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.


Anonymous said...


I remember this day quite well. My wife and I was just married and this was the first Christmas togather as husband and wife. The turkey was just placed in the oven prior to the dispatch. What a way to spend the first Christmas.

Not real sure about the third picture or not, too many years has gone by.


wefr15 said...

I also remember this day quite well. Just had finished opening xmas presents with the family when the call came in. I ran thru the back yards and a caught Engine 15-1(73International) with Jeff Washinger riding officer, Dave Commerer driving and me in the jump seat. While Brad and E-252 were hitting it from the top side barn door Jeff and I made entry in the bottom side and chased two cows out and then stuck the nob of our 2" preconnect up thru the hay chute. Things were going good until we lost all water pressure and Dave Rohr (Deputy 15) came in and yelled for us to get out because the burning hay from the 2nd level had fallen down and burned thru our preconnect. We pulled out and a short time latter the whole back side of the barn collapsed into the barn yard.
By the time I got home the rest of the family had eaten Christmas Dinner but my Mom saved me a big plate. One of my more memorable Christmas's.

Btw Brad, I don't remember ever seeing pictures of this fire. Great job.

Cincy Bill

Kenny said...

Merry Christmas. I too remember this one. Dad, Haney, and I parked on 533 and rode back the lane on the "Magic Bus" (Rescue 52). Haney wasn't yet a member but went with us with his camera. Haney had a picture and a write up in his
12-21-07 blog.

Bradley Myers said...

Grizz, I was going by the way you were dressed, yellow pants, black coat and the black leather with the candy strip scotch-lite. I remember being at your apartment right after the wedding with Knoodle, yes I was one of the guilty ones.

Bill these photos were taken by Dr. Rea and given to me 10 to 15 years ago. There was other photos taken that day by Kevin Nehf, I have one of his framed and hanging on the wall that shows me on the deluge gun in the barn doors. Who knows there may be more.

Kenny I just went and checked it out, I remember it after seeing it, I even commented when he posted it. Like I said to Bill, I knew he took photos because I have one blown up and hanging in my office from the fire that I am in. Remember never do burn outs with the magic bus, the chief will make you ride in it while the tow truck pulls it back with the drive line dragging on the ground, LOL, remember that day?

Woody said...


In the 3rd photo, who's open cab is that?? I can't really tell the model or which company..

Good Photos..

Bradley Myers said...

Woody, the open cab engine was the South Newton Twp.'s Vol. Fire Co.'s (49), rig. It is a Ward Lafrance (don't remember the year off the top of my head), it was their first engine as Company 49. Just a few years before this they were still the Vigilant Station #2.

Sparky said...

I can remember this day. I just got a brand new pair of bunker pants for christmas and my mom was get lunch ready. My brother and I take off. I do have some pictures of this fire too.