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.
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.