut Bottom Road. A fire possibly caused by spontaneous combustion destroyed a barn, wagon shed, hog pen and their contents along with some livestock. Damages were estimated in excess of $3,300. Firemen concentrated their efforts on saving the surrounding buildings. This is the third time a barn was burnt down at this location, the others occurred in 1878 and 1900. The Vigilant Hose and Cumberland Valley Hose companies answered the alarm.

This post along with one on December 5 will be made every year I have the blog going. November 30, 2004, Jackson Gerhart a retired fireman from the Washington D.C. Fire Department and an active volunteer in Shippensburg was severely injured when he apparently fell from the rear of an engine and struck his head while attempting to lay a supply line at the scene of a house fire. Jack was flown to York hospital in serious condition. The alarm was turned in at 10:06 a.m. for 541 East Washington Street, Chambersburg and gutted a second floor bedroom causing $10,000 in damages.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Fire Destroys Leesburg Barn

November 29, 1960 at 3:30 p.m. firemen responded to a barn fire at Shippensburg R. R. 2, Leesburg. A fire of undetermined origin completely destroyed a stone and frame barn along with its contents and a car. With no water in the area the Viggies concentrated on saving nearby buildings. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose Company answered the alarm. A tanker from Newville assisted.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Three Alarm Fire Races Through Auto Parts Store

November 28, 1990 at 3:10 a.m. a three-alarm fire caused extensive damage to Glenn Millers Auto Parts store at 8 North Penn Street. The fire began in the paint room and spread rapidly in the two-story brick building. Before firefighters could contain the blaze the Orrstown Bank building on East Kings Street suffered smoke damage and the Victory theatre on side four suffered some fire extension. Almost 100 firefighters from 14 companies battled the blaze. Firefighters remained on the scene until almost 2 p.m. Damages were estimated at $300,000. Arson was the cause of the blaze. The Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies operated at the scene.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Fire Damages South Penn Street Home

November 27, 1964 at 2:25 a.m., 221 South Penn Street, Shippensburg. An electrical short in the basement started a fire that caused heavy damage to an occupied two-story blockhouse. Before firemen could extinguish the blaze both floors received extensive fire and smoke damage. Damages were estimated at $10,000. The Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies operated at the scene.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Keystone Hook and Ladder Gets Truck

On November 26, 1896 along with Thanksgiving Day, the borough celebrated the arrival of the Keystone Hook and Ladder Company’s truck. The truck purchased from the Pioneer H & L Co. in Hagerstown arrived in Shippensburg by rail along with about 30 members of the Pioneer Company. The C.V. Hose Company and Town Band met the delegation on Orange Street and proceeded to parade through town. Once at the Council House speeches were made and the apparatus was housed. The members of the Pioneer were treated to supper at the Sherman House before heading back to Hagerstown on the 9:00 p.m. train.
This is the only photograph I have ever found of the Keystone's ladder truck, it was taken in Hagerstown in front of the Pioneer's building. Additional information on the truck along with the short history of the company will be posted at a later date.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

C.V. Hose Gets New ALF Combination Wagon

November 25, 1910 The Cumberland Valley Hose Company accepted delivery of their new American LaFrance chemical combination wagon. The wagon was painted red and trimmed in gold and black. Mounted on the wagon were two 35-gallon chemical tanks, axes, lanterns, two hand chemical tanks, ladders and 150 feet of ¾ inch hose.

I intended to post a photograph of the Chemical Wagon today but realized I used it on the November 3, 2007 post. That is the only know photograph of the wagon.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Fire Kills Three Dogs In The 52 Box

November 24, 2006 at 10:58 p.m., 228 Neil Road, Southampton Cumberland. An electrical problem sparked a fire that destroyed a double wide trailer and killed three dogs. About 40 firefighters from six companies had the blaze under control in 15 minutes and operated at the scene until 1:30 a.m. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies answered the alarm

Friday, November 23, 2007

Arson Fire Guts Downtown Apartment

November 23, 1989 at 2:07 a.m. a Thanksgiving morning arson fire forced 11 people from their apartments at 34 North Earl Street. The blaze was set in the first floor apartment and caused extensive damage to that unit and slight fire damage to the unit above. The other two apartments sustained smoke damage. Firefighters had the fire under control in 30 minutes and remained on the scene until 5:50 a.m. A damage estimate was not available. Later in the evening the companies worked a job in Lurgan Township, but that is another post. The Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies operated at the scene.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Nyesville Road Building Destroyed

November 22, 1972 at 7:57 a.m., Nyesville Road. A fire of unknown origin destroyed a frame woodworking shop and its contents. Damages were estimated at $3,000. The Vigilant Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies battled the blaze.
From time to time when I do not have a photo to post I will post a SFD patch. After they are all posted I will move on to outdated Franklin and Cumberland patches. Today's is Vigilant's second patch used in the 70's and early 80's.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Carlisle CD Radio Goes Into Service

November 21, 1957 the Cumberland County Civil Defense radio station located at the Cumberland County jail in Carlisle officially went into operation. The station had been in operation all week, but the official opening took place at 11:30 a.m. (11-21-57)

The new station makes the CD stations located in Shippensburg and the West Shore obsolete. Previously three stations were needed to cover the county. Whereas the former stations were all 60 watts, the new setup has a 250-watt station in Carlisle.

Charles U. Mowery explained that four paid men who would not be members of the sheriff’s staff would operate the station.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Scotland School Building Ruined In Fire

November 20, 1951 at 8:50 p.m., the Recitation building on the grounds of the Scotland School for Veteran’s Children, Greene Township. Faulty wiring in the attic was to blame for a fire that destroyed the large three-story brick school building. Firefighters from five companies worked until 3:00 a.m. to bring the fire under control. At this time the Scotland School operated a Model-T fire engine and the kids and staff were actively involved with the firefight. A few years later the apparatus at the school was upgraded. Two firemen were hospitalized with injuries and numerous others were treated at the scene. One civilian was also injured. Damages were estimated at $700 to $800,000. The Vigilant Hose Company assisted at the scene.


This photograph shows Scotland's 1921 Model-T rig in the CVVFA parade in Chambersburg 1973.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Garage Gutted In The 15 Box

November 19, 1990 at 11:18 p.m., 1690 Two Turn Road, Southampton Franklin. A fire of unknown origin gutted a 2-1/2-story frame garage destroying its contents. Firefighters from five companies had the blaze under control in 15 minutes and remained on the scene over one hour. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies operated at the scene.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Ranch House Damaged In Greene Township

November 18, 1980 at 4:45 p.m., 2429 Scotland Road, Greene Township. A malfunctioning wood burning stove started a fire that caused heavy damage to an occupied 1-1/2-story brick house. About 40 firefighters from three companies battled the blaze for over three hours. Damages were estimated at $10,000. The West End Fire and Rescue Company assisted at the scene.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Vacant House Demolished In Franklin County

November 17, 1991 at 6:00 a.m., 4677 White Church Road, Greene Township. An arson fire gutted a 2-1/2-story vacant brick farmhouse. The house had been vacant for the last 35 years and was full of antiques. Damages were estimated at $70,000. The West End Fire and Rescue and Cumberland Valley Hose companies assisted at the scene.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Two Perish In House Fire

November 16, 1957 at 9:45p.m. Shippensburg Rural Route 3, between Newcomertown and the Roxbury Road. Guest at a party along the Middle Spring Road noticed a glow and turned in the alarm. When firemen arrived they found a six-room house heavily involved in fire. Firemen said they fought their way through the fire and smoke for some 15 to 20 minutes in searching the four rooms downstairs before they located two victims on the floor in an up-stairs bedroom.

Thomas Murray, borough fire marshal, and Harry Bughman located the bodies. Theses two men with other firemen helped to lower the bodies by rope from the second floor bedroom to the ground below. A husband and wife perished in the blaze. Firemen had the blaze under control by 10:30 p.m. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose and Cumberland Valley Hose companies answered the alarm.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Chambersburg House Burns

On November 15, 2004 at 1241 a.m. 941 Nelson Street, Chambersburg. A woman escaped her burning home by climbing from a second floor window, one pet died and three others needed to be taken to a veterinarian. The fire started on the first floor of the 2-1/2-story brick house and caused extensive damage before being controlled. Firefighters from nine companies battled the two-alarm blaze and remained on the scene until 3 a.m. Damages were estimated at $50,000. The West End Fire and Rescue Company assisted at the scene. A couple of years later this same couple would be burnt out again when a $1.2 million dollar fire would destroy their new house shortly before it was completed.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Vigilant's Get 1993 E-One

On November 14, 1993, the Vigilant Hose Company’s new 1993 E-One Cyclone engine arrived in Shippensburg. The new engine featured a 1500-gallon-per-minute pump and carried 750gallons of water. The engine replaced the 1981 Seagrave and was the first in a string of E-Ones purchased by the company.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Mobile Home Damaged By Fire

On November 13, 1981 at 1:29 p.m. at 6039 Cumberland Highway, Greene Township an electrical problem started a fire that destroyed the kitchen of a mobile home. Smoke and heat damaged the rest of the home. Firefighters from five companies had the blazer under control in 15 minutes. Damages were estimated at $10,000 and one occupant was displaced. The Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies assisted at the scene.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Alarm Of Fire In Shippensburg

November 12, 1893 at 9:45 p.m., fire bells rang out an alarm of fire near the center of town. Firemen soon raced to West Main Street (King) one half block west of Railroad Street (Earl) where they found a barn and its contents well involved in fire. Firemen soon had three powerful streams flowing but before they could extinguish the blaze a nearby stable was also destroyed. Damages were estimated at $950.00. The Vigilant and Cumberland Valley Hose companies answered the alarm. It was reported that the plugs are in need of flushing as when the first water was flowed mud came from the line.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Borough Orders ALF For C. V.'s

On November 11, 1958 in Shippensburg Borough Councils regular session American LaFrance Cooperation was awarded the bid for a new pumper to replace the Cumberland Valley Hose Company’s 1936 Ward LaFrance. ALF bid $22,392.50 for a 1,000 gallon-per-minute pumper.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Lumber Yard Building Burns

On November 10, 1995 at 7:14 p.m., the Lumber Yard 42 West Orange Street, Shippensburg. A fire of undetermined origin destroyed a 1-1/2-story frame building used to store insulation. Two firefighters were treated and released from Chambersburg Hospital for minor injuries. Damages were estimated at $30,000. The Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies battled the blaze.

Part 3 conclusion Alert Fire Company
Most of the information I have on the Alert Fire Company is in this two part article. When did the Alert form? Are they older than the Vigilant's? Those are both good questions, as one old member of the CV's stated the Alert was formed 1830, but from the accounts of the Viggies getting the Hibernia engine it states that a new company was formed and given the old "Rocket" hand engine. I personally believe they were formed in the 1840's after the Vigilant's.
The Alert was disbanded after the incident with there hand engine, but they are not really gone. The Cumberland Valley Hose Company was formed as just that but with many members and great influence from the Alert. Retaining their motto and christening their hose reel in the name of the Alert, to me the Alert is still alive and approaching their 150 anniversary.

The photograph below is obviously not the Alert's hand engine but one very much similar to the one they would have used. Generally two to four men would turn the cranks while other men would pour water from buckets in to tub. The engine was very primitive and not as effective as other hand engine, but it still served it's purpose. Where did this engine come from and when did council purchase it our other questions that could be answered. I believe it was purchased on or around 1817 through contributions from the towns people. If that did occur it could have been used by two other Shippensburg Fire Company's before being placed in the hands of the Alert lads.

While not Shippensburg but related to the subject of long gone fire companies, the Alert in Shippensburg was not the only Alert in Cumberland County. In the 1800's there was an Alert Fire Company in Carlisle also.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Knouse Foods Damaged By Fire

On November 9, 1966 at 3:00 p.m., Scotland, Knouse Foods Plant. A dust explosion started a fire that destroyed the third floor of an 80 by 200 foot three story frame building. The first and second floors of the business sustained smoke and water damage. It took firemen from nine companies over three hours to control the blaze. Damages were estimated at $100,000. The Vigilant Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies assisted at the scene.

Part 2 Alert Fire Company
On June 26, 1858, Council ordered a fire engine from Mr. Agnew of Philadelphia. Council informed Mr. Agnew that the size of the engine should be what he felt suitable for a town the size of Shippensburg. He was also to paint and decorate the engine as he saw fit. Council’s only request was that the engine be named the “Cumberland Valley.”

In January 1859, a new fire company was formed and took the name of Cumberland Valley Fire Company. Most of the C.V. members came from the Alert. When the C.V.’s formed they retained the motto of the Alert Company, “Ever Ready.”

On Monday, April 11, 1887, the Cumberland Valley Hose Company christened their new hose reel. William Fenstermacher built the hose reel. It was a two- wheel design, made to carry two lengths of hose. The framework was painted cream yellow with crimson striping. It was furnished with two bells, racks for spanner, nozzles and lanterns.

While members surrounded the apparatus, veteran fireman S. G. Breckenridge stepped forward and placed his hand on the wheel and announced that by the authority delegated to him by the members of the Cumberland Valley Fire Company “the hose reel or spider shall hereafter be known as the “Alert.” This concluded the ceremonies. The fire bell tolled, the doors of the house swung open and away sped the “Alert” to receive her baptism of water. The objective point was the plug at the corner of Main and Railroad Streets and in just 80 seconds the men had arrived at the plug, attached their hose and had water flowing from the nozzle.

An old member of the Alert Fire Company, submitted the following poem on that day in 1887,

But, hark; the tramp of many feet,
As like a host advancing,
Came clattering down along the street,
With the “Alert” they came a prancing.

Their painted capes flap in the breeze,
As they march to fame and glory;
Youthful members were in the ranks,
And some were gray and hoary.

“Attention! Boys,” the leader cried;
“Fight now for fame and honor,
The Alert must do her duty well
For the country’s eyes are upon her.”

And with a mighty shout they cheered,
They fondly gathered round her;
With all their force they pumped her dry,
And with a wreath they bound her.

The stream she sent up in the air
Went higher than a steeple.
Oh! Alert she was, the test she stood,
Proud of her were the people.

But old age came upon her fast,
Her crank refused its motion;
The Council met, deliberated,
And took a foolish notion.

The day was named to sell it off,
For money was getting tight;
Three dollars was the price she brought,
Knocked down to Joshua Wright.

But a new company appeared upon the scene,
The boys around a new machine would rally,
She was the pride, the pet of town
And christened “Cumberland Valley.”

“Ever Ready” her motto stands
With not a stain upon it;
As proud of her they are today
As a girl in her Springtime bonnet.

Tomorrow, I will part a brief conclusion of the Alert along with a photograph of a coffee grinder style hand engine much like what the Alert would have used.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Alert Fire Company

On November 8, 1866, time unknown and exact location unknown. A fire of undetermined origin destroyed a shed containing hay. The Vigilant and Cumberland Valley Fire companies answered the alarm. At this time both companies were operating two-wheel hose reels and the Vigilants had their Button hand engine (purchased new in 1860) and the CV's were still using their first engine the "Cumberland Valley" a smaller Philadelphia style engine.

For a three to four year time period during the Civil War Shippensburg Newspapers are scarce so little information can be found. The minutes for the Vigilant's are gone from this time and the CV's have none from this era either because they had become inactive and almost faded away.

Beginning with today's entry I will do a two part installment on the history of the Alert Fire Company in Shippensburg, Pa. For those that read the Shippensburg Sentinel, I ran this in the FD edition a few years ago.

Part 1


Alert Fire Company
The Alert was one of four early fire companies in the Borough of Shippensburg, which no longer exists. Information varies as to when the Alert Fire Company formed. The first recorded news article found on the Alert was on February 15, 1849 when the company held a meeting in the Council House to elect officers for the year.

It was noted in the Cumberland Valley Fire Company’s minutes from their first organizational meeting in January 1859 that the men who had been members of the Alert, mentioned that the Alert Fire Company was formed in 1843. On April 11, 1887, C. V. Hose Co. President, D. K. Wagner, delivered a speech to the company, giving a brief history of the Alert Fire Company, which he stated organized in 1830.

On January 22, 1878, an old “Shippensburger” wrote that in the 1840’s, the Vigilant Fire Company hoped of getting a new fire engine and began to lay plans. They succeeded in electing a town council, which was pledged to the purchase of a new fire engine. Council made good on their pledge and purchased a used engine from the Hibernia Fire Company in Philadelphia.

As soon as the procuring of a new engine was found to be a foregone conclusion, some of those pledged to it became suddenly impressed with the importance of a thoroughly organized fire department and proceeded to raise a second company of about 120 members.

The new company asked council to ignore the existence of the Vigilant Fire Company and give them the new engine. However, the conspiracy did not succeed and the Vigilant Fire Company was given the new engine.

After the Vigilant’s took possession of the Hibernia engine, the minors of the borough requested that Council give them the Vigilant’s old engine. The primitive fire engine was named the “Rocket.” When the minors were organized into a company, they took the name of “Alert” and the title of the engine was changed to that of the company.

The “Alert” was a small wooden engine designed like a coffee grinder. The borough may have purchased the engine in 1817. To make the engine work, a line of people with buckets would be formed to keep the box filled with water. One or two men would be on each side of the engine turning a crank that would operate a rotary pump affixed to the top of the wooden box. This caused water to be forced out of a hose, which was mounted on the top of the engine.

In the February 1851 edition of The Shippensburg News, it was reported that the Alert was comprised mostly of young men under the age of twenty.

By March 1851, the Alert was attempting to raise funds to purchase a new engine. A number of citizens had subscribed liberally and council intended to make an appropriation for that purpose.

In April 1854, the company was still trying to get a new engine and laid before Town Council a petition for new fire apparatus. The report from Council was they would grant their petition provided; a majority of the voters of the Borough can be obtained. Once again, an engine was not obtained.

Little is mentioned of the Company over the next three years until the night of Saturday, December 21, 1857. About 9:30 pm, an alarm of fire was sounded in Shippensburg. Firemen pulling the “Hibernia” and “Alert” arrived at the Rev. James Mackley lot on East King Street to find a stack of straw ablaze. Firemen were able to confine the fire to the straw limiting damage.

The Shippensburg News reported that after the fire, a party of lawless characters, whose names were yet unknown, almost totally destroyed the Alert engine. The newspaper went on to state that the engine was not worth much. However, in the event of fire, some good might be accomplished by it. They ventured to say that few engines had attained greater age than it; it’s origins being traced to the seventeenth century.

On December 31, 1857, Council met in special session at the Geeseman & Company shop. The purpose of the meeting was to settle a suit with the members of the Alert Fire Company for damages they did to their engine. The following persons appeared before Council; David Shugers, John Snow, John Boltz, John Middleton, Theodore Smith, George Forney, Wilson Boher and Jacob Gable. It was agreed that the men were to pay the borough 86 and one-half cents each.

In January 1858, Council paid Joshua Wright $5.00 for work done on the Alert engine. It was agreed in council session that the engine was useless and no more repairs should be made. On April 26, 1859, Council sold the Alert engine to Joshua Wright for $3.00.

After the engine was destroyed, the Alert Fire Company disbanded. It is unknown where the Alert housed their engine when in service.
Part 2 on Friday November 9

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Leesburg House Burns

On November 7, 1963, at 10:30 p.m. a structure fire was reported in Leesburg, Southampton Township Cumberland County. A faulty flue sparked a blaze that did extensive damage to an occupied multi-family, 2-1/2-story frame house. The fire gutted a room on the first floor and second floor with extension to the attic. One civilian was burnt attempting to escape the blaze. Firemen were on the scene one and a half hours. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose Company battled the blaze.

The photograph was taken November 7, 1981 at the Vigilant Hose Company's Ladies Night banquet. I will let you guess the people.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

One Room School House Gutted

On November 6, 1994 at 10:28 p.m. Cumberland County 911 dispatched a structure fire on the Chestnut Grove Road, Southampton Cumberland. An arson fire gutted a former one-room schoolhouse. Damages were estimated at $20,000. High winds hampered firefighting efforts. The Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies answered the alarm.

I had a couple of photos from the Mainsville Road fire on October 28, 2007 web ready that were not used by any of the SFD web sites so I thought I would use them today.
Chief Tinner looks good on the orange and white and I know Kenny has to be proud to see his son on a KME.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Fire On Aspers Farm

November 5, 1951 at 3:00 a.m. on the Baltimore Road at the Asper farm. A diesel motor used to power a stone crusher started a fire in a frame building. The building and motor were were a complete loss. Damages were estimated at $1,200. Firemen had the blaze under control in 20 minutes and were on the scene over on hour. The Vigilant Hose Company answered the alarm.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Charles Street House Heavily Damaged

November 4, 1978 at 9:00 p.m., 705 Charles Street, Shippensburg. An electrical short in the garage ceiling caused a fire that heavily damaged an occupied 1-1/2-story brick house. The attic and garage were gutted with heavy heat, smoke and water damage to the first floor. Damages were estimated at $40,000. Firefighters had the blaze under control in 15 minutes and were on the scene over two hours. The fire occurred during the Vigilant Hose Company’s Eighth Annual Firemen’s and Ladies Night Banquet. The Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies operated at the scene.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Fire Threatens Lees Cross Roads

November 3, 1916 at 10:00 p.m., Lees Cross Roads, Southampton Cumberland. A fire of undetermined origin destroyed a 2-1/2-story frame and brick house. The blaze began in a first floor poolroom and extended rapidly. A bucket brigade of over 100 men and women from the village battled the blaze. When it was feared the village would be lost assistance was requested from Shippensburg, Newville and Carlisle. The Cumberland Valley Hose Company attached their American LaFrance chemical wagon to an automobile and rushed to the village. The Newville Company did not respond due to the lack of water in the area for their new motorized fire engine and Carlisle was notified before leaving their station that there assistance was no longer needed. A civilian was overcome by smoke. Damages were estimated at $3,000.

It would be four more years before the Shippensburg Fire Department got motorized equipment. Because of the lack of support from town council and the borough Burgess the SFD was always behind the times in equipment, until the companies began purchasing themselves. The Friendship Hose of Newville had just gone motorized shortly before this fire.

Can you imagine this chemical wagon being pulled behind a car the whole way to Leesburg. The SFD never had horses, when the CV's had a run the men would pull this wagon to the scene.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Barn Destroyed On Walnut Bottom Road

November 2, 1973, 5:35 p.m., Walnut Bottom Road, Shippensburg Township. An arson fire destroyed a barn and its contents. The barn was used to store parts for H & H Chevrolet. No damage estimate was available for the building; loss to the contents was set at $25,000. Units operated at the scene for five hours. This was just one of a string of arson fires top plaque the Shippensburg area around this time. The Vigilant Hose Company Stations 1 & 2 and the West End Fire and Rescue companies battled the blaze.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Fire In Hopewell Township

November 1, 1953, 6:00 a.m. Newburg R.R. 1,Hopewell Township. A fire of undetermined origin destroyed a two-story log wash house and adjoining wood shed and caused extensive damage to the 2-1/2-story brick house. Firefighters were on the scene over three hours. Damages were estimated at $5,000. The Vigilant Hose Company battled the blaze.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

On this day October 31

October 31, 1987, 3:40 a.m., Walnut Bottom Road between Shippensburg and Leesburg, Southampton Cumberland. A fire caused by an unattended candle in a second floor bedroom damaged an occupied 2-1/2-story frame house. The blaze was confined to the second floor bedroom with the remainder of the home suffering smoke damage. Firefighter has the blaze under control in 20 minutes and remained on the scene for almost three hours. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies operated at the scene.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

On this day October 30

October 30, 1954, 9:00 p.m. Shippensburg R.R.1, during this time period they did not give street address instead they gave it out as a Rural Route number. The fire may possibly have been in the area of Middle Spring because it was located at the Witter farm and the firemen obtained their water from Burd’s Run (the article states that the stream ran in front of the property) it was to be across from the Strohn fish hatchery. Any older member that can shed some light on the location, it would be appreciated. A fire of undetermined origin destroyed an occupied 2-1/2-story brick dwelling and its contents. Firemen had the blaze under control in 20 minutes. Damages were estimated at $10,000. The Letterkenny Fire Department was requested for assistance and made it to the scene but were placed available without rendering any service. The Vigilant Hose Company operated at the scene.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Early Morning Job





On Sunday morning October 28, 2007 shortly before 6:30 a.m. companies 15, 52, 53 and 7 were alerted for a house fire in the 15 box, the dispatcher advised the caller said next to or across from a certain address, usually a good indicator that it is a job. The address ended up being 1144 Mainsville Road, Southampton Franklin. The Vigilant Hose Company was actually running as themselves and WEFR for the night while the West Enders had a fall party.

The Viggies with Engine's 15-1, 252 and Squad 15 were out right away. I just happened to be heading out in search of wildlife to shoot (with the camera) when the box was being dispatched and decided to take it in.

Chief 252 T. J. Silverstrim arrived with fire showing from sides A and B, while giving his size up Engine 15-1 was dropping at a plug a couple of hundred feet back and Engine 252 was picking up the line. A crew of Vigilant members aboard E15-1 advanced a 1-3/4 line to the front porch and forced the door. The fire quickly spread venting to the front porch and forcing the engine guys from the porch to finish donning mask and make entry. Once making entry the fire was quickly controlled with limited extension. Kudos to the Vigilant crew on a good hit.
The house was vacant at the time with a limited fire load. The fire Marshall was requested to determine the cause of the fire. One firefighter was injured when he got debris in his eye. At one point two firefighters were in trouble when they went partially through the floor to the basement. Both were removed with no injuries.

I followed the two engines to the scene and had the opportunity to get a few early shots. Unfortunately I did not have my flash with me and had to get creative in looking for light any place I could. In turn the flames are blown out in my shots with little detail. For those interested in the technical aspects of my shots check out my photography blog (linked on this page). I did get a few of the initial hit on the fire but because of the slow shutter speed they are a little blurry. If anybody has counties times for dispatch and arrival post them in the comments section. The first photo was taken at 6:31:33 a.m. as the line was being stretched, photo 2 at 6:31:59, photo 3 at 6:32:10 and photo 4 at 6:47:18. The time on my camera down to the minute (not sure about seconds) is the same as Cumberland County's time.

On this day October 29
October 29, 1977, 8:00 a.m. Byers Road, Greene Township. A fire started by an overheated chimney caused extensive damage to an occupied 2-1/2-story frame house. Most of the fire was confined to the voids with heavy smoke damage to the entire structure. Damages were estimated at $7,000. The West End Fire and Rescue Company assisted at the scene.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

On this day October 28

October 28, 1973, 9:40 p.m., US 11 in the area of Pinola Road. An automobile failed to negotiate a turn and struck a utility pole bursting into flames. The three occupants of the car escaped with minor injuries. The West End Fire and Rescue Company answered the alarm.

Some of you know I caught the job on Mainsville Road today and got some photos. It is a busy day for me but I will try and put a few on here in the next couple of days and send a few out for your sites. Now I will have a fire to post next year since this crash was the only thing to occur on this date,

Saturday, October 27, 2007

On this day October 27

October 27, 1945, 7:00 p.m. Koser’s Carpentry shop, East Garfield Street. A fire that started outside in a pile of wood shavings extended inside the shop and to the overhead belts that run the machinery. Firemen worked for over three hours before leaving the scene. Damages were estimated at $3,000. The Vigilant Hose and Cumberland Valley Hose companies operated at the scene.
Halloween
Since it is close to Halloween,I thought this would be a good photograph to post. This was the Halloween party at the Vigilant Hose Company in 1967. The woman standing with the dark hair is Dolores Myers, the devil is Brad Myers and the man with the mustache and vest is Gerald Holtry. The photo was taken by Ed Haupt, in the 1980's he donated all his pictures to the Vigilant's.

Friday, October 26, 2007

On this day October 26

October 26, 1987, 4:00 p.m., 9579 Roxbury Road, Lurgan Township. A fire of undetermined origin caused extensive damage to a large 150-year-old 2-1/2-story brick and frame dwelling. Over 75 firefighters from seven companies had the blaze under control in just over one hour but remained on the scene over four hours. Several firefighters were treated at the scene for minor injuries. Firefighting efforts were hampered by a light turn out of manpower on the initial alarm. The fire gained control over the void spaces requiring extensive overhaul. Damages were estimated at $50,000 to $100,000. The Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies assisted at the scene.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

On this day October 25

October 25, 1941, 6:15 a.m. Viener Building on East King Street. Occupants were awaken by the fire and ran to the Cumberland Valley Hose house to ring the bell and turn in the alarm. When firemen arrived they found fire in the basement rapidly extending to the first floor Acme market. All but one of the 16 families living in the four-story building was able to escape safely. One occupant did not hear the cry of fire and was overcome with smoke and was removed via ground ladder by firemen. The Vigilant Hose and Cumberland Valley Hose companies brought the blaze under control in 45 minutes. One fireman was slightly injured. Damages were estimated at $23,000 to $27,000.

October 25, 1969 the West End Fire and Rescue Company broke ground on Lurgan Avenue for their new building.
Paul Karper, Karper Builders, Contractor; Mervin Fogelsanger, WEFR President; Richard Van Scyoc, Shbg. Borough Council President; Henry Grove, Southampton Franklin Township Supervisors Chairman.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

On this day October 24

October 24, 1981, 10:06 a.m., Witmer Road, Southampton Cumberland. Two men were hunting when they noticed smoke and alerted a neighbor who contacted 911 to report the fire. When firefighters from three companies arrived the one story frame house was well involved. Firefighters had the blaze under control in 30 minutes but remained on the scene until 12:33 p.m. A faulty installed wood stove caused the fire. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose and Cumberland Valley Hose companies operated at the scene.

I took this photograph before the first engine arrived. This job was shortly after I took a nose dive from a roof I was venting in Newville and was not allowed to fight fire yet.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

On this day October 23

October 23, 1991, 1:56 a.m., 11,000 block of the Lower Horse Valley Road, Letterkenny Township. A fire of undetermined origin destroyed a frame cabin and its contents. Firefighters from seven companies operated at the scene until 4:48 a.m. The Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies assisted at the scene.

Monday, October 22, 2007

On this day October 22, LODD

October 22, 1951 a large fire destroyed Shirk's Motor Express on the West Shore Road (Rt.'s 11/15) in East Pennsboro Township. During the incident Fred G. Heckert a fire policeman with the Good Will Fire Company of West Fairview and the Citizen's Fire Company of Enola was struck by a car and killed.

Mr. Heckert had been on duty at Enola and Columbia Roads less than 30 minutes when he was struck at 2:28 a.m. Mr. Heckert was killed instantly, cause of death was from a compound fracture of the skull and internal injuries. Mr. Heckert, 46, left behind a wife and ten children aged 2 to 21 all at home.

The blaze destroyed the 11,000 square foot building and its contents. Damages to the building alone were estimated at $50,000 to $60,000.

Unless something happened in Shippensburg in the last four years (they are not in my data base yet) I had no other entry for today.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

On this day October 21

October 21, 1958 the West End Fire and Rescue Company announced the purchase of a 1951 F-6 Ford Oren fire engine from Delta Cardiff, York County. The engine has a 250 gpm Hale pump and carried 800 gallons of water. The company paid $3,000 for the unit.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

On this day October 20

October 20, 1930 at 5:30 a.m. a fire alarm was reported from three miles north of Shippensburg. A large barn and its contents were destroyed in an early morning fire. The blaze started when the farmer sat his lantern on a rail in the barn and it fell bursting into flames. The fire spread to a wagon shed, chicken house and other outbuildings also causing their destruction. Twice the house caught fire but the fire department was able to save it each time. Damages were estimated at $10,000. The Cumberland Valley Hose Company responded to the incident. Just to note this was before the Vigilant’s began rural service, the CV’s ran their American LaFrance triple combination pumper out of town when needed.

Does anybody know that Shippensburg has had seven fire companies since 1830?
Shippensburg Fire Company
Vigilant Fire (Hose) Company
Alert Fire Company
Niagra Hook and Ladder Company
Cumberland Valley Fire (Hose) Company
Keystone Hook and Ladder Company
West End Fire and Rescue Company
In the coming months more will be posted on each of them.

Friday, October 19, 2007

On this day October 19

October 19, 1871 4:00 p.m. the cry of fire rang was again heard over town, this time coming from Railroad Street (Earl St today). A fire of undetermined origin began on the porch roof of a frame hotel. With strong winds a major conflagration was feared but the quick work of the firemen contained the fire to the building. The front of the hotel was heavily charred with slight extension to the interior. The Vigilant and Cumberland Valley Fire Companies answered the alarm.

At this time the borough fire companies had the word fire in their names instead of hose, it was not until after hydrants were installed that their names were changed. The Vigilant boys would have answered the alarm with their 1860 Button and Blake hand engine (the first new rig ever purchased by the borough) and a two wheel hose reel and the CV’s would have responded with their Philadelphia style hand engine called the “Cumberland Valley” that was purchased used in 1858 and a two wheel hose reel that was bought second hand from Baltimore in 1859 both rigs were the first for the CV’s.

Fire Prevention Week 1974


October 11, 1974 the Shippensburg Fire Department distributed fire safety information on the square. In the front row left to right are: Gerald Holtry, Vig. asst. chief; Susie Hoy, WEFR queen; Pam Diehl, CV queen; Robie Houck, Vig. queen, and Charles Myers, Vig. chief. In the back row are: David Rohr, WEFR asst. chief; Ed Goodhart, WEFR chief; Ray Holtry, CV chief; John Snyder, asst. borough chief, and Ronald Coleman, WEFR asst. chief.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

On this day October 18

October 18, 1930 4:00 p.m. about four miles northwest of Shippensburg on the old Pike; a faulty flue caused a fire that destroyed an occupied farmhouse. The blaze began in the rear of the house and was fanned by a strong west wind. Firemen were unable to save the home because of a lack of water. Neighbors assisted the occupants in removing their possessions before the house burnt down. Damages were estimated at $4,000. The Vigilant Hose and Cumberland Valley Hose Companies answered the alarm.

Just to note, this was a couple of years before the Vigilant's began rural service. Fire apparatus did not just respond to a report of a fire outside of town like they did in the borough. The CV's would normally be the ones to respond because they had the only water pumper in Shippensburg at this time.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

On this day October 17

October 17, 1975 at 1:47 a.m. Mike Lynch Jr. was heading home from work at the A & P store on Burd Street when he spotted a glow in the distance. Mike investigated and found the Cumberland Valley Cooperative Building on West Orange Street to be ablaze. Mike reported the fire to the Shippensburg Civil Defense room that quickly alerted to Shippensburg Fire Department. I don’t remember if Buzzy was working but I could almost hear him say KGD-556 to all Shippensburg monitors as I type this, it is just to bad I can’t type the way he spoke.

The fire of undetermined origin quickly destroyed the large oak frame building and its contents. Acting borough fire chief Charles Myers soon summoned help from five more companies to assist the Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue Companies. At the height of the blaze more than 175 firemen fought the flames before bringing it under control at 5:00 a.m.

A light drizzle helped but flying brands created problems for firefighters as they flew some distance and landed on rooftops. WEFR firefighters had the task of keeping Bogar lumber from burning as well as battling the blaze. The intense heat damaged several pieces of fire apparatus.

Crawford Wiestling, WEFR chief, said, “Some of my men claimed that at the height of the fire they could have scrambled eggs on the Orange Street Bridge.”

One firefighter was injured and damages exceeded $100,000.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Vigilant Hose Co. No. 1’s 1936 Seagrave Reo

On August 17, 1936 the Vigilant Hose Company took delivery of their new Seagrave Reo engine. The new pumper was equipped with a Reo Gold Crown motor built especially for pumping purposes. It was mounted on a Reo chassis and had a 166-inch wheelbase. The pumper was equipped with a 500-gallon per minute centrifugal pump, 100-gallon booster tank, 150 feet of booster hose, a 24-foot extension ladder and a 12-foot roof ladder. The engine was to be used primarily in the borough of Shippensburg and to be a back up for the rural engine. In December 1949 the engine was traded along with cash for a new tank truck.

In the 165 years of research I did on the Shippensburg Fire Department there has never been a working fire or major incident occur on this day.


Monday, October 15, 2007

On this day October 15

October 15, 2000 8:03 p.m. Harmon’s Furniture Store on North Main Street, Chambersburg. A fire of undetermined origin began in a pile of pallets and mattresses stacked on the store’s loading dock. Flames spread to the roof of the loading dock before being controlled by firefighters. A damage estimate was not available. The West End Fire and Rescue Company was one of six companies to respond to the fire.

For those of you that do not look at the comments at the end of the post you may want to start looking. I was hoping to get some feedback but what is being posted is better yet. Personal experiences and memories from people that had something to do with the incident. This will be a great way for us all to learn more about our past, I know I will be recording the comments in a separate data base. Thanks again, Brad.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

On this day October 14

October 14, 1922 around 7:15 p.m. the cry of fire rang out in Shippensburg for a stable fire at 212 East Garfield Street. Two stables and their contents were destroyed in an arson fire. Firemen did excellent work in keeping the fire from spreading. About a half hour after firemen returned to their quarters they responded again to the same street for another stable fire. That stable was also destroyed and labeled arson. Damages were estimated at several hundred to one thousand dollars. The Vigilant Hose and Cumberland Valley Hose Companies answered the alarms.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

On this day October 13

October 13, 1964 at approximately 11:15 a.m. an alarm of fire was sounded at Cressler’s Fruit Market, 209 West King Street, Shippensburg. A fire believed to be caused by an overheated flue in the incinerator caused $250,000 damage to the business. Over 200 firemen from 10 fire companies battled the blaze. The fire destroyed the warehouse attached to the rear of the store and caused extensive smoke and water damage to the main store and stock. The office area was also badly damaged. Borough fire chief Donald Witter declared the fire under control at 1:30 p.m. Several employees and firefighters were treated for smoke inhalation and one fireman was treated for lacerations after he fell through the roof.

Answering the alarm from Shippensburg were the Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies. The three companies remained on the scene until 3:04 p.m. when they answered an alarm at the Galen Asper farm on the Baltimore Road for a brush fire. They returned to Cressler’s and remained there until 9:30 p.m. At 4:30 a.m. the following morning the companies again returned to Cressler’s when a rekindle occurred in the ruble of the burnt out section of the building.

Sunday’s post will not be added until later in the day.

A couple of people yesterday brought it to my attention that they were having trouble posting a comment. If you are not a member of Google and are not signed in, after typing your comment you must click in the little anonymous circle below the comment box then click on the publish comments.

Friday, October 12, 2007

On this day October 12

October 12, 1936 Shippensburg Borough Council approved the purchase of a Ward LaFrance fire engine for the Cumberland Valley Hose Company. The unit was to have a 750-gallon per minute pump, 170-inch wheelbase, 150 gallons of water, 24-foot extension ladder and a 12-foot roof ladder. Total cost to be $6291.60. The engine is the one pictured in yesterdays post.

On this day in 1977 the resignation of Crawford Wiestling West End Fire and Rescue Company Chief became effective. Crawford was leaving to assume a new position in Minnesota. Herb Cassidy was elected to finish out the term. The photograph was taken in the 1960's while operating at a fire in the Upper Strasburg area.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

On this day October 11

October 11, 1942 shortly before 9:00 p.m. a fire of undetermined origin completely destroyed a barn and a car on the property Landis Smith 435 East King Street. The Vigilant Hose and Cumberland Valley Hose Companies answered the alarm, but the fire had gained considerable headway before there arrival. Flames were visible over much of the town. The C.V.'s would have answered the alarm with their 1937 Ward LaFrance shown here at the PPP in July 2006.



Wednesday, October 10, 2007

On this day October 10

Oct. 10, 1964 1100 a.m. Holtry's Garage in Roxbury a flash fire caused heavy damage to three automobiles and destroyed some of the equipment in the garage. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose Company answered the alarm.

This blog is dedicated to the past, present and future firefighters of the Shippensburg Fire Department.

I will attempt to post every day about an incident that occurred in the Shippensburg area on that date in the past. Some days I will post photographs and occasionally I will pick a piece of fire apparatus operated by the SFD and post photos and history of the rig. I will occasionally post incidents from Cumberland or Franklin County that have significant historical value.

The comment section is open to anyone wanting to comment, all are welcome.