Friday, March 14, 2008

Newville Theatre Destroyed In Accidental Fire

On March 14, 1952 at 6:50 p.m. firemen were sent to the Newville Theatre on High Street for a structure fire. A 150-watt floodlight that was being used to light the curtain prior to the performance of the “Blue Veil” set the curtain on fire destroying the theatre. Luckily at the time of the fire only eight patrons were in the theatre, all escaped unharmed. It was reported that had the blaze began 30 minutes later the theatre would have been full. The fire extended rapidly in the three story frame building bringing the largest mutual aid response up to that time to the borough. Firemen from six companies manning 10 pieces of apparatus battled the blaze for nearly two hours before bringing it under control. Strong winds blowing embers threatened the wood frame buildings surrounding the theatre. A pine tree two blocks away went up in flames after embers were blown into it. Firemen also extinguished fires on the roofs of numerous buildings. One civilian was injured and a Shippensburg fireman was injured after being struck by a brick when the roof collapsed. Firemen utilized four hydrants to fight the blaze. Damages were estimated at $35,000. The Vigilant Hose and Cumberland Valley Hose companies assisted at the scene. Prior to this fire the record for most companies and apparatus to fight a blaze in Newville was in 1935 at the Cove Alley fire.

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