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

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.