Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Ringing of Fire Bells

The following article appeared in The Shippensburg News on June 3, 1910. The incident occurred on this date May 27, 1910.

Quite a commotion was raised on our streets about an hour before noon on Friday last, at which time the bell of the Cumberland Valley Hose Company sounded the usual fire alarm. Businessmen left their storerooms; merchants dropped hammers, planes, saws and brushes, teams dashed wildly through our streets, endangering life and limb. The members of the Vigilant Hose Company, hearing the alarm sounded, rushed for their hose house, thinking some neighbor’s or some citizen’s house was in danger. No one stopped to inquire whose it was; the only question being asked was, where is it? A large crowd of anxious citizen’s had gathered in the vicinity of the hose house, when it was learned there was no fire in anywhere excepting in the stoves where it was doing no damage and strictly necessary at that hour. Cloyd, the 4-year old son of Clarence Rhinehart, of Big Spring, who was in town with his father, had strayed away. Some one suggested the ringing of the fire bell. This we want to say is a great mistake. The fire bell should only be rung at times of fire, when the firemen’s services are actually needed. A few times like this and our faithful firemen will not know when to respond. We are well aware of the anxiety of a parent in cases of this kind, but the alarm should be made in some other manner. In this instance the lost boy was found in an alleyway a short distance from where he was stopping.


Sparky said...

This story is funny, but I guess back than it wasn't. It would have been neat to live back than to see the sounding of a fire call. Hey Brad did Ship fire have any horses??

Bradley Myers said...

None thast I ever found, there was times that the apparatus responded outside of town and were pulled by ox and other animals but they were supplied by someone else. I have found photos that show the rigs being pulled in parades by horses but they were not the companies horses.

Shippensburg was always behind the times with apparatus. Mainly because the boro would never purchase anything for them. The papers always compared them to Mechanicsburg (both about the same size, same population, two fire companies and railroad communities), they had two steamers pulled by horses, their combination wagons were also pulled by horses. Constantly the local papers asked for steamers but they were never purchased. Most hand pumpers were purchased without suctions and had to be fed by buckets, they alsways asked for suctions to be added but it took many years for that to happen.

Thamks to a cheap borough burgess and council Shippensburg missed out on better fire protection and an exciting part of the fire service and history.

Sparky said...

Thanks Brad

Anonymous said...

Awesome insight Brad. Often wondered that question myself.