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.


Anonymous said...


On the Scotland Knouse Foods Fire. I think we used a picture of that fire in the 50th book. That picture has Merve fogelsonger and my self and I think Ronney Coleman standing in a doorway after the fire was extinguished.

Bradley Myers said...

Chief, I checked the book and did not find a photo of this fire. I do remember some at the station. I need to go through those and scan some for on here. The hard part of doing this site will be coming up with photos. Stay warm up there.