Wednesday, December 31, 2008

School Building Burns On Cold Morning

On December 31, 1925 at 2:00 a.m. firemen responded to the Educational Hall, Prince and Burd Streets for a building fire. A fire possibly caused by a furnace malfunction destroyed the 2-½-story school building and all its contents. Upon arrival of the two local companies it was soon realized that they could not save the building and all efforts were made to protect the other two schools and surrounding houses. Assistance was requested from Chambersburg and the Good Will Fire Company made the trip in 11 minutes. Damages were estimated at $50,000 to $60,000. The Vigilant Hose and Cumberland Valley Hose companies battled the blaze in below freezing temperatures.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

House Destroyed When Firemen Can’t Secure Water

On December 30 1876 at 3:00 p.m. the cry of fire was sounded for Prince and Orange Streets for a house fire. A defective flue started a fire in the attic of an occupied 2-½-story dwelling. When the fire department arrived the second floor and attic was ablaze. Due to the lack of water in the area the house was destroyed. The household goods were removed before the home was lost. Damages were estimated at over $700. The Vigilant and Cumberland Valley Fire Companies battled the blaze.

The Vigilant Hose Company on Christmas Eve 2008.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Almost 80 Firefighters Battle Blaze

On December 29, 1991 at 11:30 p.m. firefighters were alerted to a house fire at 2309 Lindsay Lot Road. A faulty installed wood stove caused a fire that gutted a second floor and attic of an occupied 2-½-story frame dwelling. Firefighters had difficulty at first securing a water supply because the house was back an 1,800 foot lane and the first in engine was only carrying 1,500 feet of hose. When the second engine arrived the lay was completed and additional tank trucks were requested. The first floor suffered smoke and water damage. A damage estimate was not available. Between 70 and 80 firefighters from seven fire companies were on the scene almost three hours. The Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies answered the alarm along with assistance from Fayetteville, Newburg-Hopewell, South Newton and Mont Alto Fire companies.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Barn Burns On Newville Road

On December 28, 1937 at 5:30 p.m. firemen responded to a barn fire at Shippensburg R. R. 1, (Newville Road, close to the quarry). A fire of undetermined origin destroyed a large bank barn and some of its contents. Passing motorist assisted the farmer in removing the cattle and some of his machinery. When firemen arrived all that could be done was to protect the exposures. Damages were estimated at $10,000. The Vigilant Hose Company answered the alarm.

This shot glass was given away by the West End Fire and Rescue Company during their WEFR Day in 1974.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Chimney Causes House Fire

On December 27, 2005 at 8:30 p.m. firefighters were dispatched to 120 Chamberlin Road, Hopewell Township for a chimney fire with extension. A fire that started in a chimney extended to the walls and floors before being controlled by firefighter. Companies worked for several hours opening up and extinguishing flames. 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 26, 2008

First Floor Damaged, Civilian Injured In House Fire

On December 26, 1970 at 10:00 p.m. firemen responded to 316 East Garfield Street for a house fire. Faulty electrical wiring sparked a blaze that destroyed a first floor room and caused heavy heat and smoke damage to an occupied 2-½-story dwelling. Firefighters had the blaze under control in 15 minutes. Firefighters were unable to get water from the first hydrant they took and had to take a plug at the other end of the block to establish a water supply. One civilian was injured. The highway department had to be called to the scene to loosen the hoses frozen to the street. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies answered the alarm.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Day Fire Destroys Barn





On December 25, 1979 at 11:19 a.m. local firefighters Christmas was interrupted when they were dispatched to a barn fire at Shippensburg R. D. 5, Route 533 next to Valley Quarries. An electrical malfunction sparked a blaze that destroyed a barn and its contents. Firefighters from eight companies were able to rescue the livestock and remained on the scene until 3:45 p.m. Several firefighters suffered minor injuries. Water to fight the blaze was obtained from valley quarries and sent to the scene in a seven-tanker relay. Several firefighters suffered minor injuries but none were transported. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies battled the blaze along with the South Newton Twp. Penn Twp., Newburg Hopewell, Newville and Pleasant Hall fire companies.

After almost 32 years of firefighting I have forgotten some of the fires I have taken in but this one sticks in my mind like it was just last year. There was only three of us at the station that morning when the bells hit. Pap Sanders drove the 1963 Seagrave (Engine 252), Paul Healy was riding the seat and I was on the tailboard, we led off with the deluge gun after swinging open the barn doors but like most it was not enough to stop the fire.

In the second photo that is Charlie Myers on the left and Dave Rohr on the right, on the third photo it looks like Dave "Grizz" Staver on the left and on the fourth photo that is Rick Hosfelt in the jeans and vest.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve Fire Kills Woman and Destroys House

On December 24, 1943 shortly after midnight firemen were sent to Shippensburg R. D. 2 for a house fire. A dog upset a kerosene lamp causing it to explode destroying the 2 story occupied log and frame house. One female resident perished in the fire and her husband received burns to his hands and face attempting to rescue her. The Cumberland County coroner ruled the death was caused by cremation. With a limited water supply firemen were unable to save the building. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose Company answered the alarm.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Cabin Damaged In Accidental Fire

On December 23, 1968 at 2:37 a.m. firemen were sent to Shippensburg R. D. 1, near the Walnut Dale Speedway for a cabin fire. An overheated stove sparked a blaze that partially destroyed an occupied cabin. John Snyder, assistant rural chief, was the first to arrive and reported the fire was blazing near the stove, but when the Viggies apparatus arrived a few minutes later flames were shooting out of the windows. Firefighters operated at the scene over two hours. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose Company answered the alarm.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Pizza Hut Destroyed, Three Firefighters Injured

On December 22, 2004 at 2:55 a.m. Shippensburg firefighters were sent to the Pizza Hut, 815 West King Street for a building fire. Fire destroyed the local Pizza Hut. When the first firefighter arrived flames had already taken control of the building. An offensive attack was attempted but quickly abandoned. Three firefighters were injured; two of them were transported to Chambersburg Hospital. A damage estimate was not available. Firefighters from four companies had the blaze under control within one hour and remained on the scene until around 7 a.m. The Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies answered the alarm.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Livestock Lost In Shed Fire

On December 21, 1973 at 4:30 p.m. firefighters responded to a shed fire on the Rowe Road behind the High School. A heating lamp located to close to straw sparked a blaze that damaged a 30 X 15 limestone shed. According to WEFR Chief Ed Goodhart firemen had trouble getting to the scene because of icy conditions and drifting snow. Lost in the fire were two sows and 20 piglets. Firefighters operated at the scene over two hours. Damages were estimated at $1,000. The West End Fire and Rescue and the Vigilant Hose Company battled the blaze.

I had to switch things up a bit today, I realized without being able to make Smokey Stover larger you could not read the print, anyone else out their work for a person like this?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Firefighters Respond To Well Involved House Fire

On December 20, 2006 at 1:26 p.m. firefighters were alerted to a house fire at 7026 McClays Mill Road, Lurgan Township. A fire of undetermined origin destroyed a house and its contents. Firefighters began an interior attack but quickly with drew to defensive operations. Tanker shuttled water from a mile and a half away. Firefighters from nine companies operated at the scene for multiple hours. A damage estimate was not available, 10 people lived in the home and were displaced. The Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies assisted at the scene.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Fire Races Through Attics Before Being Stopped

On December 19, 1959 at 2:35 a.m. firemen responded to a house fire in Newburg. A fire of electrical origin gutted an attic and spread to the attic of two other houses before being brought under control. The Newburg Fire Company had just put the last of the water they carry on their rigs when the Viggies arrived. A supply line was laid several blocks away to a large cistern but was not needed. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose Company and Newville Fire Company assisted the Newburg Fire Company at the scene.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Mobile Hose Destroyed, Occupant Killed

On December 18, 2001 at 6:09 a.m. a Shippensburg box was dispatched for a mobile home fire at 15 Dykeman Road in Shippensburg Township. A candle left burning on a wooden bookshelf sparked a blaze that killed the 38-year-old male occupant and destroyed the mobile home. Firefighters had the blaze under control in 15 minutes and out in 30 minutes. One firefighter suffered second degree burns in a rescue attempt before the arrival of fire apparatus. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies answered the alarm.

More WEFR letterhead.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

House Damaged In Accidental Fire

On December 17, 1963 at 2:30 p.m. KGD-556 dispatched Shippensburg monitors to a house fire in Hays Grove. A fire started in the kitchen and quickly spread to the second floor and attic of a 2-½-story frame dwelling. The origin was believed to be electrical. Firemen were on the scene over two hours. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose Company assisted the Friendship Fire Company of Newville and the Penn Twp. Fire Co. at the scene.

At 8:30 a.m. the Vigilant and Cumberland Valley Hose Companies operated at a working for on South Penn Street extended (that post is for another year) and at 12:37 p.m. the Viggies answered a chimney fire in Lurgan.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

24 Sheep And Three Horses Lost In Blaze

On December 16, 1943 at 1:45 a.m. a fire broke out in a barn on the Stoughstown Road. A tractor shredding fodder started a fire in the fodder burning the barn and its contents. Lost in the fire were three horses, 24 head of sheep, 45 tons of hay, machinery and other items. The only water available to fight the blaze was to close to the barn to use. The area men formed a bucket brigade before the arrival of the community pumper but the flames spread to rapidly for them to be effective. A damage estimate was not available. The fire department was called back later in the day for a rekindle. The Vigilant Hose Company answered the alarms.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Occupant Killed In Dwelling Fire

On December 15, 1951 at 4:00 p.m. firemen responded to a house fire in Roxbury. A fire of undetermined origin damaged an occupied 2-½-story frame dwelling, killing the occupant. Fire destroyed the living room and caused smoke and heat damage to the remaining structure. The occupant was found in the living room in the area of the sofa. The man died from third degree burns from over two thirds of his body. First arriving firemen broke out the windows and used a chemical extinguisher, snow and a garden hose to control the blaze just as the Vigilant engine was arriving. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose Company extinguished the blaze.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

WEFR Burns Mortgage


On December 14, 1975 at the West End Fire and Rescue Company’s annual Christmas Party and awards banquet the mortgage on their building was burnt. The company signed a $24,000 mortgage on the building in the fall of 1970. In October 1975 the final payment was made. Among the awards given at the banquet were: Herbert Cassisdy Jr., outstanding firefighter of the year; Galen Smith received the president’s award, and Steve Gabler received the chief’s award. The Ladies Auxiliary presented the men with a check for $1,000.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Flue Sparks Cause Fire

On December 13, 1906 at 9:45 a.m. the bell on the C.V. Hose firehall sounded an alarm of fire. Firemen were sent to the area between West Main and West Orange Streets near the Branch stream along the P. & R. R. R. for a building fire. A blaze caused by escaping sparks from a flue pipe destroyed a large building housing a wood and coal business. The fire extended rapidly to the attic of the large (over 100 feet in length) frame building that by the time firemen arrived they could not save the structure. Firemen had the blaze under control in 30 minutes. Damages were estimated at $1,000. The Vigilant Hose and Cumberland Valley Hose Companies answered the alarm.

The New Engine 53

Model: 75' Aluminum Ladder
Sales Organization:
Glick Fire Equipment Co.
Department:Cumberland Valley Hose Co # 2. Shippensburg, PA
Job Number: 21026
Category: Aerials
Chassis:Velocity™
Body:75' Aluminum Ladder
Engine:Caterpillar C13
Horse Power: 525
Foam System:Husky® foam system
Pump:Hale
Pump GPM:1750
Tank:Foam, Water
Tank GPM:20 foam/500 water
Generator:Harrison
Generator KW:20
Safety:Command Zone™, Side Roll Protection system, TAK-4® independent front suspension
Lighting: Whelen Freedom LED warning light package, (6) FRC quartz lights on body/cab, (4) FRC quartz lights on aerial, Whelen scene lights
Storage: Aluminum quint combo body w/dual hose chutes
Comments:(2) electric cord reels, front intake, (5) crosslays, chrome bell, painted bumper, front discharge, 2.5 aerial aux discharge, rope lighting on aerial

Friday, December 12, 2008

Garfield St. House Burns

On December 12, 1988 at 4:18 a.m. Cumberland County 911 dispatched Shippensburg firefighters to a house fire at 229-231 East Garfield Street. A fire of undetermined origin damaged the second floor of an occupied 2-½ frame duplex. The blaze gutted a bathroom and caused heavy heat and smoke damage to the bedrooms, the remainder of the house-received smoke and water damage. 229 E. Garifield was a vacant structure and 231 consisted of apartment for college students. Approximately 25 firefighters had the blaze under control in about 30 minutes and remained on the scene 3 ½ hours in single digit temperatures. The Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies answered the alarm.

Later in the morning all three Shippensburg Fire Companies answered a smoke detector activation at 110 Meadow Drive and in the afternoon the Vigilant Hose transferred to Newburg’s quarters.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Shed Destroyed By Fire

On December 11, 2003 at 11:00 p.m. firefighters responded to 11098 Roxbury Road for a shed fire. A fire of undetermined origin completely destroyed a 25 by 25 foot frame shed and its contents. Firefighters from five companies had the blaze under control in five minutes and remained on the scene 1-¼ hours. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies assisted at the scene.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Bird Perishes In Fire

On December 10, 1933 at shortly after noon firemen responded to a house fire on East Orange Street after several women walking past the residents spotted smoke coming from the house. Firemen arrived to find the sofa on fire already extending to the walls and ceiling. A line was laid but the blaze was quickly control with a chemical line. A family canary perished in the blaze. Damages were estimated at several hundred dollars. The Vigilant Hose and Cumberland Valley Hose companies answered the alarm.

Below is some of West End Fire and Rescue Company's letterhead over the years.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Overheated Chimney Causes Fire

On December 9, 1982 at 2:41 p.m. a 47 box was alerted for a house fire at Newville R. D. 4 (Pa. 233). An overheated chimney sparked a fire that caused heavy damage to the roof and attic of an occupied 2-½-story frame dwelling. Firefighters from six companies had the blaze under control in 30 minutes. Damages were estimated at $20,000 to $25,000. The Vigilant Hose Company assisted at the scene.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Firemen Combine Hose To Extinguish Fire

On December 8, 1890 at 3:00 p.m. fire station bells alerted firemen to a fire on South Penn Street, just over the borough line. A fire that began in the attic around the chimney destroyed the upper portion of the home and its roof. The C.V.’s on the scene first took the plug at Orange and Penn streets, but ran out of hose before reaching the scene. The Vigilant Hose connected to the C.V. line and finished the lay. This left the companies short on hose providing them with just enough to play one stream on the fire. Damage estimates were not available. The Vigilant Hose and Cumberland Valley Hose Companies extinguished the fire.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Huge Fire Destroys Ollie’s Outlet

On December 7, 1994 at 10:15 p.m. firefighter responded to 1714 Lincoln Way East, Guilford Township for a building fire. A fire traced to repair work on the roof destroyed Ollie’s Bargain Outlet, Just Cabinets and damaged several other buildings. Firefighters initially started an interior attack but after about 20 minutes as the fire was fanned by strong winds defects in the structure were noted and the crews were removed to the outside. Over 150 firefighters manning approximately 50 pieces of apparatus set up a relay of 7,500 feet of five inch and operated six elevated master streams before bring the seven alarm blaze under control. The fire was under control by 2:30 a.m., some units remained on the scene until noon the following day. Three firefighters suffered minor injuries. Damages were estimated at $5 million dollars. The Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies assisted at the scene.

Earlier in the morning the Vigilant Hose Company assisted on a search party in Hampden Twp.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Accidental Fire Damages House

On December 6, 1970 at 2:26 p.m. firemen responded to a house fire at Shippensburg R. D. 5 midway between Valley Quarries and Oakville (Rt. 533). An accidental fire caused extensive damage to an occupied 2-½-story frame house. The fire started in the basement and damaged two rooms on the first floor before extending to the attic. Firefighters were on the scene over two hours. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose Company Stations 1 & 2 and the West End Fire and Rescue Companies answered the alarm.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Two-Story Log House Destroyed

On December 5, 1969 at 11:58 p.m. firemen were alerted to a house fire in Huckleberryland. A defective heating system started a blaze that destroyed an occupied 2-story log house. Water was drafted from a nearby pond to extinguish the stubborn blaze. The house was destroyed and a family of eight was displaced. Firefighters were on the scene over four hours. The Vigilant Hose Company Stations 1 and 2 and the West End Fire and Rescue Company extinguished the fire.

Earlier in the morning the Vigilant Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies extinguished grass fire on the Mainsville Road.




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 17 years.

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”. God Bless Jackson and save a seat for me in your new firehouse.

This same post was made last year and will be made every year on this date as long as the blog is up and running.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Community Tree

For years as their annual gift to the community the Rotary Club erected a tree at the Municipal building for the holidays. The club would string lights and every evening during the holiday season the tree would be lit up. On November 30, 1931 town council granted the Rotary Club permission to plant a permanent tree at the Municipal building. Council stipulated that the tree to be planted would have to be suitable for a community Christmas tree and meet the approval of the council body. The tree will be of the evergreen variety and is to be planted under the supervision of the property committee of borough council. For reasons unknown a tree was not purchased at this time. On April 7, 1934 Rotary Club president Allan Watts and secretary Paul Noftsker purchased a 12-year-old 18-foot Norway spruce from a nursery near Harrisburg. Nursery experts planted the tree on May 16. At the time experts stated that it will not show much growth for the first year after transplanting, but that beginning with the second year it should grow from 12 to 18 inches a year, until it reaches its normal size and height. On Wednesday December 12, 1934 the Rotary Club decorated the tree. That evening the electric was turned on and the tree was lit for the first time.

The Rotary Club remained in charge of decorating the tree until 1945. In 1945 Marcus Engle began decorating the tree with stringers and lights supplied by the borough. On one occasion Mr. Engle trimmed the top of the tree to keep it under control. In 1965 Marcus turned the job over to the Vigilant Hose Company. They have been doing the job ever since.

In 1972 the community faced the possibility of not having a community Christmas tree. Glenn Bitner, chairman of the Christmas decorating committee stated that the company is becoming hard pressed to cover expenses. In 1971 the company paid out $130 just to cover the replacement bulbs. In addition he stated that the tree has grown out of control. Standing at nearly 50 feet in height it is no longer easy to decorate. The stringers used ran in length from 50 to 80 feet and have been in use since 1945. He stated that they are not sufficient to properly decorate the tree and that last year the bottom of the tree was left untouched.

Shippensburg Borough Manager Walter K. Smith gave the go-ahead to trim the top of the tree down to a more workable level this year. Dewalt’s Tree and Lawn Service of Orrstown agreed to trim the tree at no costs if the Vigilant’s provide some assistance. With the tree trimmed the only remaining obstacle was the expense. It took 250 25-watt bulbs to decorate the tree each year. According to company chief Charles Myers, “Every year some of the bulbs burn out and get broken”, “and being out in the weather takes the coloring right off the bulbs”. Theft also played a large role. Two years ago vandals made off with a large number of bulbs. Just in time for the approaching holiday season Democratic state senate candidate Bob Oravetz presented the company with $100 for the Christmas tree lights fund. The funds were raised by Oravetz friends and neighbors who sold a special Oravetz for State Senator mug for the purpose of assisting the company’s tree fund.

Again in 1985 trouble plagued the community tree. The old wiring in the Vigilant fire house was unable to handle the extra load anymore. For one year the tree sat dark while the company worked with the borough to fix the problem. This was the only time in the trees history that it did not brighten the holiday season. By 1986 the problem was corrected and the tree was once again decorated.

On Thursday July 12, 2001 Allen Tree Service, Shippensburg began removing limbs from the bottom up at 7 a.m. When they were finished a few hours later only a 12-foot stump remained of what hours earlier was a 40-foot spruce. Andy Gettig, a company trustee, said the board had been considering replacing the tree for years. The tree had been in bad shape, limbs have been breaking off and the tree was leaning towards the street. With the tree removed it marked the end of a 66-year tradition. For most people the lighting of the community tree marked the beginning of the holiday season.

A new tree was to be planted shortly after the old one was removed but the dry weather made it hard to find a tree as large as the company wanted. Matt Hammaker a company member now living in North Carolina learned of the situation through his parents. Matt owns a plant brokering business; in late September 2001 he made arrangements with a Pennsylvania nursery to purchase a tree. Matt’s only request was that the tree be dedicated to the emergency workers and victims of the September 11 terrorists’ attacks. Vigilant volunteers Ken Nehf Sr. and Ken Nehf Jr. traveled to Pikes Peak nursery in Pine Run, Pa. to pick up the tree. On November 10, 2001 company members dug a three-foot hole and planted the 12-foot blue spruce.

On Saturday December 1 the company decorated the tree with a red white and blue ribbon and lights. As part of Dickens Days “Santa Clause” (Jerry Cramer) plugged the tree in for the first time. In 2002 the lights returned to the traditional multi-colored bulbs.


In late March 2003 Vigilant fire chief Greg Coy came up with the idea of using the community tree as a living tribute to the military troops on duty in the Middle East. Fire company members placed a red, white and blue ribbon on the top of the tree to support all of the military troops. Yellow bows were then put on the tree bearing the names of the individuals from the Shippensburg area serving over seas. The first two ribbons on the tree will honor two of the Vigilant’s own, Lisa Marie Wright and Ian Armstrong. By April 16 at least 20 yellow bows were attached to the tree. By early July four or five of the bows had been removed from the tree by returning veterans. On Saturday August 2 Ian Armstrong returned home and along with his mother Gloria McPherson claimed one of the first two bows to be placed on the tree.

Only one major incident occurred on this date and that was posted last year. I intended to post photos from the Vigilant Hose decorating this year but did not have time to get them ready. The above story was written in September 2003.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Fire Destroys Three Buildings

On December 3, 1989 at 5:30 p.m. firefighters responded to 1641 Shippensburg Road, Menallen Township Adams county for a building fire. A malfunctioning kerosene heater started a fire that destroyed three buildings and left one man homeless. The blaze began in the house before spreading to an automotive repair shop and storage trailer. It took firefighters over an hour to control the blaze. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose Company assisted at the scene.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Duplex Destroyed, Occupant Injured

On December 2, 2004 at 12:05 a.m. Franklin County 911 alerted units to a house fire at 3467, 3469 Troon Drive, Greene Township. Electrical wiring in a back porch ceiling light caused a blaze that completely destroyed a 1-1/2-story frame duplex. A 79-year-old woman was critically injured and transported to a Baltimore burn unit. Firefighters from eight companies battled the two-alarm fire before controlling it at 1:32 a.m. Units remained on the scene until 3:13 a.m. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies assisted at the blaze.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Fire Damages Hunting Camp

On December 1, 1981 at 7:16 p.m. firefighters responded to a cabin fire on the Shinabrook Road, Upper Horse Valley, Letterkenny Township. An overheated wood stove caused a fire that did considerable damage to a hunting cabin. The kitchen and bedroom sustained heavy fire damage and the remainder of the one story frame building received heat and smoke damage. Icy conditions on the mountain roads slowed the fire apparatus response. It took 40 firefighters from five companies 15 minutes to control 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.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

House Destroyed, Six Displaced

On November 30, 1989 at 11:00 a.m. Franklin County Communications Center dispatched firefighters to 5341 Cumberland Highway for a house fire. A fire of undetermined origin did heavy damage to an occupied 2-½-story frame/blockhouse and business displacing a family of six. Damages were estimated at $80,000. Firefighters from nine companies were on the scene over three hours. The Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies assisted at the scene.

On this day in 2004 Jackson Gerhart a retired fireman from the Washington D.C. fire department and a Shippensburg volunteer was severely injured when he apparently fell from the rear of an engine and struck his head while attempting to lay a supply line on a house fire. Jack was flown to York hospital in serious condition. The alarm was turned in at 1006 hours for 541 E. Washington Street and gutted a second floor bedroom causing $10,000 in damages. This same post was made last year and will be made every year as long as this blog is up and running.


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Combination Wagons And Siren Dedicated

On November 29, 1923, Thanksgiving Day the new ford chemical combination wagons of the Vigilant Hose and Cumberland Valley Hose companies were dedicated along with the new town siren. The new siren was placed on a 65-foot tower at the rear of the colored school building on East Burd Street. The firemen paraded around town with their four motorized rigs and the old button hand pulled engine. The Good Will Fire Company of Chambersburg, the town band and the Scotland band joined them. The parade ended at the Cumberland Valley’s station where the dedication occurred. Firemen then held a banquet and smoker in the C.V. fire hall.

The photograph is of the Cumberland Valley’s 1923 combination wagon. Unfortunately I have never seen a photograph of the Vigilant’s 1923 wagon.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Centerville Plans Fire Company

The following information appeared in The News Chronicle on this date November 28, 1933. The information was taken from a larger article to consolidate the information. As a result of Penn Township deciding to build an 80,000-gallon reservoir behind the consolidated school building a group of citizens decided to organize a fire department.

Harold Stum and Rine Scott took over the responsibilities of getting the fire company under way. Up to the week before this was written 16 members had already joined the company. Plans were underway to canvas the area to secure 100 members for the company at a 25-cent membership charge and 100 members at a $1.00 membership charge.


Encouragement was given when John A. Smith of Centerville announced he would donate a Studebaker automobile to be converted into a fire truck. It had already been planned to rebuild the body of the truck to carry a portable pump.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Occupant Killed In Fort Street House Fire

On November 27, 1942 at 5:00 a.m. firemen were alerted to a fire at 123 ½ East Fort Street. A blaze believed to have been started by an oil-burning stove caused extensive damage to a two-story frame house killing an 88-year-old male. Firemen located the victim near a second floor bedroom window. The cause of death was listed as smoke inhalation. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose and Cumberland Valley Hose companies extinguished the fire.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

J. Raymond Smith Furniture Factory Burns

On November 26, 1918 at 10:45 p.m. an alarm of fire was sounded for the J. Raymond Smith factory on East King Street. A fire of undetermined origin started in the rear of the building and spread rapidly in the dry lumber, wood shavings and varnishes. The flames had gained much headway by the time the firemen had arrived but their heroic efforts saved the front of the building used as a broom factory. A damage estimate was not available but the loss was said to reach a considerable sum. The Vigilant Hose and Cumberland Valley Hose companies battled the blaze.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Roxbury Home Damaged In Accidental Fire

On November 25, 1980 at 8:02 a.m. firefighters were alerted to Routes 997 and 641 in the village of Roxbury for a house fire. An electrical short started a fire that gutted a second floor room and extended to the attic of a large 2-½-story occupied brick dwelling. Minor smoke and water damage affected to remainder of the home. Firefighters had the blaze under control in 20 minutes and remained on the scene for over two hours. Three firefighters were treated at the scene for minor injuries. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies assisted at the scene.

Earlier in the morning WEFR and CV’s assisted on a job in Greene Township, but that’s for another year.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Vigilant Hose Co’s 1989 GMC Tanker

With no major incidents to report from the Shippensburg area on this date, I will detail another rig today.

I do not have access to the Vigilant Hose Company’s minutes; all information for this article came from the newspapers. Like everything I post if you have additional information or corrections to the content please pass it along.

In April 1989 the Vigilant Hose Company accepted delivery of their new tank truck. The new rig was three years in the planning according to Danny Byers, company chief. It replaced the 1973 International tanker that was originally purchased in 1953 and refurbished numerous times along with a new chassis in 1973.

4 Guys Inc. of Meyersdale built the new tanker for $91,650. The tanker is a 1989 GMC Topkick, C7D042 with a 1,500-gallon tank, a 500-gallon-per-minute Darley pump, three dump valves and a 2,100-gallon fold-a-tank.

The Vigilant’s received a $45,000 low interest loan from the Pa. Emergency Management Agency’s volunteer loan assistance program to help pay for the purchase. The remainder of the cost was paid for through company funds earned in a variety of fund raising events.

The tanker was shown at fire expo in May 1990 before being placed into service.

On April 6, 1992 the tanker was involved in a single vehicle accident and destroyed. At the time the unit was responding to an oven fire in Southampton Township Cumberland County when it struck an embankment along the Airport Road and overturned. A photos and article of that incident can be found on that date, 2008 on this site http://shippensburgfiredepartment.blogspot.com/2008/04/vigilants-tanker-destroyed-in-accident.html.




Sunday, November 23, 2008

House Addition Severely Damaged By Fire

On November 23, 1972 at 1:11 p.m. firemen responded to Route 997 two miles north of Newburg for a house fire. A fire of unknown origin destroyed an addition on a 2-½-story log home. One firefighter was treated and released from the hospital with injuries after he fell from a ladder. A damage estimate was not available. Firemen remained on the scene for two hours. The Vigilant Hose Company assisted at the scene.

Later in the afternoon all three-borough fire companies responded to a truck fire on Interstate 81 between exits 9 and 10.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Fire Damages Home And Barn In North Newton Twp

On November 22, 2006 at 7:01 p.m. Cumberland County 911 dispatched firefighters to 23 Stamy Road, North Newton Township for a barn fire. An electrical failure in a light switch wire caused a fire that destroyed a barn and damaged a house. Firefighters from eight companies operated at the scene for almost four and a half hours. Damages were estimated at $330,000. The Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies assisted at the scene.


It is not often I get to be the first at something, but this time I think I beat everyone to the punch. This is the new Camp Hill truck 14. I had to go to Industrial Motors yesterday and it was in their shop. Not the best of weather for apparatus shooting but I thought I would take a few anyways. The new truck is a 2007 Spartan/Crimson, 100 foot rear mount tower ladder with a 2,000 gallon-per-minute pump and a 300 gallon tank. If I remember correctly this rig was a demonstrator before being purchased by Camp Hill. I do not know anything else about it but I am sure Dale Myers can fill us in since he sold the rig.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Alert Fire Engine Destroyed

On November 21, 1857 an alarm of fire was sounded at 9:30 p.m. for the Rev. James Mackey residence on King Street. When firemen from the Vigilant Fire Company and Alert Fire Company arrived they found a stack of straw to be ablaze. Quick application of water kept the fire from spreading past the stack and doing further destruction.

It was reported a party of lawless characters, whose names were yet unknown almost totally destroyed the “Alert” engine. The engine was not worth much in case of emergency and was said to be one of the oldest around, dating back to the 1700’s.

This would be the last response for the Alert Fire Company.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Cumberland Valley Fire Company’s First Engine

The only major incident to occur on this date in the Shippensburg area was in 1951 and that was posted last year.

The Cumberland Valley Fire Company’s first engine was actually purchased before the company was formed. Sometime after the Alert Fire Company gas destroyed their hand engine and disbanded, Shippensburg Borough Council felt the need for a second engine in town.

In June 1858 council contacted John Agnew a prominent engine builder in Philadelphia to acquire a hand engine. Council asked that Mr. Agnew supply them with an engine suited for work in this town with no suction and that it be named the “Cumberland Valley”. Mr. Agnew was to use his own discretion as to the color of paint, height of the wheels and breadth of the engine.

The Cumberland Valley Railroad delivered the engine in February 1859. Council paid $700.00 for the hand pumper.

It is unknown what happened to the engine but in 1877 after the company reorganized, another Philadelphia style hand engine was purchased for the company. There was never any mention of the company operating two engines at this time so I believe it was disposed of when the new engine arrived. Unfortunately I have no photographs of this rig nor have I ever seen any.

For those of you that do not know the Vigilant Hose Company unveiled their new and improved web site yesterday, stop by and check it out. And in case you missed it the Cumberland Valley Hose Company released their new site on October 14. All the Shippensburg Fire and EMS links are in the right hand column.

The other day when I posted the information on Dick Holtry, Jeff asked if I would post his address so people could send cards. Here is his home address:

Richard S. Holtry, 111Springhouse Road Shippensburg, Pa. 17257

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Frick Building Burns In Waynesboro

On November 19, 1988 at 6:03 a.m. firefighters were dispatched to the 300 block West Main Street Waynesboro, Frick Company for a building fire. An arson fire destroyed the main office building and a storage building. More than 250 firefighters manning more than 70 pieces of fire apparatus from over 25 companies and two states battled the nine-alarm blaze. By early afternoon the blaze was under control and at 2:30 p.m. some units were sent home. Many units remained on the scene until 10:30 p.m. with one crew staying until Sunday morning to check for hot spots. After the first alarm was sounded at 6:03 additional alarms were requested at 6:50, 7:21, 9:14, 10:04, 10:26, 11:11, 12:06 and 12:45. Damages were estimated at over $3,000,000. One firefighter was injured. It was said that this was the larges fire to ever occur in Waynesboro. Water was used from hydrants until about 10:00 a.m. when the water supply in reserve dropped to 75,000. At that time tankers were requested to run a shuttle. Draft sites were set up at three locations to supply the fire ground. The Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue Companies assisted at the scene. The Vigilant Hose Company transferred and engine during the incident.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Barn Destroyed Near Doylesburg

On November 18, 2006 at 2:11 p.m. Box 12-01 was sent to the Path Valley Road, Fannett Township for a barn fire. A fire of undetermined origin destroyed a barn and its contents. Firefighters from numerous companies operated at 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 assisted at the scene.

**On a side note, I was informed on Saturday that Richard "Dick" Holtry was taken to the hospital again last week and that he is not doing well. Anyone familiar with Shippensburg knows Dick and his almost six decade dedication to the fire service. Please keep Dick and his family in your prayers and thoughts.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Trailer Damaged In Late Night Fire

On November 17, 1970 at 12:43 a.m. firemen were alerted to a mobile home fire at the West End Trailer Park. A fire of undetermined origin caused heavy fire damage to a bathroom and heavy smoke damage to the remainder of an occupied mobile home. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies battled the blaze.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Metal Township Fire Leaves Family Homeless

On November 16, 2004 at 8:37 a.m. Franklin County 911 alerted Box 21-01 to 9782 Path Valley Road, Metal Township for a house fire. An accidental fire caused heavy damage to a large 2-1/2-story frame house. When firefighter arrived the blaze already had control of the second floor and attic. Firefighter from 15 companies battled the two-alarm blaze for over 30 minutes before getting control. A family of four was left homeless and damages were estimated at $60,000. The Vigilant Hose, West End Fire and Rescue and Cumberland Valley Hose companies assisted at the scene.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

West End Fire And Rescue’s 1947 Buick Ambulance

On this date in history the only major event to occur in the Shippensburg area was in 2004, that incident was posted last year. I have not finished the last few years so I will detail another rig today.

This ambulance was the West End Fire and Rescue Company's first and their second piece of equipment. It was purchased for the company by the management of the Walnut Dale Speedway in August 1956 for standby purposes at the track. The speedway purchased the unit from a Physician in Lancaster, Pa. The unit was painted red and operated by the company until it was replaced with a 1948 Cadillac in 1957. The company sold the unit to East Waterford Fire Company.

I would love to tell you more but unfortunately that is all I know. The photographs are the only ones I have ever seen of the rig, one was taken from a News Chronicle article; the other I made from a converted 8 mm film of the unit.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Arson Fire Destroys Two Houses

On November 14, 1982 at 7:52 p.m. a 53 box was struck for 98 & 98b Locust Street for a dwelling fire. An arson fire destroyed two vacant 2-story frame houses. The fire started in 98 and quickly spread to the adjoining home. Firemen were 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. Firefighters were called back at 11:40 p.m. for a rekindle.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Waverly House Burns On Railroad Street

On November 13, 1883 at 3:00 a.m. the citizens of Shippensburg were aroused by an alarm of fire on South Railroad Street at the Waverly House. A fire of undetermined origin damaged the first floor bar and extended to the second floor apartments before firemen were able to control it. Firemen from both companies were soon on the scene with their hand engines, the Vigilant’s drawing water from the well to the rear of the railroad passenger station and the C.V.’s obtaining their water from the pump at the hotel. Damages were estimated at $300. The Vigilant and Cumberland Valley Fire Companies answered the alarm.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

C. V. Hose Company’s 1934 Chevrolet Studebaker Pumper

Sometime in 1934 the Cumberland Valley Hose Co. No. 2 formed a committee to purchase a new piece of equipment. On June 1, 1934 Lawrence Watson, chairman of the service truck committee reported the prices of different makes of car chassis. At that time a Studebaker body was selected and obtained from Mr. Statler of Marion, Pa.

On October 5, 1934 the service truck committee reported that the new truck was ready for service. At the January 4, 1935 Company meeting committee made its final report stating that the cost of the truck complete was $1,151.64 (it is unknown if this figure is correct as it seems a little low).

On November 12, 1953 a proposal to sell the pumper was adopted by the company members because the rig was no longer in usable condition. A committee of three consisting of Galen Staver, Wayne Commerer and Robert Holtry had the authority to sell the engine at the best price obtainable. At the January 14, 1954 company meeting Galen Staver reported that the committee had sold the pumper for $106.00.

Unfortunately this is all I know about the rig; the information never mentioned whom they purchased the Chevrolet chassis from or whom they sold the rig to. I have never found photographs of the unit either. I made this photograph years ago from vhs footage that was put together from 1944.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Letterkenny Twp. House Burns

On November 11, 2000 at 11:30 p.m. firefighters were sent to 3377 Keefer Road Letterkenny Township for a house fire. A faulty installed wood-burning stove started a fire that caused heavy damage to a large occupied 2-½-story frame and log house. The blaze began in the second floor and extended to the attic and roof quickly. When firefighters arrived the fire was through the roof. Firefighters had to shuttle water from a hydrant two miles away. Approximately 75 firefighters from 10 companies battled the blaze for four hours. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose Company assisted at the scene.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Attic Gutted In Roxbury

On November 10, 1933 just after noon firemen responded to a house fire in Roxbury. A faulty flue caused a fire that gutted an attic of an occupied house. The rural pumper was on the scene quickly and with the use of the booster tank was able to contain the blaze. Neighbors kept the booster tank filled by forming a bucket brigade. Damages were estimated at $100. The Vigilant Hose Company battled the blaze.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Two People Perish In Fire

On November 9, 1999 at 12:52 a.m. Cumberland County 911 alerted units to 812 Mud Level Road for a mobile home fire. A fire caused by a faulty freezer on an enclosed front porch destroyed a mobile home and left two people, a 9-year old girl and her 69-year old grandmother dead. The deaths were caused by smoke inhalation. The home had no working smoke detectors. Three others were left homeless. It took approximately 30 minutes for the 50 firefighters from six companies to bring the blaze under control. One firefighter suffered minor injuries. Damages were estimated at $60,000. Firefighters remained on the scene until 7:30 a.m. The Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies answered the alarm.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Stable And Contents Destroyed

On November 8, 1876 at 2:00 a.m. while the town’s people slept, the shout of fire was heard. Firemen soon learned the location was on East Main Street in the alley east of Penn Street for a stable fire. An arson fire destroyed a large frame stable and its contents. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant and Cumberland Valley Fire companies extinguished the blaze.

In the same Shippensburg News that this article came from was this short article of interest printed here exactly as it was in the paper.

--The firemen of Carlisle must be something of agriculturist, for we learn from the Mirror that unless they speedily “obtain more hoes their efficiency will be destroyed,” &c.


The Mirror was a Carlisle newspaper. I was actually thinking the same thing as the rest of you and never once did agriculturist cross my mind. Besides hoes are more fun than horses.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Cumberland Valley’s 1931 Studebaker Ambulance

On Friday April 1, 1931 the Cumberland Valley Hose Company No. 2 announced that they would be purchasing their first ambulance. It was on January 2, 1931 that the first steps were taken to obtain the first community ambulance. A committee was established consisting of James B. Hockersmith, Chariman, H. L. Sheaffer, Albert Clark, Clarence Naugle and Beattie Watson.

The ambulance was a 1931 Studebaker Samaritan coach type free wheeling straight eight. The exterior was finished in chrome nickel and the main body was Seashore tan trimmed in Pinto tan. The interior consisted of two compartments one for the driver and the other for patients. The patient’s area contained a white enamel chair cot, a medical cabinet fitted against the back of the front seat and was also equipped with a vacuum thermos bottle and two folding attendants chairs. From the belt line down it was trimmed in genuine brown leather, the floor was covered with brown linoleum and the glass compartment was leaded. The ambulance had a 100-horse power motor and was purchased from Charles Weicht, a local dealer for $2,250.00.

On May 1, 1931 company members voted to spend and additional $45.00 for a siren to be installed on the unit.

The ambulance was delivered to Shippensburg on Tuesday May 26, 1931. The unit was officially dedicated to deceased firemen on June 9, 1931 with a ceremony and parade.

On November 6, 1931 company members voted to have doorplates installed on both sides to read C.V. HOSE CO. NO. 2 SHIPPENSBURG.


The ambulance was replaced on June 3, 1938 with a new LaSalle ambulance. The company was given $790.25 from Wolfington for trade in on the new unit. Wolfington sold the 1931 unit to the Rescue Hook and Ladder Company in Mechanicsburg, Pa. on June 7, 1938. This ambulance had the distinction of being the first ambulance for two different Cumberland County companies.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Wood Shed Destroyed, House Badly Damaged In Three Square Hollow

On November 6, 1940 at 12:00 p.m. firemen were sent to the Three Square Hollow Road for a house fire. A fire of undetermined origin destroyed a woodshed and badly damaged an occupied two-story house. Strong winds caused the blaze to spread quickly from the shed to the house. Most of the family’s household goods were saved, being removed before the fire company arrived. This was a very common practice back in the day to remove all the possessions from the house by firemen and neighbors alike. The Vigilant’s were able to prevent to complete destruction of the house saving two first floor rooms on the west side of the house by pumping water from a nearby stream to play two lines on the fire. The nearest phone to report the blaze was two and a half hours away. Damages were estimated at $5,000. The Vigilant Hose Company battled the blaze. The NHFD did not exist at this time, image having to wait for Shippensburg to travel that far before receiving help.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Three People Die In Auto Accident

On November 5, 2005 at 10:25 p.m. a rescue local was sent to Exit 29 Interstate 81, Shippensburg Township for an auto accident with entrapment. A single car accident claimed the life of three people and severely injured another. One person was pronounced dead at the scene and two others were air lifted to Hershey Medical Center where they later died. The driver of the van was exiting the interstate and failed to stop at the stop sign going air born and landing on the other side of Rt. 174 in a ditch. The Vigilant Hose and West End Fire and Rescue Companies operated at the scene. Earlier in the day WEFR also responded to a structure fire in the Newville area.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

C.V. Hose Company Forms Ladies Auxiliary

On November 4, 1926 a temporary meeting of the Cumberland Valley Hose Company was held for the purpose of forming a Ladies Auxiliary. The following officers were elected;
President- Mrs. Hargleroad
Vice President- Mrs. Herman Shaffer
Secretary- Mrs. E. M. Akers
Treasurer- Mrs. Earl Wynkoop

The Auxiliary requested the help of every lady whose husband or brother was an active or honorary member of the company.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Basement Damaged In Fire

On November 3, 1989 at 4:54 p.m. firefighters were sent to 860 Mount Pleasant Road for a house fire. A fire of undetermined origin destroyed a basement storage room in an occupied 2-½-story brick house. Firefighters from four companies had the blaze knocked down in five minutes. The entire home suffered heavy smoke damage. A damage estimate was not available. The West End Fire and Rescue Company assisted at the scene.


The above photograph is of the West End Fire and Rescue Company circa 1970.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Seven-Year-Old Dies In Barn Fire

Information in the News Chronicle article was very sketchy so there will be a number of blanks in this incident account. On Saturday evening November 2, 1935 at an unknown time Shippensburg firemen were sent to the Jacob Rife farm occupied by the Leedy family, near Keefer’s Store for a barn fire. There was no report on what caused the barn fire or what was lost in it but the building was destroyed. In the excitement of the blaze the Leedy’s seven-year old daughter who was deaf and mute ran into the barn and hid. The young girl perished in the fire, neighbors and firemen searched for days before locating the remains of the child. Damages were estimated at $4,000. The article did not state which fire company or if both responded to the incident.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Large Fire Hits Chambersburg

On November 1, 1920 the worst fire to hit Chambersburg in 25 years occurred in the afternoon hours when a young man set fire to the P. Nicklas & Sons furniture store. Flames spread quickly and the Brunner Building, adjoining to the north, containing Henninger’s hat store and Gordon’s clothing store, was badly damaged. Two stables and four small houses in the alleys adjacent were burned down. Eight to ten nearby buildings were also burning but were saved. The Cumberland Valley Telephone Exchange Building was also ablaze and services were broken for a day. The trolley services were shut down in the central portion of town.

Five firemen were overcome by smoke or cuts and bruises and were taken to the hospital. Damages were estimated at $120,000.

All five Borough fire companies answered the alarm. Calls for help were sent to Hagerstown and Waynesboro. A special train was sent to Chambersburg with a steamer and hose from Waynesboro, while the Hagerstown Department drove their rigs to the scene.

This information was taken from a brief article that appeared in the Shippensburg paper, I have not checked the Chambersburg paper for additional information on this incident.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Heat Lamp Causes Barn Fire

On October 31, 2000 at 1209 p.m. firefighters were dispatched to 65 Chamberlin Road for a barn fire. A fire caused by a heat lamp caused extensive damage to a 150 X 50 foot barn. Firefighters from seven companies had the blaze under control in 30 minutes and were on the scene two hours. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies battled the blaze. Earlier in the morning the CV’s answered an AFA on Frey Road, later in the evening WEFR answered a working barn fire in St. Thomas Township followed by all three Shippensburg companies answering another working barn fire on the Pine Stump Road. Those two working fires can wait to be posted in the future.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Fire Extends To Zinn’s Grocery Store

On October 30, 1928 at 1:00 p.m. firemen were sent to East King Street near Earl Street for a fire. A pile of crates and boxes caught fire and extended to the rear of the Paul Zinn Grocery store. Firemen quickly rushed to the rear of the store with the two chemical trucks while hose lines were ran over the roof of the building. Damages were estimated at $400. One civilian was injured when he fell through a sky light in the Sherman Hotel while watching the firemen battle the blaze. The Vigilant Hose and Cumberland Valley Hose companies answered the alarm.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

West End Fire And Rescue Company Celebrates 50 Years Of Service



On October 29, 2005 the West End Fire and Rescue Company celebrated their 50Th anniversary with a banquet at the Beistle Plaza. The event was attended by nearly 400 people and featured a dinner, awards to past officers, entertainment and a dance afterwards. Nearly four years of planning went into the weekend activities that included a Chief's reception at the Market Cross Pub on the 28Th and a breakfast at the fire station on the 30Th.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

West End Fire and Rescue’s 1947 Dodge Rescue



The only two major incidents to occur on this date were posted last year, an incident from 1973 and the job in Mainsville that happened last year.

This would become the first rig for the newly formed West End Fire and Rescue Company No. 3. It was originally owned by Henry’s Bakery and donated by Frank Hollar while the company was still in the planning stages as an annex to the Vigilant Hose Company sometime in early 1955. Member Merle Byers painted the rig red for the company and members mounted a ladder on the roof and lights and tools on the outside. The inside carried a stretcher, chemox air masks, fire extinguishers, salvage covers, protective clothing and many other small hand tools.

The unit was replaced sometime between 1959 and 1960 when the company purchased a 1947 Ford Rescue truck from Barren Hill, Pa. It is unknown what happened to the rig after that.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Barn Destroyed In Cleversburg

On October 27, 1928 in the evening hours local firemen were sent to Cleversburg for a barn fire. A fire possibly intentionally set destroyed a large barn and its contents. Four or five pieces of farm machinery and the hay crop stored for the winter were all lost with the barn. Firemen pumped water from a nearby stream in an effort to save the surrounding buildings. Damages were estimated at $10,000. The Vigilant Hose and Cumberland Valley Hose companies answered the alarm.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

$800,000 Blaze Hits Machine Shop

On October 26, 1999 at 10:00 p.m. Franklin County alerted an 11 box to 5800 Cumberland Highway, Paul E. Lehman Inc for a building fire. A fire of suspicious origin destroyed a 14,000 square foot machine shop and put more than 60 people out of work. When firefighters arrived they found the machine shop and several offices heavily involved in fire. About two hours earlier firefighters had responded to a trash bin fire outside at the same location. It took firefighters from 12 companies over an hour to control the blaze. Firefighters were able to save six computers that were termed critical to the business and remove dangerous chemicals before they could be involved in the blaze. Damages were estimated at $800,000. The Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies assisted at the scene.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Firefighter’s Battle Second Barn Fire In Hours

On October 25, 1983 at 6:38 a.m. firefighters were sent to the Borough of Newburg for a barn fire. Over 150 firefighters manning 20 pieces of apparatus battled a barn fire for over five hours before bringing it under control. The barn was saved as firefighters worked all day to remove the burning hay. The fire was ruled arson along with another barn fire just three miles away and an hour earlier. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies assisted at the scene.


The above photograph is of the Vigilant Hose Company's fleet circa 1955, from left to right the 1950 Seagrave rural engine, 1950 Seagrave city quad and the 1953 International tank truck.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Fire Damages American Legion Post

On October 24, 1958 at 6:45 a.m., an alarm of fire was dispatched for 117 West Orange Street, Robert Green American Legion Post. A fire of suspicious origin caused heavy damage to the one story block building. Firefighters encountered dense smoke and a floor that had fallen into the basement upon their entry. Damages were estimated at $2,000. The Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies battled the blaze. Later in the evening firemen responded to the intersection of King and Earl Streets for an auto fire, defective wiring in the car caused a slight blaze.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Barn And Two Sheds Go Up In Flames

On October 23, 1986 at 7:25 p.m. the Vigilant’s assistance was requested at a barn fire at 328 Old York Road. A fire of undetermined origin destroyed a barn and two sheds. The farmhouse was also damaged in the fire along with two pieces of fire apparatus. Firefighters were hampered by gusty winds and a lack of water. Damages were estimated at $203,000. Eight firefighters were treated at the scene for minor injuries. Firefighters from 17 companies in two counties battled the blaze for hours. The Vigilant Hose Company assisted at the scene.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Vigilant Hose Co.’s 1950 Seagrave Pumper


Nothing major occurred in the Shippensburg area on this date.

On Friday March 17, 1950 the Vigilant Hose Company voted to purchase a new rural pumper. The membership unanimously approved the purchase after hearing a report given by M. Garfield Barbour, President, concerning reaction to a meeting held by the Vigilant’s with supervisors, auditors and councilmen of the rural areas served by the company and held in Middle Spring on March 8.

President Barbour reported that all the areas represented at the meeting reported favorable to raising their annual payments for fire protection, pending final decisions by their respective official bodies.

The Vigilant’s had requested the rural supervisors either discontinue the rural pumper service or vote to raise their respective payments with the thought of making the purchase possible. Most of the townships paid $50 a year, while two townships paid $75 and two areas only paid $25 (the research didn’t reveal what areas paid how much amount). It was pointed out that the rural townships in Chambersburg and Carlisle paid upwards of $200 per year for rural fire protection. The Vigilant’s agreed at the meeting to pay half the purchase price of the rural engine.

Specifications for the pumper were to be a 1950 Seagrave with a 750 gallon-per-minute pump, 200 horse power motor, two ¾ inch 150 foot booster reels, two flood lights, two carbon dioxide extinguishers, two fog nozzles, one foam extinguisher and a 1,500 watt generator. The company decided against a cab or hood over the cab in order to save the $750 it would cost to purchase additional equipment.

The color of the new rural pumper was to be the same as decided upon recently for the new borough quad on order; the fenders and skirt to be painted red, with the body and hood finished in eggshell cream, trimmed in gold and black. The engine cost was $14,218.50.

On July 7, 1950 the Vigilant’s excepted delivery of the new engine just in time for the jubilee event being held by the C.V. Hose Company in conjunction with the dedication of their new firehouse. The engine responded to its first run and working fire on July 15, 1950 when a barn was destroyed at the J. Craig Fry residence, Shippensburg R. R. 3.

The engine replaced a 1931 Seagrave and became the company’s second rural pumper.

The Vigilant’s ran the engine until 1962 when a cracked engine block sidelined it. Faced with a $4,000 to $6,000 bill to repair the rig and having to constantly add water to keep the rig running it was decided to replace it. Seagrave took the engine as trade for $6,000 towards a new rural pumper. The company paid Seagrave $10.00 per month to rent the engine until their new on arrived but the motor didn’t last that long and a loaner engine was obtained from Media, Pa. until the new engine could arrive.

It is unknown what Seagrave did with the pumper after they got it.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

125-Year Old Conestoga Wagon And Other Equipment Lost In Fire

On October 21, 1980 at 5:50 p.m. firefighters were dispatched to Newburg R. D. 1 for a barn fire. A fire that started in the haymow destroyed a 40 X 70 foot barn. Lost in the fire were a 125-year-old Conestoga wagon, elevator, hay wagon, two calves and other machinery. Firefighters were able to save the silo, three outbuildings and the house. Almost 100 firefighters from four companies battled the blaze. Damages were estimated at $67,000. The Vigilant Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies assisted at the scene.

Okay, I thought about this one for some time and today is when I make the request. Very few people leave comments on this site and I can't force you to comment but what I can do is change the way you comment if need be. This is not the whacker fest central pa fire I have a mangina site. This is my Shippensburg Fire site. I hate anonymous postings, I am not referring to you that leave a name or close to it, I know who you are and you are not hiding anything. I mean the ones that are just plain anonymous, if you want to comment have balls, be proud, don't hide behind a skirt, if that is what you want to do then stay at the central whacker fest site with the rest of the firefighters on the net only. Yes I have been ragging for some time and it shows here, but that is also the way I feel. Four years, three months and 28 days until I get released from the mental institution I call work.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Storage Barn Destroyed In Greene Twp.

On October 20, 2003 at 12:54 p.m. Franklin County 911 alerted units to 5642 Lincoln Way East, Greene Township for a barn fire. A fire of undetermined origin destroyed a two-story 60-by-30 foot barn used for storage. Firefighters from six companies operated at the scene for three hours. One-firefighter suffered minor injuries. Damages were estimated at $40,000. The Vigilant Hose Company assisted at the scene. Earlier in the morning Shippensburg firefighters responded to the Walnut Bottom Road for an auto accident with entrapment and later in the day firefighters answered another mva to I-81 in Southampton Cumberland that killed two men.

The above photograph is of the West End Fire and Rescue Company circa 2002.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Barn Leveled In Upper Strasburg

On October 19, 1977 at 9:47 p.m. firefighters were dispatched to Upper Strasburg, Letterkenny Township for a barn fire. A fire of undetermined origin leveled a barn. Firefighters battled the blaze for over three hours. One firefighter suffered minor burns and was treated at the scene. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose and West End Fire and Rescue Companies assisted at the scene.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Stove Overheats Causing Fire

On October 18, 1950 in the morning hour’s firemen were sent to Shippensburg R. R. 2, Huckleberry Land for a house fire. An oil stove overheated and exploded causing a fire that destroyed an occupied frame dwelling. Firemen were unable to save the home and concentrated their efforts on the exposures. Damages were estimated at $2,000. Three people were displaced. The Vigilant Hose Company battled the blaze.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Washington House Destroyed By Fire

On October 17, 1998 at 4:13 a.m. firefighters were alerted to a building fire at 204 Lincoln Way East, Chambersburg the Washington House Restaurant & Bar. An early morning arson fire destroyed the top two floors of the 128-year-old four-story building. A restaurant and bar occupied the first floor. The second floor had two apartments and 13 hotel rooms all vacant at the time. The third and fourth floors were closed off. Almost 150 firefighters from four counties battled the multiple alarm fire before bringing it under control at 6:21 a.m. Units remained on the scene until after 4:00 p.m. Three firefighters were treated for minor injuries. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies assisted at the scene. Later in the day Shippensburg firefighter’s answered an auto accident in Hopewell Twp. and tires on fire on West Orange Street.