Friday, December 31, 2010

A New Post, And A Fire, Not A Shippensburg Fire But A Fire...




Wow! it really has been a long time since my last post. I want to thank the few of you that posted supportive comments on my last post and that went out and signed our petition, I guess there is about seven of you that remember the brotherhood. That is so very sad. Soon I will make a new post on what has happened in the last 25 days in Harrisburg. Lets just say it has been a crazy and busy time period.

An incident that occurred yesterday morning (12-30-10) prompted me to make a post today as I planned nothing more for today except for hockey, football and beer. Did I say beer?, I meant good old Porter beer and winter ale. After getting home a little late from work yesterday morning I was making breakfast when at 9:16 a.m. Cumberland County 911 toned out area companies for a reported garage fire at 160 Texaco Road in Silver Springs Township, Cumberland County. With Texaco Road being just behind the house I though I would get the camera out dust it off and see if it still worked. Looking out the back window at the header gave me all the incentive I needed and off I went. I arrived the same time as the incident commander and ahead of the fire apparatus. The photos go on a time line in order and as you can see the garage was well involved upon my arrival. It was a one and a half story block and frame two car unattached garage with one car inside. In photo two you can see when the springs left loose that held the door up allowing it to come down. This is just one of many dangers a firefighter faces on these types of calls along with flammable liquids, floor pits, pesticides and other items stored in the building. Photo three shows the lines man on the first in engine stretching an attack line to extinguish the blaze. I must say he did a very good job in deploying the line. In the last two photos he and his partner begin attacking the fire.

Within the next few days I will make another post on this fire with a few more photos and some video. And hopefully next week I will post about what has been going on in the city recently. With the show of support we received from this site compared to my photography site I do not know if or when this one will be back to regular postings.

For now I hope everyone out there had a safe and joyous Christmas and an equally safe and Happy New Year.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Help Save My Brothers...

I need to be very careful what I type in here to insure that I am not in the unemployment line also. For those of you that live in my area you already know what is going on since it has been the main attraction in the papers and news for the last 11 plus months. For those of you that do not live in my area then I will tell you that I have been a Harrisburg Pa fireman for more than 20 years know. Because of decisions NOT MADE BY THE FIREMEN the city finds itself in debt by almost $300 million dollars. It was decided that it would be fixed on the backs of the hard working firemen so effective January 1, 2011, 10 of my brothers will be laid off. These guys worked hard to get this job, passing numerous tests waiting long periods of time, completing a fire academy and most of all uprooting their families from their homes and moving them into the city as a condition of employment. They would also like to close the Paxton Station, the only one located in the high hazard downtown area. Our work schedule will also be changed to 24 hours on and 48 hours off raising our work week an additional 14 hours per week. Along with the downsizing to three platoons nine officers will be demoted. I would like to point out that the scheduling change is all in violation of our contract.

Please if you live in my area work, play, live or visit Harrisburg please sign our petition to attempt to stop this. Someone is in the Union Hall, 2048 Derry Street every evening from 4 to 7 p.m. and firefighters are out walking door to door in all neighborhoods, one can also be found online at http://www.saveharrisburg.com/. Feel free to write city hall and the local rag we call a news paper. Our men did not create this problem, in fact you will see none of our names on the documents to borrow all the money that put us here. I really do not see why we need to be the only ones to feel the pain when the FOP, ASCME, and managers in city hall do not miss a beat this holiday season.

Please do not believe everything you see and hear on the television, for some reason they all appear to be on the take. We have presented cold hard facts about just who did create this mess and why our overtime is so high along with many other items to channels 43, 27, 8, 21 and the bathroom wipe my ass with it Harrisburg Patriot but for some reason the never air or print any of it. Yet just this morning (SAT) channel ABC 27 Dennis Owens was quick to point out that we (HFD) were given a four year contract extension by Mayor Steven Reed before he left office tying the hands of Thompson and creating her more heartache. Why do they never mention that the other two unions were also given extensions or even that ours does not go into effect until January 1, 2013, so how is that effecting us now. I will not even go into the differences between the contracts and what the police get compared to us. But if you visit the cities web site the contracts are on there.

Because of my work schedule and other commitments and the lack of anyone looking or contributing other than Sparky this will be my last post for some time. I may post again sometime in the future so please stop back from time to time to check. By the way when I retire next week, next year or whenever it may be, I will be glad to set here and type away.


Thanks
Tired, pissed off, confused and just plain fed up, Brad, Union steward, Local 428 IAFF

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Fiery Crash Kills One


On December 4, 2009 at 7:57 a.m. Franklin County alerted a 15 box for a rescue local at the intersection of Mt. Rock Road and Possum Hollow Road, Southampton Franklin. Crews arrived to find three vehicles, a dump truck, van and passenger car involved with vehicles well involved and entrapment. The driver of the van died at the scene and the people in the other vehicles suffered minor injuries. The West End Fire and Rescue, Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose along with Shippensburg EMS answered the alarm.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Mt. Rock Road House Burns

On December 2, 1954 at 3 a.m. firemen were awakened from their slumbers for a house fire on the Mt. Rock Road for a . A fire of undetermined origin completely destroyed an occupied 2-½-story frame dwelling. The family was sound asleep and only escaped the blaze after hearing their pet dog barking. Firemen battled the blaze for over an hour and a half before bringing it under control. Damages were estimated at $7,000. The Vigilant Hose and Letterkenny Fire companies answered the alarm.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Firemen Battle Borough Blaze

On December 1, 1929 at 7:00 a.m. firemen were sent to 408 East King Street or a house fire. A fire started by overheated oil stove used to keep pipes from freezing caused heavy damage to an unoccupied 2-story frame house. The blaze spread rapidly and threatened another house and church before the firemen were able to bring it under control. Freezing temperatures hampered firefighting efforts. Damages were estimated at $1,200. The Vigilant Hose and Cumberland Valley Hose companies battled the blaze.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Jackson Gerhart

The last three years I posted jobs from 1909, 1989 and 1997 along with hat I will be posting today. I have no more major incidents to report for this date. On November 30, 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 post has been made every year since the blog started and will be continue as long as the site is up and running.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Borough House Damaged In Fire

On November 28, 1998 at 11:02 p.m. Cumberland County 911 dispatched firefighter to 314 N. Morris Street for a house fire. A short in an extension cord started a fire that did heavy damage to a 1-½ story brick house and displaced a family of five. Firefighters had the blaze under control in five to ten minutes. Two cats perished in the fire. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies answered the alarm along with personnel from Waynesboro and Marion that were covering WEFR's apparatus while they held their annual banquet.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Barn Burns On Olde Scotland Road

On November 27, 1983 at 4:44 p.m. units were sent to 4761 Olde Scotland Road for a barn fire. A fire of undetermined origin destroyed a barn and hay. The farm equipment was removed before the fire department arrived. Damages were estimated at $10,000. Firefighters were on the scene four hours. The Fayetteville, Franklin, New Franklin, Letterkenny and West End Fire and Rescue Company operated at the scene.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Kitchen Fire Damages Mobile Home

On November 26, 1973 in afternoon hours firemen were sent to Route 533 in Pleasant Hall for a mobile home fire. A fire that started in a kitchen of an occupied mobile home caused $10,000 damage. Firefighters were on the scene 1-½ hours. The Pleasant Hall and West End Fire and Rescue companies operated at the scene.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Metal Twp. Barn Destroyed

On November 25, 2004 (Thanksgiving Day) at 12:16 p.m. Franklin County alerted units to a barn fire at 1747 Creek Road, Metal Township, box 21-01. A fire of undetermined origin destroyed the barn and milking equipment. About 50 firefighter from 10 companies battled the blaze for nearly three hours. A damage estimate was not available. The Fannett-Metal, Metal Twp., Pleasant Hall, West End Fire and Rescue, St Thomas, Mercersburg, Shade Gap, McConnellsburg, Hustontown and Cumberland Valley Hose companies operated at the scene.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Firefighters Extinguish Fire In Southampton Franklin

On November 24, 2009 at 5:30 p.m. Franklin County 911 alerted units to a house fire in Box 15-1, 1768 Orrstown Road, Southampton Twp., Franklin County. Units arrived to find a two story frame dwelling with light smoke showing. A small fire was located in a second floor bedroom and was quickly contained with the use of a crosslay. The second floor suffered smoke damage and slight water damage occurred on the first and second floors. Two civilians were slightly injured and transported to Chambersburg Hospital. A damage estimate was not given. The West End Fire and Rescue, Cumberland Valley Hose, Vigilant Hose and Pleasant Hall Fire companies answered the alarm.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Careless Smoking Cause Fire

On November 23, 2002 at 1:46 a.m. firefighters were sent to 151 Gardner Drive, Shippensburg Mobile Estates for a fire. Smoking in bed caused a fire that did considerable damage to an occupied mobile home. About 35 firefighters had the blaze under control in 20 minutes and remained on the scene for almost two hours. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose, West End Fire and Rescue, Franklin County Air 10 and Newville fire companies battled the blaze.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Mountain Fire In Horse Valley

On November 22, 1990 (Thanksgiving Day) at 4:30 p.m. firefighters were dispatched to Horse Valley for a mountain fire. Approximately 75 firefighters from nine fire companies battled the hard to reach fire until almost 3 a.m. About 15 to 20 acres of state game lands burned more than a mile from the nearest dirt road. Firefighters were transported as far as they could on four-wheel drive vehicles before hiking in the final distance. No injuries were reported and a cause went undetermined. The Pleasant Hall, West End Fire and Rescue, Vigilant Hose, Fayetteville, Franklin, St. Thomas, Newburg-Hopewell, Fannett-Metal and Letterkenny fire companies answered the alarm.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Runaway Freight Cars Crash Into WMRR Train

On November 21, 1898 around 10 p.m. three Reading RR freight cars loaded with coal broke free and traveled down an incline before crashing into a Western Maryland freight train just beyond the Burd Street crossing. Upon impact the caboose was destroyed and came to rest on a flat car in front of it along with the first car loaded with coal. A burning stove in the caboose soon caused a fire that destroyed the three cars. An alarm of fire was sounded and within a few minutes firemen were on the street guided to the scene by the glow in the sky. The accident being located so close to the Branch Creek a bucket brigade was formed quickly and along with the Cumberland Valley Hose Company that attached their line to the plug at Moorhead's quickly had the blaze extinguished.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Local Companies Extinguish Journal Box

I have been having trouble this month coming up with some posts, it is compounded by the fact that from the end of September to the middle of November is spent traveling to photograph wildlife. When I posted the photos Dave sent I pitched the idea then of others sending photos or articles, if someone out there sent some in I would be able to skip less days. Being a railroad buff this was a neat article for me, the older people will know what these were but for you younger guys I guess you will just have to goggle it.

On November 20, 1968 at 2:20 a.m. KGD-556 sent firemen to Pinola next to the Baer Feed Supply for a journal box ablaze on a tank car. The Western Maryland Railroad dispatcher in Hagerstown, Md. contacted the Shippensburg Civil Defense room to alert them to the blaze. The tanker was uncoupled from the freight train and pushed to siding. It was never mentioned what the tank car was carrying. Damages were minor being confined to the oil soaked wicks according to WEFR Chief Crawford Wiestling. It took firemen about 30 minutes to control the stubborn blaze. The West End Fire and Rescue and Vigilant Hose companies answered the alarm of fire. The CV community ambulance also answered two calls for the day.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Fire Strikes Roxbury Road House

On November 19, 1990 at 2:20 p.m. firefighters were dispatched to a house fire at10877 Roxbury Road, Runshaw's Gun Shop. A blaze that began in a wall behind a wood stove quickly extended to the attic. Firefighters worked the fire for over one and a half hours. Damages were estimated at $15,000. The Pleasant Hall, Newburg-Hopewell, West End Fire and Rescue, Vigilant Hose and Cumberland Valley Hose companies operated at the scene.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thanks Again To Dave Myers...







I would like to thank Dave Myers for sending me some more photographs to post on the blog, without them I was going to skip this day since I was out of major incidents to report. These were taken by him at a fire on the Baltimore Road, Shippensburg Township on April 23, 1982. He passed along other photos of this fire that I posted on Friday October 22, 2010, click the date to be taken to them. Click this link to be taken to the post on the fire. I made mention earlier that Engine 152 the boro Bruco was on a plug at Queen and Walnut, after looking at these photographs I see it was at the plug at Queen and Garfield Streets. I think at that time the Vigilants carried 3,300 feet of LDH, it looks as if it was all used and that dual 3 inch lines had to be used to a manifold to supply the LDH going to Engine 352. I wouldn't want to have to pick up all that hose today. Remember clicking on the photos will make them get larger.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Unattended Cooking Causes Blaze

On November 17, 1973 at 4:30 p.m. firemen were sent to the Valley Trailer Court in Greenvillage for a trailer fire. A pan of grease on the stove started a fire that completely destroyed an occupied mobile home and damaged two others. Four people were displaced by the blaze. Damages were estimated at $10,000. The West End Fire and Rescue, Fayetteville, Franklin and Letterkenny fire companies answered the alarm. The CV community ambulance also made three runs for the day.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mobile Home Damages In Afternoon Blaze

On November 16, 1989 in the afternoon hours firefighters were sent to Newburg R. D. 1 for a mobile home fire. A faulty installed wood stove in the basement of a mobile home caused a fire that did heavy damage to the basement and a first floor bedroom. Damages were estimated at $7,000. The Newburg-Hopewell, Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies operated at the scene.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Nothing To Post Today...

I am out of runs and out of space fillers that are ready, I had today skipped and then I found this. Does anyone out there know that this site exist Shippensburg Area Emergency Medical Services. I didn't until recently surfing unto it. I remember the site they used to have that was linked to this blog but after it disappeared I deleted it. This one is now in the links to the right along with the three fire companies and Bill Strites WEFR site and two new ones I just added yesterday, the CCVFA and the FCFCA. Is there any others out there that I do not know about? If you have face book pages I do not know about those because I do not use face book, that's right I don''t want to be pestered by people I have not seen since school and did not want to see then. If you know of any others please post them in the comments so I may add them to the links on the right. I would like to have links on here for all the Cumberland and Franklin County Fire Company web sites but I do not want all those scrolling down the side if I can figure out how to make folders or do it a way that I like it then they will show up on here. Also later this week I have another day with nothing to post, Dave Myers was kind enough to send me some more photos that will be posted that day, I will ask here for the last time if any one else has any they want to see on here or anything to contribute it would be appreciated. This site can only be as good as the followers.

While I am here I will plug my other site, Bradley Myers Photography. It is a daily photography blog that I post to four times a week for any of you that have never been there. Most of the posts are wildlife like whitetails or elk but there is the occasional fire post from Shippensburg, Harrisburg or someplace close.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Barn Destroyed Near Leesburg

On November 14, 1922 at 11:00 p.m. firemen were sent to the Carrie Railing farm, tenanted by William Neff on the Walnut Bottom Road in the area of Leesburg for a barn fire. A fire of unknown origin destroyed a large barn, wagon shed and hog pen. Lost in the buildings were two calves, some machinery, all the corn crop, hay, fodder and straw. A damage estimate was not available. When the local fire companies arrived they were of little help because of the lack of water. The Vigilant Hose and Cumberland Valley Hose companies responded to the scene.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Shed Destroyed In Late Night Blaze

On November 13, 1968 at 12:30 a.m. firemen were sent to Shippensburg R. D. 1, Hopewell Twp. for a shed fire. A shed used for storage was destroyed in a fire of unknown origin. The building was well involved when the first fire apparatus arrived on the scene. A damage estimate was not available. The Newburg-Hopewell and Vigilant Hose companies operated at the scene. Earlier in the afternoon the three Shippensburg fire companies extinguished a chimney fire at 98B Locust Street, Shippensburg. The Cumberland Valley Community ambulance also made three runs for the day.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Basement Fire In Leesburg

On November 12, 1968 in the evening hours firemen responded to a reported house fire in Leesburg. A faulty furnace started a fire in the air duct that burned into the flooring. The house sustained smoke damage. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose Company answered the alarm. The Cumberland Valley Community ambulance made one run for the day.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Vacant Furniture Factory Burns

On November 11, 2005 at 1:45 a.m. firefighters were sent to Center Mills Road Aspers, Adams County for a building fire. A massive blaze destroyed a 121-year-old vacant furniture factory formerly operated by Keystone Furniture Company. Numerous exposures were threatened by the massive blaze but firefighters were able to keep the fire from spreading to them. No water was available and tankers had to be used to shuttle water to the scene. Firefighters were still on the scene the following morning. More than 400 firefighters from Adams, Cumberland, Franklin, York and Dauphin counties as well as Carroll and Frederick counties in Maryland responded to the five-alarm blaze. One firefighter was injured. A damage estimate was not available. The Aspers, Biglerville, Mt. Holly, Bendersville, Gettysburg and Vigilant Hose companies responded to the fire along with many others not mentioned in the articles.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Woods Fire Extends To House

On November 10, 2005 at 10:40 a.m. firefighters were alerted to a fire on the East Creek Road, Hopewell Township. A fire started in the woods and spread rapidly by strong winds extended to a home causing extensive damage before being brought under control. As the flames spread through the woods and threatened nearby corn fields farmers used their equipment to make a fire line and stop the spreading blaze. Firefighter from six companies operated on the scene for several hours. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose, Newburg-Hopewell, Newville, South Newton, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies operated at the scene.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Barn And Out Buildings Destroyed In Afternoon Fire

On November 9, 1930 in the afternoon hours firemen were sent to Mowersville for a barn fire. A fire of undetermined origin destroyed a barn, large hog pen, double chicken house and a pump house. Lost with the buildings was a Reo truck, four cows, one calf, two hogs, 70 to 100 chickens, crops and most of the farm machinery. The Vigilant's with the use of a chemical line were able to cave the silo while a bucket brigade was used to save the house and garage. Damages were estimated at $10,000. The Vigilant Hose Company battled the blaze.

Monday, November 8, 2010

One Injured In Garage Fire

On November 8, 2003 at 10:33 p.m. Franklin County 911 alerted units to a garage fire at 3800 block Letterkenny Road, Greene Township. A fire of undetermined origin destroyed a garage and threatened exposures. Firefighters from five companies had the blaze under control in 11 minutes. One civilian was injured. Units cleared the scene shortly after midnight. A damage estimate was not available. The Pleasant Hall, Letterkenny, Franklins, Vigilant Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies operated at the scene. Additional tankers were requested but cancelled while enroute.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Franklin County Communications Center Part 2

In June 1975 William Sturtavent was appointed Civil Defense Director of Franklin County. At this time most of the bugs had been worked out of the system and the only major problem was to keep the equipment operational and on line. In the summer of 1977 the Communications Center was moved to the second floor of the Chambersburg Trust Company Building due to the home being torn down to make way for a new court house where the communications center will be. Also at this time, due to the increased radio traffic, it was necessary to change the primary dispatch channel, which then gave the fire departments another fire ground channel.

February 1978 saw another change in directors with the appointment of Jere Gonder, a retired federal firefighter, as Civil Defense Director and Communications Director for Franklin County. After Franklin County was alerted and placed on standby for possible relocation of victims from T.M.I., everyone in the Civil Defense staff worked 24 hours a day for over a week, Mr. Gonder started making plans for a new communications center in the court house. January 1980 saw another change when the new communications center became operational. The new center was equipped with a Centracom Series I Console, 7 channel (high band) Med base, single channel police base, Veritech alarm panel and several other features new to Franklin County.

The winter of 1983 was long and cold, and with the increased workload it became necessary for the county commissioners to divide the positions of Emergency Management Agency Director and Communications Director. Robert Nye was then appointed Communications Director, and he set about the task of acquiring additional equipment to streamline the operation and additional personnel to handle the ever-increasing workload. In the summer of 1986 the commissioners agreed to staff the center from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. with two full time dispatchers. One man was still on from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. In January 1987 the center was staffed 24 hours per day with two dispatchers.

Due to poor communications in the southern end of the county, the commissioners approved $130,000 to purchase a Med 10 base, township, fire channel 1 and 3 and police 1 and 3 microwaves for a tower site located at Ft. Richie. This new tower site greatly enhanced the centers capability of communicating with units in the southern and of the county especially the Blue Ridge Summit and Mercersburg areas.

In 1977 the County Commissioners went on record supporting a county wide 911 communications system, and also appointed several emergency services personnel to study a 911 system with possible implementation. The 911 communications system became the focal point of several elections and in January 1988 after Gerald Flasher was appointed Communications Director under the direction of Phil Tarquino, Emergency Management Agency Director, 911 finally looks to be in the near future for Franklin County residents.

Mr. Flasher started in January 1988 to plan and design a new communications center that would accommodate a 911 system. On September 1, 1988 all the consoles, computers and other essential equipment was moved to a temporary location in the county E.O.C. where it was home for eight months. September 1st the commissioners placed an order for a Motorola Centracom Series II console costing $180,000. At the same time a contract was awarded for $45,000 to completely remodel the communications center which increased the operational area four times what it was. Construction was started on December 1st and was completed on February 14, 1989. The installation of the new consoles started on March 28, 1989 and on May 1 the new center went on line. Some of the features of the new center were a Dictaphone call check system, upgrade internal alarm system, Com Centrics phone system with automatic dialer's, phone patch system, new alerting tones that differentiate between medical, rescue and fire emergencies. The system is computer operated and offers streamlines dispatching that is almost infallible. Although the bugs are still being worked out at this time the commissioners, Mr. Flasher, the dispatchers and the public of Franklin County have a new communications center that would make any Comm. Center Director green with envy.

Presently plans and negotiations are under way with the United Telephone Company to install and implement a 911 system in Franklin County, which has proved to be invaluable to persons in need all over the country.

As stated yesterday this article is reprinted exactly as it appeared in the CVVFA convention book in 1989. I did not check to verify the facts. Eventually I should pull the books from 1989 to present and update this entry to the present. As with the photographs sent to me if anyone out there would like to type an article to be posted on this site just do so and send it to me, when a day comes around that I have nothing to post I would be more than happy to post it. Also if anyone out there has anything to add to this please leave it in the comment sections, there is a few of you out there that were around for this and have a first hand account that could shed some more light on the subject.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Basement Fire In Old Oakville School

On November 5, 2007 at 7:40 p.m. Cumberland County Headquarters alerted a 47 Box to the old Oakville School, 520 Oakville Road, North Newton Twp. for a building fire. Units arrived to find a small fire in the basement next to a wood stove extending up the wall and across the ceiling. Quick work with a line from Newville's engine contained the fire to the area of origin. Units remained on the scene for over an hour ventilating the building. A damage estimate was not available. I am not sure what units responded to the blaze but the Newville, Cumberland Valley Hose, Vigilant Hose, Newburg-Hopewell and South Newton Twp. fire companies answered the call.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Franklin County Communications Center Part 1

I am out of major incidents for this date so this is my space filler for today. A few weeks ago a couple of people alluded to the communications center in the Junior’s fire hall. I id not have the answers but found this printed in the 1989 CVVFA convention book. It was compiled by John E. Emmons and is reprinted in its entirety today and tomorrow.

In 1955 the Borough of Chambersburg saw a need for some type of communications between the apparatus on the scene of an emergency and a central dispatch center that was manned 24 hours per day. At this time the Borough purchased 10 single channel mobile radios and 5 portables for use by the fire department. The base station was placed in police headquarters where it was answered by the on duty officers, who would also call additional apparatus if needed. Then in 1957 after several confrontations with the police and fire department, a central dispatch center was established at the Junior Hose and Truck Company in Chambersburg, where a countywide fire phone was installed.

This center was manned by paid apparatus drivers from the Chambersburg Fire Department and volunteers from the Juniors. Even after this base was installed and operational most emergency calls still went to the individual fire stations.

In 1968 several county wide fire department officers, State Police, the sheriff and township supervisors felt that a central county wide communications center was needed in Franklin County. At this time negotiations were started with the County Commissioners and in January 1970 the Communications Center, under the direction of Crawford Wiestling went on line. The center was operational 24 hours per day, with three dispatchers working eight-hour shifts. The center had a two-channel low band radio for the 16 county fire companies, and a single channel low band radio for the 5 police departments. This system operated off of a 50-foot tower, which was located behind the courthouse, and after proving very ineffective was moved atop a water tank on Reservoir Hill in Chambersburg.

In 1970 after funding was secured from the county commissioners, the Penna. Civil Defense Agency, land was donated by a local businessman and a 60 foot tower was installed on the North mountain, eight miles north west of town. Even though there were still some spots in the county inaccessible to communications, this tower was a great advancement for the county. Also at this time due to a significant increase in radio traffic, a second channel was installed for the fire service, which was used for fire ground communications.

The summer of 1971 saw Tom Hawthorne take over the reins as the Civil Defense Director for Franklin County. As with the proceeding 3 years the next 4 years saw the communications center expand and improve to provide better service to the citizens of Franklin County. Due to several problems with communications in the county, a new 00 foot tower was installed on the north mountain, and at the same time radios were placed in the emergency rooms of both Chambersburg and Waynesboro Hospitals, for communications with incoming ambulances.

With the inception of the air medical service in Vietnam, it was decided that heliports were needed at the hospitals. Mr. Hawthorne had all materials donated by local businessmen, and the labor donated by C. D, 1ST Battalion, 103rd Armor Division of the Penna. National Guard, and the Mechanics Steam Fire Engine and Hose Co. No. 1 of Waynesboro. The National Guard constructed one for the Chambersburg Hospital and the Mechanics constructed one for the Waynesboro Hospital. At this time the air service was provided by the Pa. State Police based in Harrisburg. Also in the summer of 1971 the 15 townships in Franklin County were linked to the Communications Center via the airwaves, which over the last 18 years has proved to be a very valuable asset many times over.


To be continued.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Shed Destroyed In Blaze

On November 3, 1991 at 3:00 p.m. firefighters were sent to Mountain Road Upper Mifflin Township for a shed fire. A fire of undetermined origin completely destroyed a frame shed and its contents. A damage estimate was not available. No additional information was given. The Vigilant Hose, Newburg-Hopewell and Newville fire companies operated at the scene.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Chambersburg Fire Alarm System

Out of major incidents to report for this date I will stick with a subject I started on last month, the Chambersburg Fire Department.

A resolution authorizing a contract with the Gamewell Company for the installation of a fire alarm system in Chambersburg was passed by Borough Council October 3, 1904, and approved by the Burgess October 12, 1904.

This system was installed in 1904 and 1905, when eleven fire alarm boxes were placed at the following locations:

No. 123 at Second and Grant Streets
No. 124 at Philadelphia Avenue and Vine Streets
No. 23 at Third and Market Streets
No. 24 at Fifth and Market Streets
No. 25 at Memorial Square
No. 32 at Main and Washington Streets
No. 33 at Lincoln (now Derbyshire) and Fairground Avenue
No. 34 at Main and South Streets
No. 35 at Third and Washington Streets
No. 42 at Market and Hood Streets
No. 43 at Market and Federal Streets

Additional fire alarm boxes have been placed year to year in other locations until today (1944) there are sixty alarm boxes in the city. When the alarm system was first installed, there were indicators locating the box numbers in the Cumberland Valley and Good Will houses.

The first alarm of fire over the Gamewell system came in at 1:05 p.m. July 1, 1905, form Box No. 43. The fire was in a double house owned by Christian Burkhart and located in Gas Alley (now Burkhart Avenue).

The alarm was turned in by Preston B. White. Coming down the hill, the Friendship and Good Will reels traveled too fast, almost causing serious injury to several firemen. The Good Wills ran into a pole at Brant’s Hotel (now location of Mill’s Filling Station (1944)) and a man at the tongue had a narrow escape. After the fire was over, someone sent in a false alarm from Box 42 at Brant’s Hotel.

The following was taken from Backward Glances written by Philip Bietsch II in 1944. I will be using this book for more upcoming articles. Does anyone know when the boxes were removed from Chambersburg? I do not know if I have that information in my files.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Faulty Chimney Causes House Fire

On November 1, 1998 at 2:47 p.m. units were sent to 570 Newville Road, Hopewell-Twp. for a chimney fire with extension. A faulty chimney caused a fire that did extensive damage to an occupied 2-½-story house. The blaze was confined to the attic with water damage to the second floor. A damage estimate was not available. Units remained on the scene for about one hour. The Newburg-Hopewell, Newville, Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies operated at the scene. Earlier in the day at 5:38 a.m. the three Shippensburg companies answered an AFA at 3, Industrial Drive and returned for another AFA at 8:56 a.m.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Walnut Street Garage Burns

On October 31, 1976 at 9:09 p.m. Shippensburg firefighters were sent to 304 Walnut Street for a garage fire. A fire of undetermined origin destroyed a 1-½ story frame garage. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies battled the blaze.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Fire Damages Mobile Home

On October 30, 2007 at 5:25 p.m. firefighters were alerted to a mobile home fire at 30 Thompson Creek Drive, Southampton Cumberland, Box 252-01. The initial dispatch indicated possible trapped occupants. Units arrived to find everyone out of the home with smoke and fire showing and neighbors attacking the blaze with garden hoses. Firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze confining the fire to the outside with extension into the ceiling and roof. Firefighters remained on the scene for about two hours. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose, West End Fire and Rescue and South Newton Twp. fire companies answered the alarm.

Friday, October 29, 2010

More Photos From Dave

Today I have a couple more photos sent to me recently by Dave Myers. I only know what I can see about the photos so I will be guessing here. The first one is Danny Byers operating Engine 152, I do not know where it was taken or if it was a real fire or training but he has one cross lay flowing and two three inch lines coming off discharges. The second photo is John "Chet" Sommerville, setting in front of the Vigilant's. I can only assume that the Dalmatian belonged to Larry Kerns. Like I said a week or so ago if you like these and want to see more send me what you have and I will be glad to post them. They make life easier on me also when I am looking for something to post. Thanks again Dave.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Fire Apparatus

I am out of major incidents for this date so the following article is reprinted in its entirety from the Saturday October 28, 1854 edition of The Shippensburg News.

Fire Apparatus
The Town Council have recently had our Fire Engines repaired, and are now in first rate working order. We hope our Fire Companies will reorganize, as the season for fires is approaching.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Central Presbyterian Church Burns In Chambersburg

On October 27, 1938 in the morning hours firemen were sent to street box 25, the Central Presbyterian Church, on the square in Chambersburg for a fire. A blaze that started in the ceiling in the area of the chimney caused heavy damage to the interior and rood of the church. Most of the roof was burnt off the church but firemen were able to protect the 186-foot steeple and the bulk of the church itself although falling debris and water damaged much of the interior. First in firemen made their way into the auditorium where they found fire in the ceiling but flames quickly broke out in other parts of the ceiling forcing them to retreat. Less than 30 minutes after the Chambersburg companies arrived 10 streams of water were being played on the church and steeple. About 45 minutes into the incident help was summoned from Greencastle and shortly after Shippensburg was requested. At times the strong southern winds fanned the blaze over the National Bank building but it was spared damage. Firemen raced to the tops of nearby buildings to direct streams onto the steeple. Firemen began leaving the scene about 1 p.m. but two streams continued to play on the steeple until after 2 p.m., by 3 p.m. all fire companies had left the scene except for the Juniors who remained on the scene until 7 p.m., four of the company members kept a vigil all night to insure no flare ups occurred.

It took firemen over three hours to control the blaze. Damages were estimated at more than $50,000. The Friendship's, Juniors, Good Will, Cumberland Valley and Franklin's all of Chambersburg along with the Greencastle and the Cumberland Valley Hose of Shippensburg battled the blaze the blaze.


I have 5 or 6 real photos from this fire but I was not able to figure out which folder I have them in so when I find them I will post them and link back to this incident.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Shed Destroyed Near Roxbury

On October 26, 1968 at 2:15 p.m. firemen were sent to Orrstown R. D. 1 (near Roxbury) for a building fire. A fire of undetermined origin destroyed a large frame shed and damaged another. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose, Pleasant Hall and Newburg-Hopewell fire companies answered the alarm and remained on the scene about one and a half hours. The Cumberland Valley community ambulance made three runs for the day.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Hopewell Twp. Barn Burns


On October 25, 1983 at 5:32 a.m. firefighters were alerted to a barn fire on Fox Hill Road, Hopewell Township. A fire of suspicious origin destroyed a large barn, some machinery and 90 tons of hay. By the time firefighters arrived the barn was already well involved and nothing could be done to save the structure. Damages were estimated at $75,000. The Vigilant Hose, West End Fire and Rescue, Newburg-Hopewell, Pleasant Hall, Newville, South Newton and Letterkenny fire companies operated at the scene with about 50 firefighters. Before firefighters would leave the scene they were responding to another barn fire in Newburg (that post was made in 2008).

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Another Borough Stable Destroyed

On October 24, 1866 at an unknown time a fire of undetermined origin destroyed the stable of David Kenower’s located along Prince Street between the alley and Orange Street. The Vigilant Fire and Cumberland Valley Fire companies answered the alarm. Refer back to my October 19Th post for the reason that I have little information on this incident.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Baltimore Road Fire Photos


These photographs were sent to me by David Myers (Co.52), thanks Dave. These make for a great space filler when I am out of runs and do not have time to type new things in. If anyone else has any photos they would like to share like this feel free to send them to me and I will be more than happy to use them. This fire occurred in the Bowers house on the Baltimore Road April 23, 1982, I posted the incident on April 23, 2008, click this link to take you to the post. I do not remember the amount of LDH laid on this call but I think it was around 3,300 feet. If my memory is correct I think this is the only time the Vigilant's used all three of their engines in a relay, I think E152 was on the plug at Queen and Walnut Sts., E352 was at the bridge and E252 was at the scene. I do remember the call because I worked the midnight to 8 shift at Sheetz at the time and was working, I had to listen on my pager and watch all the apparatus go by. This bridge was also mentioned in a recent post on October 5, 2010 and referred to a fire that occurred on October 5, 1979 that call can be found by clicking this link.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Late Night Blaze Destroys House

On October 21, 1990 at 11:17 p.m. firefighters were dispatched to a house fire at 6974 Sunset Road Lurgan Township. A wood-burning stove started a fire that caused heavy damage to an occupied 2-½-story frame house. Firefighters from six companies battled the blaze for 30 minutes before bring it under control and remained on the scene until about 3 a.m. Damages were estimated at $75,000. The Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose, West End Fire and Rescue, Newburg-Hopewell, Pleasant Hall and South Newton Twp. fire companies operated at the scene.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Last Of The Juniors Posts...


This is my last post on the Juniors, I don't think anyone got bored with it. If they did they did not speak up only the ones that liked it did. These photographs were taken in the early 1900's at a parade just off the square in Chambersburg. What a time it must have been seeing many firemen marching in line and drilling during the parade along with fire apparatus that had a flavor to them unlike today's big box style rigs. Wouldn't it be great to go back in time just for a day or two to experience this?

I started yesterday to make a new post to vent on happenings in the city in the wake of the fatal fire we worked Monday night that took the lives of four children and an adult but deleted the post before hitting publish. I still may in the near future but because of my anger towards the comments from the city spokesman about us the same day and the chief and mayor wanting to lay some of us off and close stations I didn't think I could type anything that would allow me to keep my job. So for now I won't be a nasty individual like the mayor said I was and take the high road (someone in the city needs to). I feel a little better just posting this.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Borough Stable Destroyed

On October 19, 1866 fire destroyed a stable on the Joseph Mahon property in the borough of Shippensburg. The time of alarm, origin and dollars loss are not know. The Vigilant Fire and Cumberland Valley Fire companies answered the alarm of fire. Fires and information on the Shippensburg fire service is scarce for the years 1863 to 1866 because of the Civil War and the fact that no Shippensburg news papers are available for those years. All information I have on the department for those years came from other news papers and council's minutes.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Mainsville House Burns

On October 18, 1967 in the evening hours, firemen were sent to Shippensburg R. D. 2, just northeast of Mainsville for a house fire. A fire believed caused by lightning or an electrical short gutted a vacant 2-½-story brick house. It took firefighters from four fire companies three hours to extinguish the fire. Damages were estimated at $15,000. The Vigilant Hose, West End Fire and Rescue, Fayetteville and Newburg-Hopewell fire companies answered the alarm.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Former Borough fire chief enjoys Florida

I am out of incidents for this date so the following article that appeared in the October 17, 1975 edition of the News Chronicle is reprinted here in it's entirety.

A year ago Bob Jones was Borough fire chief in Shippensburg.

Last December, Bob left the Cumberland Valley to become fire coordinator in the county which surrounds St. Augustine, Fla.

Now he has received statewide recognition for the outstanding job he has done improving the fire protection of the rural areas of St. Augustine.

The biggest problem faced when he arrived was a shortage of money to purchase fire equipment. Some of the rural companies had only $200 a year to spend on equipment. Through the use of revenue sharing and the institution of a half-mill tax, Bob has upped the income of his county-wide system to over $200,000 for the next year, and has doubled the number of stations serving the county.

The county-wide system, which is run totally by volunteer help, has been modernized so that fire stations are evenly spaced and each station will act as a back-up unit for neighboring stations which have responded to a fire.

All of this is a lot of activity for one year's work but Bob has not confined himself to administration. He has also branched out into education as well.

Last May, the St. Augustine Technical Center introduced a new fire science school, which was pushed by Bob into becoming a huge successes. The school is certified by the Florida State Fire Standards Council and offers everything from a basic 30-hour course for volunteers to a 200-hour course for professional firefighters.

There is no law requiring such training, but since the school opened, 160 of the county's 200 volunteers, who are under Bob's direction, have taken the basic course.

Another 16 firefighters have enrolled in the course in officer's training, 18 are taking forestry fire fighting, and another 14 are taking radiological monitoring.

Upcoming courses include a seminar in arson detection. About 309 men and women have also taken the certification course to become paid firefighters.

Bob Jones served with the Shippensburg volunteer fire companies for 31 years, and was Borough fire chief for over five years of that time.

He worked for the Pennsylvania Power and Light Company for 28 years, and sold fire equipment for 22 years.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Wrapping Up The Junior's...



I am wrapping up my post on the Juniors of Chambersburg. All the apparatus have been posted along with the written history so now I am just posting a few random photographs that I find interesting. The first is the company's buildings as it appeared a few years ago followed by the interior of the building showing the Ward LaFrance with the gamewell system in in background. The last photo is the station decorated more than likely for the CVVFA convention in 1950.

I have one more post featuring two photographs from the Juniors before I am finished with the subject. Now to figure out what to fill space with in the future when I have no calls to post.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Trailer Destroyed In Morning Blaze

On October 14, 1975 at 10:28 a.m. firemen were dispatched to a mobile home fire on the Orrstown Road (next to KADE auction). A fire of undetermined origin completely destroyed an occupied mobile home leaving two people displaced. A damage estimate was not available. The West End Fire and Rescue, Vigilant Hose and Pleasant Hall fire companies battled the blaze.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Multiple Buildings Burn In Leesburg

On October 13, 1931 in the morning hours firemen were sent to Lees Cross Roads for a building fire. A chicken house and hog pen was destroyed in a fire believed to have been incendiary in origin. Local fireman Beattie Watson noticed the blaze while driving through the village and awakened residents before contacting the C.V.'s, they arrived within 20 minutes. Damages were estimated at several hundred dollars. The Cumberland Valley Hose Company battled the blaze.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Chief Wiestling Resigns To Accept New Job

On October 12, 1977 W.E.F.R. Chief Crawford Wiestling’s resignation was effective this day. Crawford resigned because he was hired as a fire investigator with a Minneapolis law firm. Herb Cassidy was appointed to finish out the term of chief and Jeff Washinger moved into the assistant fire chiefs position.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Fire At Peerless Plant Kills One Worker

On October 11, 1922 at 11:45 a.m. firemen were sent to the Peerless Table Works on Lurgan Avenue for a fire in the building. A bucket filled with coach painter’s oil caught on fire and was then spilled. Two employees were burned one jumped from a second floor window to the ground below before other workers were able to extinguish him. He died the following day. Plant employees had the fire extinguished using factory fire extinguishing apparatus prior to the arrival of local firemen. The Vigilant Hose and Cumberland Valley Hose companies answered the alarm.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

3RD Anniversary

I had nothing prepared for today and I am out of working incidents for this date but when I realized that it was the 3RD anniversary of the blog I didn't want to miss today's post. It is hard to believe that I have been at this now for three years, with today's post this is number 1,044. It has not gotten easier as the years past by, it has gotten harder for the days that I am out of incidents. Those days are coming around more often yet there is still days that I can post another 15 to 20 years without running out of major incidents. As long as people keep looking I will keep posting, here is to another three years.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

More Junior Apparatus...



Progressing through the Junior's fire apparatus the 1965 Pirsch pumper was replaced in 1977 with a 1977 Pierce/Hendrickson 1250 gpm engine. In 1998 the 1975 Pierce/Hendrickson LTI ladder truck was replaced with a 1998 E-One 95 foot ladder tower that is presently still in service. In 2004 the Pierce engine shown here was replaced with a 2004 Pierce enforcer engine that is also still in service. With this post that takes you through the history of the Junior Hose & Truck Company No. 2. With the exception of a couple of hand drawn rigs everything has been posted here in photos. I still plan two more post with miscellaneous photographs from the company in the next couple of weeks.

Friday, October 8, 2010

One Killed, 6 Injured In Two Car Accident

On October 8, 1977 at 3:00 a.m. firefighters were sent to Rt. 696 one mile North of Shippensburg for a serious auto accident. Two cars were involved in a head on collision killing one passenger at the scene and sending 10 people to the hospital, six of which were injured. The Vigilant Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies worked the incident. Firefighters also responded to a working mobile home fire in the afternoon but that is a post for another year.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Barn Fire In Hopewell Twp.

On October 7, 1994 at 9:57 p.m. firefighters were dispatched to 425 Enola Lane, Hopewell Township for a barn fire. A fire of undetermined origin destroyed a barn and its contents. Firefighters from seven companies were on the scene for three hours. Damages were estimated at $20,000. The Newburg-Hopewell, Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose, West End Fire and Rescue, Newville, Pleasant Hall and Fannett-Metal companies operated at the scene.

Sorry guys I have been away again chasing whitetails, if there were any questions or comments that I need to get to I will do so tonight. By the way if you didn't know it I have another blog, one that I post photographs to. Most of the photos are wildlife and recently I have been photographing the elk rut and this week checking out the deer before they rut next month. Check them out, they can be found here.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Juniors Engines


If is seems like with this post that I am jumping around it is because I did. The hand engine should have been the first rig photo I posted but it didn't work out that way. The hand engine was first purchased in 1855 for the Friendship Fire Company No 1 Chambersburg and was used by them until 1869 when it was placed out of service. In 1872 the Borough of Chambersburg transferred the hand tub to the newly formed Junior's, this was their first engine. The rig was in service until 1882 when like many Franklin and Cumberland County rigs it stayed local and was sold to the McConnelsburg Fire Company (does anyone know if they still have it?). The first photograph shows three generation of Junior's engines, from left to right the 1977 Pierce, 1965 Peter Pirsch and the 1936 Ward LaFrance. One more installment coming on the Junior's to get you up to the present.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Unoccupied House Burns On Whitmer Road

On October 5, 1979 at 1:33 a.m. firefighters responded to a house fire on the Whitmer Road. A fire of undetermined origin destroyed an unoccupied 24 X 24 foot one story house. Strong winds fanning the flames and fire apparatus having to take a longer route because they were unable to cross the Baltimore bridge contributed the house being a total loss. This was the first fire in that area since the local fire departments quit crossing the bridge in August because of the 12 ton weight limit. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose, South Newton Twp. and West End Fire and Rescue companies answered the alarm.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Junior Hose & Truck Apparatus Continued



In my last installment on the Juniors apparatus I left you with the Ward LaFrance and Peter Pirsch ladder truck purchases. The first photograph is the 1965 Peter Pirsch engine that replaced the Ward LaFrance service truck. The second photograph is that rig along with the 1940 Peter Pirsch ladder truck in front of the company's quarters after it received its new 1967 Peter Pirsch cab. The last photograph is the 1975 Pierce-LTI truck that replaced the Pirsch tiller truck. If you came into the middle of the Juniors post go back over the past two weeks to read additional details on these rigs.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Lightning Strikes Upper Mifflin Barn

On October 3, 1979 at 12:37 a.m. firefighters were dispatched to a barn fire on Lay Road, Upper Mifflin Township. Lightning struck a barn causing it to burn to the ground. Approximately 90 firefighters fought the blaze for seven hours. Two thunderstorms rolled through the area while firefighters were battling the blaze. Damages were estimated at $90,000. The Newville, Newburg-Hopewell, Upper Frankford, Empire, Vigilant Hose and Cumberland Valley Hose companies operated at the scene.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Stable And Warehouse Destroyed

On October 1, 1867 in the morning hours fire house bells alerted the citizens to a fire in the rear of East Main Street. Fire started in the stable on the Criswell property and extended to his warehouse. Both hand engines were quickly on the scene throwing water but the buildings were to far gone and efforts were made to protect exposures and keep the fire from spreading. Both buildings were destroyed along with another stable. The Shippensburg News building was scorched and a roof was burnt on a home after embers landed on it. The fire was ruled arson and a former employee of Criswell was arrested for starting the blaze. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Fire and Cumberland Valley Fire companies answered the alarm.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Junior Hose & Truck Replaces Their Seagraves



A few days ago I published the first motorized apparatus of the Junior Hose & Truck Company, today's post is the apparatus that replaced those rigs. The second photograph is the 1936 Ward LaFrance service truck. The last photograph is the 1940 Peter Pirsch 85 foot ladder truck. If you have not read the two part post on the history of the company go back and do so for more information on the apparatus photographs I am posting. Remember clicking on the photographs will open them up in a new window for a larger image.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Lurgan Twp. Home Destroyed

On September 29, 1981 at 5:15 a.m. firefighters were dispatched to 16352 Cumberland Highway for a house fire. A fire of unknown origin destroyed an occupied mobile home with an addition built on. When firefighter arrived one end of the home was well involved with numerous nearby exposures. Firefighters concentrated their efforts initially on protecting the barn that was scorched by radiant heat. Damages were estimated at $40,000. Approximately 50 firefighters were on the scene with the last ones leaving at 10 a.m. The Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose, Newburg-Hopewell, Pleasant Hall, Letterkenny, and Newville fire companies assisted at the scene.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Firefighters From Seven Counties Battle Tire Fire

On September 28, 1996 at 9:35 p.m. units from Shippensburg and Walnut Bottom were sent to the Juniata County Tire Recycling plant to assist at a tire pile fire. The incident came in on September 27 around 6 a.m. and more than 20 fire companies from seven counties including a crash truck from Harrisburg International airport and the Department of Environmental Protection agency battled the blaze. The fire involved a 100 X 200 foot pile of tires that burnt for days. The Vigilant Hose, Pleasant Hall and South Newton Twp. fire companies assisted at the scene along with fire apparatus from at least 18 other fire companies.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Junior Hose & Truck Motorizes



Last week when I posted the history of the Junior Hose & Truck Company I said when space is available I would publish photographs of their apparatus. Well space became available for the first set of motorized photos. There may have been working incidents for some of the dates that I do not post but I have not even begun to type in the last four years and some of the earlier years. The Juniors photos will be spread out over a number of post and I will go in order starting with the motorized. The chemical wagon has already been posted and I will come back to the hand drawn rigs.

The first photo is of the two new motorized rigs setting in front of the company's quarters. The second photograph is the 1917 Seagrave combination chemical and hose wagon followed by the 1917 Seagrave 65 foot ladder truck. These rigs do not look yellow to me but sometimes old black and white photos are deceiving. A fine example of that would be the black and white photograph of the Cumberland Valley's ward, it does not look like it should have been brown and tan. The next post of the Juniors will take us to the replacement of these rigs.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Birds Nest In Chimney Starts House Fire

On September 26, 2002 at 4:18 p.m. firefighters were sent to a building fire in the 600 block Mt. Rock Road, Southampton Franklin. A bird’s nest in a flue caused a fire that did extensive damage to the loft of a 1-½ story block garage. Damages were estimated at $5,000. The Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose, West End Fire and Rescue, Fayetteville and Pleasant Hall fire companies answered the alarm.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Arson Fire Strikes King Street Service Center

On September 25, 2000 at 1:03 a.m. Cumberland County 911 alerted Task Force 4 to a structure fire at 500 East King Street. An arson fire caused $20,000 damage to D & L Gulf. The fire was set in the rear and extended inside. Firefighters were on the scene in four minutes and had the blaze under control in 10 minutes. A suspect was arrested later in the morning. Almost 50 firefighters responded to the call and remained on the scene until 4:30 a.m. The Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies answered the alarm. Later in the day the Vigilant's and WEFR responded to an auto accident at the intersection of Richard Avenue and Prince Streets.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Junior Hose & Truck Company Continued

In 1917 the chemical engine was sold to the community of Scotland and the company received its first motorized equipment. This consisted of two pieces of apparatus, a Seagrave combination chemical and hose wagon and a Seagrave ladder truck with a 65 foot aerial ladder. Painted yellow with black and gold trim in the hands of the Juniors they provided excellent service until they were replaced.

In 1936 a Ward LaFrance service truck was purchased and placed in service. This unit was equipped with a 200 GPM Northern fire pump and a 3000 watt DC electric generator both operating off the power take off. It was equipped with three floodlights and two power cable reels each carrying 300 feet of electric wire and junction box. A booster reel with 300 feet of 3/4-inch hose, enough to reach the roof of the Chambersburg Trust Company (the tallest structure in town), a 200 gallon water tank, 2 1/2-inch and 1 1/2-inch hose (a Chambersburg Fire Department first) and standard equipment complimented this unique apparatus for the Borough Fire Department. Continuing the tradition of yellow apparatus with gold leaf lettering and trim this truck was equipped with a Buckeye exhaust whistle and Mars figure-of-eight warning light. This is the only piece of Chambersburg motor fire apparatus that never had a siren. The service truck answered all box alarms in the Borough and in the Juniors silent district. Stewart H. "Picky" Rossman paid driver of the service truck was a legend of his time. At the stroke of the Gamewell bell he would often start the truck and leave the station before the indicator would display the box number. When asked how he knew the location of the alarm, he said he had all the box locations memorized and would count the strikes of the station bell in quarters and the City Hall bell, which struck simultaneously, when on the street.

In 1940, a Peter Pirsch 85 foot aerial ladder truck was purchased by the Borough, fully equipped as provided by the National Board of Fire Underwriters at a cost of $16,000, replacing the Seagrave truck. Both of the Seagrave chemical and hose wagon and the ladder truck ended up in the scrap drive during the war.

A 1000 GPM Peter Pirsch pumper, cab forward in design, was placed in service in 1965. This pumper had pre-connected 1 1/2-inch hose lines, front suction intake with pre-connected soft suction hose, power generator, and split supply line hose beds. In 1977 a Pierce 1250 GPM diesel powered pumper replaced the Pirsch which now would be used as a second line engine until sold to Dave's Towing Service in 1994.

On Saturday, June 17, 1972, the Junior Hose & Truck Company No. 2 proudly celebrated its 100th anniversary in the form of a banquet held at Wilson College.

In 1975 the Junior Fire Station at 31 North Second Street, operating since 1884 was closed and the Junior Hose & Truck Company No. 2 and the Cumberland Valley Hose Company No. 5 relocated together retaining identities in a new Headquarters Fire Station at 130 North Second Street which also housed the office of the Borough Fire Chief.

In 1975 a Pierce-LTI 85 foot ladder/tower truck was purchased by the Borough and the Pirsch aerial sold by the Borough to the Franklin Fire Company for $1.00. This truck provided service to the rural areas covered by the Franklin's and as a second truck when needed by the Borough. This truck is now privately owned by Richard Bowman (I believe this is still true).

The Juniors, Ward LaFrance service truck traded in to the Pirsch Company in 1965 and later sold by them was found in a collectors barn in mid-state Pennsylvania in 1985. The Juniors purchased the Ward LaFrance and completely restored the truck and placed it in the Chambersburg Fire Museum. This apparatus is used at parades and fire prevention activities.

This month as the Juniors celebrate their 125th anniversary an apparatus change once again is in the making. Borough Council has received bids for a new ladder truck following the recommendations of the fire chief and apparatus committee members.

On this occasion it is fitting and proper that the former officers, members, and paid drivers assigned to the Junior station over the years be commended in recognition of their outstanding contributions of loyal and dedicated public service, high standards and untiring efforts to the resident of the Borough of Chambersburg and the Chambersburg Fire Department.

Jackson wrote this history and presented it to the company as a guest speaker at the 125th anniversary banquet. I have not completely researched this company but what I have found backs up what Jackson has written. Knowing Jackson's commitment to detail I truly believe everything written here to be fact. In coming weeks as space becomes available I will scan and publish the photographs of the Juniors apparatus and fire station.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

History of the Junior Hose & Truck Company No. 2 Chambersburg

The following was written by the late Jackson H. Gerhart and presented to the company at their 125Th anniversary banquet held at the AMVETS on June 28, 1997. This will be broken into two parts over the next two days since I seem to be out of major incidents for these days.

During the 1860's and early 1870's, it was the custom of the Friendship Fire Company (the only active fire company in town at that time) to hold practice sessions at the Market House, using water from the cistern there. This attracted many boys of the town whose ambition was to become members of the Friendships someday. The suggestion was made at one practice that a boy's company be formed. Consequently a meeting was called in the Market House presided over by Captain John C. Gerbig, who was then fire Marshall of the town, and the company was formed. Captain Gerbig, was given the honors as father of the Junior Fire Company.

The company adopted the name Friendship Juniors and was recognized and sanctioned by the Borough Council on June 13, 1872. The first equipment of the company was the 1885 little red suction engine and a old reel with 400 feet of dilapidated hose, and old equipment belonging to the Friendships. This equipment was housed in the Market House and they held their meetings in the Friendship Fire House on South Second Street. Later, through the efforts of Captain Gerbig, quarters were secured in a small one-story frame building which stood on the site later occupied by the Rosedale Theatre building.

According to the minutes of a meeting held on December 9, 1874, the company changed its name to Centennial Juniors. In 1879 the company reorganized and started to hold its meetings on the third floor of the Wlfinger Building (later Newberry's) on Memorial Square. It was in this year also that the company wore its first uniforms on a trip to Frederick, Maryland. The company under Captain George Pennsinger is credited with being the first fire company ever to drill, as a company, in the line of parade. The uniforms were of black trousers, blue firemen's shirt with a J on the front, white leather belts and a small blue hat.

In 1882 the Juniors, in conjunction with the Vigilant Hook and Ladder Company, asked Borough Council for a new firehouse that would house both companies. On June 4, 1883, Council awarded a contract to the C.E. Evans Construction Company for the erection of a frame building on North Second Street. However, as a result of much agitation from the neighborhood, this was changed to a brick structure the next month. Upon its completion, the Vigilant's occupied the North side and the Juniors the South side. Dedication ceremonies were held in 1884.

In 1882 the little red suction engine was sold to McConnellsburg. This left the company with only the four-wheeled hose cart which it used until Borough Council replaced it with a two-wheeled hose reel and new hose in September 1886, the only apparatus of the Juniors for many years. In 1887 the company became officially known as the Junior Fire Company No. 2.

Friday, July 12, 1897 meetings were held by the Junior and Vigilant's. The Juniors met in the Council Hall and the Vigilant's met in the Friendship Fire Hall next door. During these meetings, the Vigilant's sent a committee and a official communications to the Juniors suggesting the idea of consolidation of the two companies and asked for terms. The negotiations were entered into and the two companies merged under the name Junior Hose & Truck Company No. 2. Incorporation took place March 29, 1898.

In January 1901 a committee from the Juniors appeared before the Borough Council reporting their apparatus in bad condition and asked that Council purchase them a new chemical engine, but if the Council could not afford one, that a four wheeled reel with a platform in front to carry extinguishers be purchased for the company. The Council appointed members to inspect the Juniors equipment and report. In March 1903 the Juniors appeared again before the Borough Council to petition a new chemical truck. In May 1903 the Council purchased a new Holloway chemical engine for the Juniors which arrived in Chambersburg by train along with a new LaFrance Streamer for the Cumberland Valley Hose Company (the Holloway wagon was posted on this site last week). On Monday, October 19, 1903 the chemical wagon was demonstrated and tested at the show field on South Second Street and formally accepted by Council at their meeting the following night.

The Public Opinion states in an article February 12, 1904 that a recent fire demonstrated the fact that the Juniors chemical engine, "the one which should be first on the scene, is absolutely worthless without horses to draw it". Later in 1904 Council purchased a horse team for the chemical engine and erected a stable at the North Second Street quarters. The team of famous black horses "Doc" and "Derby", named after prominent members of the fire company, were only three or four years old when bought and remained in service until 1917 when the company motorized. This team, it was said, had a unerring instinct for getting to a fire over the shortest possible route. It is reported that an alarm one night they were driven out of the firehouse, whereupon they turned right on Second Street at a gallop. Upon arriving at the fire, everyone wanted to know how they had made the run to the South end of town in such a short time. The driver, Walter Klipp, (also picture along with the two horses last week) somewhat surprised, answered that they had driven South Second Street. No one would believe him since South Second Street was closed off because of a wide ditch being dug the full width of it. Upon investigation the truth proved quite simple. The driver had forgotten about the ditch and the horses galloping between the trolley rails had simply jumped the ditch in stride with the wheels of the chemical wagon riding over it on the rails. In the darkness of the night the driver had been totally unaware of this. This team was later sold to the United States Government and died in France during the First World War.

Part 2 tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

One Vehicle Accident Kills Vigilant Fireman

On September 22, 1987 at 7:00 a.m., a rescue local was sent to Rt. 533 just north of Rt. 11. A dump truck skidded on the wet road, struck a tree and overturned killing the driver. The driver of the truck was long time Vigilant Hose member Roger D. Slieghter. Rest in peace “Slick” we still miss you. The Vigilant Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies responded.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Stoughstown Area Barn Burns

On September 21, 1951 at 4 p.m. firemen were sent to a barn fire 1/4 mile west of Stoughstown on the Stoughstown-Newville road. A fire of undetermined origin destroyed a barn, attached shed and a hog pen. Firefighters remained on the scene all evening protecting exposures and wetting down the ruins. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose and Newville fire companies battled the blaze. Earlier in the day the Vigilant's responded to a grass fire just east of town.