Saturday, July 12, 2008

$300,000 Fire Destroys Tire Business In Chambersburg

On July 12, 1948 at 1:35 p.m. Chambersburg firemen were dispatched to an explosion and building fire at Pryor Tire Service, 230 North Second Street. The explosion was caused by gasoline fumes in the basement of the Prior Tire and was followed by two smaller explosions. Buried under the basement of the business were three or four 1000-gallon gasoline tanks that were discovered to be leaking within recent weeks.

When firemen arrived thick black smoke was billowing into the sky and the intense heat kept them from getting close. In the early part of the fire they were hampered by a large crowd of spectators and mechanical troubles causing a shortage in water. The C.V. (Chambersburg) pumper suffered an air lock and the nearest fire hydrant broke. Flames quickly spread eastward igniting the Chambersburg Implement building. Feeding on the paints and varnish in the building the two story structure was soon ablaze and spreading into other parts of the business.

Firemen worked vigorously to control the blaze, additional lines were laid to other hydrants and four engines began drafting from a nearby stream. Apparatus and manpower was soon requested from other communities. At one point while Letterkenny firemen were soaking roofs to stop the fire the stream came into contact with electrical lines causing some of the men to receive a shock.

Firemen from eight companies worked for an hour and a half before bring the fire under control. In all five civilians were injured, one critically and two firemen were injured one being William Jones from Shippensburg. That night flames broke out six more times requiring firemen to return to the scene.

Pryor Tire Service was a complete loss suffering $100,000 in damage and Chambersburg Implement was heavily damaged suffering $200,000 in losses.

All five Chambersburg Fire companies answered the alarm along with three pieces and 26 men from Letterkenny, two engines from Greencastle and Shippensburg (the Chambersburg paper did not state which company from town responded and 1948 is the only year I have not finished researching from Shippensburg).


Anonymous said...


Iremember this fire. I was only 8years old but I remember the damamge and destruction at that location on N. Second Street. Dad took me up there shortly after the fire.


Bradley Myers said...

C.W. I spent a good part of the day with your buddy Steve A. today. We didn't tell any lies but we did have lots of stories, it was a good time.

That was a very large fire for then or today, four engines drafting at the same time, today's firefighters couldn't handle that.