Monday, June 29, 2009

Spontaneous Combustion Leads To Small Fire

On June 29, 1900 at about 10:30 p.m. the cry of fire was sounded. It was soon learned the location was on the lot of Jacob Koser. Some unslaked lime had been deposited in a store box but not covered very well. A slight rain passed over the town which moistened the lime and spontaneous combustion followed. It made quite an illumination, but a few buckets of water quenched the flames. The Vigilant Hose and Cumberland Valley Hose companies answered the alarm.

Update to post, I just found out that my first Battalion Chief Earl W. Reidell passed away this morning. Chief Reidell was a good man and Chief and someone that could be call a fiend. My thoughts and prayers are with the family in there time of need.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Lightning Strikes Barn

On June 28, 1940 just after noon lightning struck the John Plasterer barn at Shippensburg R.R. 3 sending firemen racing to the scene. The large barn 85 by 65 feet and three stories high was destroyed along with 16 loads of new hay and a number of small tools and a hog shed were all lost. Firemen were able to save all the other nearby buildings. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose Company battled the blaze.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Earl Street Apartment Building Damaged

On June 27, 1944 at 5:30 p.m. firemen responded to a building fire at 32-34 North Earl Street. Firemen arrived to find in a second floor rear apartment. Companies operated over two hours extinguishing the blaze and keeping it from spreading to all the tightly packed frame buildings in the area. Fire gutted the rear of the building with damages estimated at $1,000 to the structure, loss to furnishings was said to run very high. Considerable water damage was suffered in the apartment below the fire. The Vigilant Hose and Cumberland Valley Hose companies operated at the scene under the direction of borough chief Mont Witter.

Same problem, this post was scheduled for an hour and a half ago but was a no show this morning, I won't be able to check it everyday for awhile, so keep checking back when none appears.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Good Luck Chief Murray

I was having trouble finding an incident to report today and did not have the time to keep looking or post something else. Since Chief Murray has strong ties to the Shippensburg Fire Department and this is occurring today I decided to post it.

I am sad to announce that effective today Senior Deputy Fire Chief Tom Murray is retiring. Most of you Shippensburger's know Tommy, he started out as a Jr. member at the Vigilant Hose Company and spent time at WEFR before heading to Harrisburg to be a volunteer at the Mount Pleasant Station 8. Tommy hired on the Bureau of Fire on July 1979. I will not even try to mention all the platoons and companies he worked on, but when I came on the job he worked Wagon 4 "B" shift, moving to the Squad when ridiers were added in 1991, he left that position when he was promoted to Lieutenant. Chief Murray was then promoted to Captain and worked on "A" platoon before being promoted to Deputy Fire Chief. On June 1 of this year he was moved up to Senior Deputy Chief (2). Chief Murray moved back to Shippensburg in the 80's and became active again at the Viggies being Deputy Chief there for a few years. He then spent time at Fayetteville as an officer before moving back to Harrisburg.

The Bureau of Fire looses a great FIREMAN and officer. He is one of those guys I never expected to leave and can't imagine not being around. I for one will miss his presence and leadership as a Chief.

Congratulation Tommy, I hope you enjoy your retirement. Stop in for coffee and if you want to pop you can ride Tower 2 with me.

I seem to be having a problem with this site, my post are uploaded in advance so they appear in the mornings everyday. For some reason a few times over the last few weeks I have checked the site and found no post, like this morning. I then have to go to my dashboard and edit to make it show up. If you check the site and there is no post check back later. I may miss a few days here and there and over the next few weeks there will be days when I can't check the site at all. If a problem occurs I will get to it as soon as possible.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Barn Burns Near Newville

On June 24, 1981 at 6:30 p.m. firefighters were sent to a barn fire at the Leroy Martin residence, Newville R. D. 3. An accidental fire destroyed a barn, two automatic unloading wagons, one other wagon, a truck and a corn planter. Firefighters from four companies had the blaze under control in 30 minutes and left the scene by 9:00 p.m. Damages were estimated at $60,000. The Newville Fire Company, Upper Frankford Twp., West Pennsboro Twp. and an air wagon from the Cumberland Valley Hose Company battled the blaze.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Fire Damages Home

On June 23, 1940 at 10:45 a.m. firemen were alerted to a fire at the Charles Shields residence, 3 West Burd Street. Fire started in a refrigerator and burnt through the wall. A summer kitchen, on the outside of the wall and a bathroom and balcony above were also damaged. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose and Cumberland Valley Hose companies answered the alarm.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Lightning Strikes House

On June 22, 2001 at an unknown time firefighters were alerted to a house fire in the 9500 block of Possum Hollow Road. Firefighters arrived to find smoke showing from a 2 ½ story brick dwelling. Damages were estimated at $30,000. Little information on the incident appeared in the local papers. The Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies battled the blaze.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Barn And Contents Destroyed

On June 21, 1957 at 10:30 p.m. firemen were sent to the W. Bryan Morrow farm on Shippensburg R.R. 3 (near Mowersville) for a barn fire. Spontaneous combustion in a haymow caused a fire that destroyed the barn a forage harvester, two wagons, and one tractor with cultivators a hay blower, forage blower and two electric motors along with two haymows. When firemen arrived the barn was well involved and the roof already collapsed. A nearby building was smoking but firemen were able to save it and all the other surrounding buildings. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose Company answered the alarm.

Earlier in the day around noontime the Vigilant firemen extinguished a field fire near the Shippensburg airport. The C.V. community ambulance also answered on call during the day.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Dwelling Struck By Lightning

On June 20, 1907 between 9 and 10:00 p.m. the dwelling of Upton Funk, a short distance from the borough line, adjoining the Milk Condensing Plant was struck by lighting and burned. With the help of neighbors and family some of the possessions could be removed and saved. The fire companies responded late not knowing the blaze was close to town. Firemen laid a line from the nearest hydrant two blocks away and threw water but it was to late to save the building. The rain and calm night prevented any of the nearby exposures from burning. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose and Cumberland Valley Hose companies answered the alarm.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Sherman Hotel Burns

On June 19, 1960 at 9:20 p.m. an alarm of fire was turned in for the Sherman Hotel at the intersections of King and Earl Streets. Firemen arrived to find smoke and fire on the first floor and smoke billowing from the upper floors. Thick acrid smoke filled the interior hampering efforts of firemen to reach the seat of the blaze.

The fire started in the first floor kitchen bar area and spread upwards into a second floor kitchen. Both the kitchen and bar were gutted with heavy smoke, water and heat damage to the first and second floors and part of the third floor. Adjacent businesses Galen Gates and Son Men’s Shop, Pete’s Barbour Shop, LeRidge Beauty Salon, Gordon’s Women’s Store and Frank Ferarris plumbing company also suffered various degrees of smoke and water damage.

Fearing the blaze may spread beyond the Shippensburg Fire Department’s needs and the need for additional SCBA’s assistance was requested from neighboring communities. Firemen operated three hose lines and two booster lines on the fire. In all over 100 firemen from seven companies manning 15 rigs battled the blaze before gaining control around 10:30 p.m.

Borough Fire Chief Thomas Murray and Vigilant fireman Clarence Bigler both suffered smoke inhalation and were treated at the scene by the community ambulance along with several other firemen for minor cuts and burns.

James Regan, Pa. state police fire marshal, concluded ruled the fire accidental. He was unable to determine the exact cause of the blaze but stated that the fire started in the area in the rear of the bar. Damages were estimated at $50,000 and the building was torn down four years later.

The Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose, West End Fire and Rescue, Newburg-Hopewell, Franklin’s, Letterkenny and Carlisle (the article does not state which company, just that a rescue vehicle responded) battled the blaze.

The photograph shows the West Enders operating in the alley to the rear of the building with their engine and rescue.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tool Shed Destroyed

On June 18, 1952 shortly before 5 p.m. firemen rushed to Queen and Orange Streets for a tool shed fire. A spark from a welders torched caused the fire that destroyed the shed and its contents causing $800 in damage. The Vigilant Hose Company extinguished the blaze. The Cumberland Valley ambulance made two runs during the day.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Business Burns In Hopewell Twp.

On June 17, 1992 shortly before noon firefighters were dispatched to 85 Old Sawmill Road, Hopewell Township for a structure fire. Workers at the Bechtel Pallet Co. were burning scrap lumber close to a building when the broke for lunch leaving the fire unattended. The blaze spread to the main building destroying it and all the new machinery. Damages were estimated at $23,000 and 15 people were left without a job. Firefighters from seven companies worked for more than an hour to control the blaze. Firefighters from Newburg-Hopewell, Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose, West End Fire and Rescue, Pleasant Hall, South Newton and Upper Frankford Township fire companies answered the alarm.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

CV's Recieve 1949 Cadillac Ambulance...

The Cumberland Valley Hose Company accepted delivery of their new 1949 Cadillac Superior ambulance on this evening in 1949. The unit was purchased from Wolfington Body Company Inc. of Philadelphia. The total cost of the unit was $6889.55 less $5889.55 trade in allowance for the 1948 Cadillac ambulance plus $25.00 for chrome wheels bringing the total to $1,025.00. The unit was in service the next day and taken to it’s first parade two days later.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Fire Damages Mobile Home

On June 15, 1994 at 11:20 a.m. Franklin County 911 alerted companies to a mobile home fire at Lincoln Campsites Trailer Court, 10972 Redwood Avenue, Fannettsburg. A fire of undetermined origin that began under the home caused heavy damage and required firefighters from seven companies over one hour to extinguish. A damage estimate was not available. The Metal Twp., Fannett-Metal, Pleasant Hall, Hustontown, Shade Gap, St. Thomas Twp. and Cumberland Valley Hose companies answered the alarm.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Two Alarm Fire Destroys Market

On June 13, 1983 at 12:18 a.m. Franklin County 911 sent firefighters to Jim’s Country Market, 251 Grant Street for a structure fire. When firefighters arrived heavy flames were showing from the building, shortly after, three propane tanks exploded. Firefighters were able to protect four much larger propane tanks from becoming involved. The two-alarm fire completely destroyed the market originally built in the early 1900’s as a railroad station. Three firefighters were injured battling the blaze, two were treated and released from Chambersburg Hospital and one was admitted. Units remained on the scene until 7:30 a.m., a damage estimate and cause were not available. The Chambersburg Fire Department, Franklins’, Fayetteville, Letterkenny, New Franklin and the West End Fire and Rescue companies answered the alarm.

Today's post makes number 600 for this site.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Cumberland Valley Fire Company

The following two articles appeared in The Shippensburg News on June 12, 1886, they are reprinted here exactly as they appeared in the paper.

--The Cumberland Valley Fire Company with commendable enterprise have organized a cornet band from among their members. Mr. Frank Mowers will be the efficient leader.

--H. Frank Beidel, photographer, has a fine view of the Cumberland Valley Fire Company as it appeared on Democratic Day. There is some twenty-five figures in the group, and they are sharply defined.

The band photograph was more than likely taken later in the year, as the received their instruments in October 1886. The other photograph may be the one mentioned in the article but I cannot confirm it. The uniforms the company is wearing were purchased in 1886 and the hydrant was installed the same year, however there is only 21 firemen shown in the group.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Shed Destroyed In Pleasant Hall

On June 10, 1983 at 8:52 p.m. firefighters were alerted to a shed fire at 8159 Orrstown Road, Pleasant Hall. A fire of undetermined origin destroyed a 30 by 60 foot wood frame shed, its contents and two automobiles. Damages were estimated at $20,000. Apparatus from four companies battled to blaze for over one and a half hours. Firefighters from Pleasant Hall, Letterkenny, West End Fire and Rescue and the Vigilant Hose Company answered the alarm.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

4-Alarm Fire Burns Chambersburg House

On June 9, 2008 at 2:47 p.m. Franklin County 911 alerted a Chambersburg box to 690 Broad Street for a house fire. Children playing with sparklers started a fire on the back porch of a house. The flames quickly spread destroying the home and damaging another. With the extreme heat the blaze went to four alarms bringing over 100 firefighters to the scene from five counties and two states. At least 14 people were displaced. A minimum of 15 firefighters and as many as 25 to 30 firefighters were treated for heat and smoke related problems with three being transported to Chambersburg Hospital. Units remained on the scene for almost seven hours. The Chambersburg Fire Department, Pleasant Hall, Fannett-Metal, St. Thomas, Waynesboro, Marion, Mont Alto, Rescue of Greencastle, MMP&W, New Franklin, Fayetteville, Hagerstown, Buchannan Valley, Franklin’s, West End Fire and Rescue and the Cumberland Valley Hose companies answered the alarm (I am sure this is not a complete list of companies responding, just what the papers mentioned).

Today's photographs obviously do not go with the post. They come from an accident that occurred on this date in 1987 on the Roxbury Road at the intersection of North Fayette Street. The incident occurred at 2:07 p.m., one girl was transported to Hershey in serious condition and five others were transported to Chambersburg Hospital. The West End Fire and Rescue Company handled the incident with assistance from four ambulance companies.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Fireman Overcome In Garage Blaze

On June 8, 1933 in the evening hours firemen responded to a fire at the Clippinger and Wadel garage on North Fayette Street. When firemen arrived a truck was on fire in the garage rapidly extending into the loft. Firemen soon had several streams of water playing on the blaze before the blaze and gained control before it could do significant damage to the building.

On fireman Dana Porter, a C.V. Hose Company member, was overcome by smoke. Mr. Porter was one of three firemen on a hose line when he became overcome and fell face first onto the floor. When firemen discovered Porter his face was half submerged in water. He was treated at the scene by Dr. LeRoy Saxe and then taken home by the Cumberland Valley ambulance.

Damages were estimated at $2,000. The Vigilant Hose and Cumberland Valley Hose companies answered the alarm.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Engine 17 Dedicated To Jackson H. Gerhart

On June 7, 2008 Washington D.C. Engine Company 17 was dedicated in the memory of its longest serving member, the late Jackson H. Gerhart.

Jack was appointed to the job on February 3, 1963 and retired September 30, 1994. Jack spent most of his career driving Engine 17 at 1227 Monroe Street NW. Jackson was a mentor to many young firefighters and a decorated member of the DCFD. He was also active in Local 36 and served as secretary longer than any other individual.

Jackson was injured at a house fire in Chambersburg and died of his injuries on December 5, 2004.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

On A New Job

Last week I posted an article about the ringing of the Cumberland Valley fire bell, this one popped up on this date and since I was having problems finding an incident for the day I thought I would publish it. The article appeared in The Shippensburg Chronicle on June 8, 1911 and was referring to an incident that took place on this day June 6, 1911. The article is exactly as it appeared in the paper.

The old Vigilant Fire bell was aroused from its slumbers Tuesday morning very early, to do service in a new cause. Everybody in its vicinity was also awakened to enlist in the same cause and everybody was equally as ignorant as the bell as to what the cause was, for there certainly was no fire.

It developed in the course of time, that some one was supposed to be making a vigorous effort to rob the town’s bastile of some coveted possessions in the persons of three alleged chicken thieves.

A couple constables were guarding the lock-up and thought they saw some men prowling around the “jug,” and not knowing how many prowlers there were, rang the fire bell either to relieve their own nerves or to scare the rescuers away. Whatever the motive for ringing the bell some good citizens of Shippensburg finished the night some-what out of tune with the world in general.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Amberson Road Barn Burns

On June 5, 1991 at 2:01 p.m. firefighters were alerted to a barn fire at 20660 Amberson Road, Fannett Township. Upon arrival of the first units the barn was well involved and already falling to the ground. Firefighters concentrated their efforts on protecting nearby exposures. Lost in the blaze were several pieces of machinery and some crops. Damages were estimated at $10,000. About 60 firefighters from Fannett-Metal, Pleasant Hall, Letterkenny, Vigilant Hose, West End Fire and Rescue, Newburg-Hopewell, Shade Gap and Metal Townships battled the blaze. Fannett-Metal firefighters were called back later in the evening when some hay rekindled.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Stable Damaged By Fire

On June 4, 1930 at 6:00 p.m. firemen responded to a stable fire at the Kitzmiller property, King and Seneca Streets. Firemen responded promptly and had water flowing within four minutes after the call was made and the blaze under control in twenty minutes. Damages were estimated at $1,000. The Vigilant Hose and Cumberland Valley Hose companies answered the alarm.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Seasonal Home Burns To The Ground

On June 3, 1979 at 11:04 a.m. firefighters were dispatched to a house fire in the area of Cleversburg (sorry a better address was not given, I remember the call but can’t remember the road it was on). When Chief Myers arrived on the scene the building had already burnt to the ground and was only smoldering at the time. Chief Myers held one engine and tanker from the Viggies and placed all other units available. The seasonal home burnt sometime between 11 p.m. and 5:30 a.m. but was never reported. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose and South Newton Twp. fire companies responded.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Fire Guts Farmhouse

On June 2, 2005 at 1:53 a.m. firefighters responded to a house fire at 3419 Ritner Highway, West Pennsboro Twp. When firefighters arrived flames were showing from the roof and side 1 of the 2-½-story frame house. Almost 50 firefighters from nine companies battled the blaze and remained on the scene until nearly 7 a.m. Water had to be shuttles by tankers from the Oak Flat Elementary School to battle the blaze. A damage estimate was not listed but the family lost everything. The Friendship Hose (Newville), Penn Twp., South Newton, West Pennsboro, Upper Frankford, Cumberland Valley Hose, Vigilant Hose, West End Fire and Rescue and the Union of Carlisle answered the alarm.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Five Buildings Destroyed In Upper Strasburg

On June 1, 1930 at 1:30 p.m. a request for help was sent to Shippensburg for a fire in Upper Strasburg, Letterkenny Township. Shippensburg firemen made the run and had water flowing in 22 minutes. Despite the quick response a large stable, two chicken houses a hog pen and the spring house belonging to M.C. Frost were completely destroyed. Also lost in the blaze were 125 chickens and a Ford truck. Firemen were able to obtain water 50 feet away at the old Strasburg spring. Strong winds hampered firefighting efforts as large embers were carried over the eastern part of the village igniting rooftops. Local residents formed a bucket brigade to keep the flying embers in check. A request was also made for the Chambersburg Fire Department and the Good Wills sent a service truck but by the time it arrived the Shippensburg firemen had the flames subdued and their services were not needed. The fire was believed to have started when an oil stove in a chicken house fell over and ignited hay. Damages were estimated at $3,000. One fireman Augustus MaCleaf was injured when a hose got loose while firemen were backing away from a falling wall. The article never stated which Fire Company responded or if both responded, it referred to the Shippensburg Fire Department.