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.


Anonymous said...

Brad, Just how many times has this building been burnt? Has it been destroyed fully by any or just remodeled?
B. Cressler

Bradley Myers said...

Bobby the building is still standing on the square today. I can't recall any other working fires in the structure, just a couple of small ones. My mind plays tricks on me from time to time.

wally said...

I would say if you talk to Bud M. he could fill you in on the details or close to it,,

Anonymous said...

I noticed the "other" fire I had thought of was a photo from the front angle hanging in the station.
B. Cressler

Bradley Myers said...

Bobby, that photo is of the same fire but everyone has seen it, the photo I posted I purchased a few years aogo and it is a view many have never seen. Wally, this fire was before Buds time.

Wally World said...

I know it was before Bud's time,,but he could tell you stories about those call's from long time ago,,,
Make sure you get some good pictures from down south,, It should be warm down there this time of year,,

Anonymous said...

I remember my dad telling me about the fire and disconnecting the hoselines to let the train through.TM