Saturday, July 31, 2010

Shippensburg Assist Chambersburg Fire Companies

On July 31, 1970 at 7:15 p.m. the Vigilant Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies transferred to Chambersburg while they assisted at two barn fires that were struck by lightning. While on standby the Vigilant's answered an electrical fire at the Carl Flory residence in Guilford Hills. At 11:23 p.m. the Vigilant's Station's 1 and 2 responded to a truck fire at the service station on Rt. 174 at I-81. The Cumberland Valley ambulance answered three calls for the day.

Friday, July 30, 2010

House Burns In Penn Twp.

On July 30, 1978 at 8:30 a.m. firefighters were dispatched to a house fire on Rt. 174 six miles east of Walnut Bottom(just east of Cumminstown) in Penn Twp. An accidental fire started in the living room and extended to the kitchen causing approximately $10,000 in damages. The rest of the home was damages by smoke, heat and water. Firefighters from Penn Twp., South Newton, Newville and Mount Holly answered the alarm. The Vigilant Hose Company transferred to South Newton for about two hours while they were at the fire. Not a job that Shipp responded to but it was in the data base and I need easy posts right now.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Metal Twp. Fire Kills Man

On July 29, 1988 at 3:58 a.m. firefighters were dispatched to a house fire at 14483 Shady Pine Road, Metal Twp. When firefighters arrived the one story frame house was heavily involved in fire and personnel were informed of a man still inside. Prior to their arrival the wife escaped through a bedroom window and numerous citizens attempted to rescue the man. Firefighters located the victim at the foot end of the bed but not before it was too late. The house was destroyed; a cause and damage estimate was not available. About 50 firefighters battled the blaze some remaining on the scene for almost four hours. The Fannett-Metal, Pleasant Hall, Shade Gap, Vigilant Hose, St. Thomas Twp. Mercersburg and Franklin County air wagon answered the alarm.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Barn Fire In Dickinson Twp.

On July 28, 2001 at 3:36 a.m. firefighters were alerted to a barn fire at 931 W. Old York Road, Dickinson Twp. Weary firefighters that just finished battling a barn fire 10 miles away and two hours earlier arrived to find a 120 foot by 50 foot storage barn well involved. Lost in the fire was more than 100 tons of hay, seven tractors, a hay binder, harvester, combine, generator and other equipment. Firefighters managed to protect the main barn and other exposures. Damages were estimated at $200,000 and the cause was listed as suspicious. The Mt. Holly, South Middleton, Penn Twp., Union of Carlisle, Bendersville, Vigilant Hose, Cumberland-Goodwill, South Newton, Newville, Upper Frankford, Monroe, Shermans Dale, Shiremanstown and New Kingston fire companies answered the alarm.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

House Fire In Franklin County

On July 27, 1999 at 2:18 p.m. firefighters were dispatched to a house fire at 667 Heintzelman Avenue (maybe someone can help with the township). First in units arrived to find fire in a second floor bedroom of a 2 1/2 story brick and frame multi family building. The blaze was contained in five minutes but not before it left a mother and her three children homeless. A damage estimate and cause was not available. The articles did not list all responding companies so if I miss any speak up. Responding were units from Franklin, New Franklin, Fayetteville and the Vigilant Hose Company. During the day firefighters also responded to an auto accident at Rt. 533 and the Brown Road at 11:07 a.m., a field fire on the Vaughn Road at 2:22 p.m. and a working barn fire that will be posted another year.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Building Fire At 75 East King Street

On July 26, 1915 at 1 a.m. firemen were alerted to a building fire at 75 East King Street in the Henry J. Duke building occupied by H. W. Irving restaurant. The blaze started on the west side of the restaurant sales room next to the Hollar building. Firemen from both companies were soon on the scene both taking plugs with their wagons and had five streams of water on the blaze in short order. Thanks to the lack of wind and strong water pressure what looked like a conflagration was soon subdued by local firemen. The fire was declared completely under control by 2:30 a.m. but firemen remained on the scene through out the night. The Vigilant Hose and Cumberland Valley Hose companies battled the blaze.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Barn Burns, Loss Estimated At $15,000

On July 25, 1930 in the evening hours firemen were sent to the John Varner farm approximately 2 miles east of Shippensburg on the Chambersburg-Carlisle Pike. The cause of the blaze was undetermined but the farmer thought it could have been from internal heating of one of the crops. Lost in the blaze were most of the farm machinery, 1200 bushels of wheat, 600 bushels of oats, a large wagon shed, hog pen, chicken house and automobile shed. The owner and his son had to be rescued from the barn by a neighboring farmer after they became trapped under a horse that collapsed from smoke inhalation while they were evacuating the livestock. Damages were estimated at $15,000. Firemen concentrated on protecting the nearby exposures and obtained their water from a nearby pond and a well on the premises. The Vigilant Hose Company answered the alarm.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

2 Fire Truck Wreck In Separate Accidents

On July 24, 1979 two fire trucks were involved in two separate accidents within 20 minutes of each other while responding fire alarms triggered by thunderstorms. Three firefighters were injured in the accidents.

The New Franklin GMC engine overturned on rain slicked Pa. 316 near I-81 at 4:30 p.m. injuring all three firefighters on board. The rig was responding to a AFA at Nichols Discount Store when the driver lost control and veered to the right. The engine struck a utility pole and rolled several times. All three were treated and released. The engine involved was a 1966 GMC previously owned and operated by Fayetteville Vol. Fire, the rig was a total loss.

Seventeen minutes after the first accident the Chambersburg ladder truck struck a traffic signal at the intersection of Lincoln Way East and Sixth Street while responding to an AFA at the Chambersburg Middle School. The truck was able to remain in service.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Frat House Burns On Britton Road

On July 23, 1997 at 6:30 a.m. firefighters were dispatched to a building fire at the Tau Kappa Epsilon Frat house at 11 Britton Road, Shippensburg Township. The first units arrived to find fire showing from the first floor windows and door. Firefighters were lucky because only two of the 30 members were in the residence at the time because of summer break. One of the two occupant stated he awoke about 4:30 a.m. and extinguished a fire on his bed before waking again about 6:30 to find the building ablaze. Former Chief Jamie White's parents awoke to the sound of breaking glass and called 911. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose, West End Fire and Rescue, South Newton Twp. and Newville fire companies responded to the fire.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Lightning Strikes Barn Destroying 130,000 Eggs

On July 22, 1994 at an unknown time firefighters were dispatched to a barn fire at Lesher's Poultry Farm, 1152 Swamp Fox Road, Franklin County. Firefighters arrived to find a 60 by 120 foot barn heavily involved in fire after being struck by lighting. A hazardous materials team had to be special called because of the burning polystyrene. Ten fire companies responded and had the fire under control in about an hour and remained on the scene several hours. Damages were estimated at $40,000. The New Franklin, Mont Alto, Marion, Greencastle, Chambersburg, Franklin, Waynesboro, Fayetteville, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies answered the alarm.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Fire In The Kittatinny Tunnel

On July 21, 1885 in the morning hours a naphtha lamp exploded in the east end of the Kittatinny tunnel near Roxbury and the flames spread to a number of large barrels of materials stored in the tunnel. Flames were soon shooting 30 feet out the mouth of the tunnel and workers soon fear an explosion may be possible. The timbers supporting the tunnel were soon on fire but because of the height of the tunnel workers were unable to get water up to them. A messenger was soon sent to Shippensburg to request help. Borough Council gave them the Cumberland Valley but it took them until that evening to reach the scene. Once there the blaze was quickly controlled but not before it caused heavy damage. Large cave ins occurred from the timbers burning away. Workers lives were spared because they were out for breakfast when the fire occurred and no one was in the tunnel. The next day there was a working fire in the borough which shed additional light on this blaze. The Cumberland Valley Fire Company did not respond but their hand engine named the "Cumberland Valley" was loaned to the workers to extinguish the blaze. Because of this only one engine was able to respond to the other blaze in Shippensburg.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Fire Damages Shearer Hall At SSC

On July 20, 1969 at 8:11 p.m. KGD-556 alerted all Shippensburg monitors to a building fire at Shearer Hall on the Shippensburg State College campus. Fire damaged a third floor chemistry laboratory and water damaged the first and second floors. Borough fire chief Dan Orris said the fire originated in electrical wiring in the lab. Damages were estimated at $25,000. The Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies answered the alarm. The CV ambulance also answered one run for the day.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Side By Side 1948, 1950 Vigilant Seagraves

Sorry for re posting photos but I was in need of a quick and easy post. This post is also untended to give you a view of both the 1948 and 1950 Seagraves owned and operated by the Vigilant Hose Company. When I made the recent post on the 1950 I received many of the same questions I got on a post a couple of years ago.

The top photo is the 1948 purchased used from Hummelstown and operated at Station #2, the second photo is the 1950 purchased new by the Viggies as a rural engine. I will detail both engines in later post with full history and additional photographs. But as you can see from the images the quickest way to tell the two rigs apart is from the front bumper followed by the door lettering. You can see for yourself the many small differences between the two such as the light packages, pump panel and additional lettering and striping. Overall the 48 must have been a better engine as it lasted 28 years in service with multiple companies and the 1950 was worn out in just 12 years.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Fire Destroys New Mobile Home

On July 17, 1969 at 1:25 p.m. firemen were sent to the area of Johnnies Restaurant, near the turnpike interchange for a mobile home fire. When firemen arrived the mobile home was well involved. The home had not been moved onto yet and 15 minutes before the blaze the gas company had hooked up the gas to the home. Damages were estimated at $8,000. The Newburg Hopewell Fire Company answered the alarm. No other companies were mentioned but it was common in those days for the Vigilant’s to answer structure fires in Newburg’s area.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Cumberland Valley Fire Companies First Hose Reel

There may be another major incident to report on this date other that the ones I posted the last two years, but I could not find one so today’s post will feature another Shippensburg rig.

In January 1859 Shippensburg Borough Council decided that more hose and a reel were needed to protect the borough. On February 3, 1859 a hose reel was delivered to Shippensburg. The reel and hose was purchased from the Howard Street Hose Company in Baltimore, Maryland for $311.00. This was the company’s first hose reel and the first one ever mentioned in the borough. It is unknown how long the reel was used or what its disposition was.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Fire Destroys Shed

On July 15, 1988 at 4:37 p.m. firefighters were dispatched to the George Willis farm on Willis Road, North Newton Township for a field fire. As apparatus were approaching they were advised that a barn was also involved and the box alarm was struck. The farmer was bailing straw when bearing on the bailer overheated and caught straw on fire. The fire quickly spread to a shed and other farm machinery. Firefighters were able to protect the nearby house and barn but not before several acres, a grain wagon, two other sheds and hay wagon were either destroyed or damaged. A dog tied up in one of the sheds perished. Firefighters from eight companies had the blaze under control in 30 minutes and remained on the scene for 1-½ hours. Damages were estimated at $5,000 to $7,000. The Newville South Newton, Vigilant Hose, Newburg Hopewell, West Pennsboro, Cumberland Valley Hose, West End Fire and Rescue and Penn Twp fire companies answered the alarm.

Firefighters from South Newton, Penn Twp., Newville and Vigilant Hose also answered an auto accident on I-81 at milepost 33 at 5:24 a.m. WEFR assisted Fayetteville on an AFA on Cumberland Highway at 10:49 a.m. At 11:09 a.m. WEFR responded to an auto accident at 2064 Roxbury Rd. At 12:46 p.m. CV’s assisted other Franklin County companies on a reported building fire on Anthony Highway, Guilford Twp. At 2:22 p.m. the Vigilant’s Hazmat unit responded to an incident in Mechanicsburg. Then at 5:55 p.m. WEFR handled a transfer to Co. 49’s quarters. At 7:36 p.m. the Cumberland Valley Hose Company responded to a dumpster fire at College Park apartment. And at 9:59 p.m. firefighters finished off a busy day when WEFR and Vigilant’s answered an auto fire on I-81 at exit 9.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


The Borough of Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, request sealed bids for (1) 750-Gal. motor fire engine according to specifications on file in the office of the Borough Secretary at The Municipal Building in said Borough.
Sealed bids will be received by the said secretary at said office until 7:30 p.m. Monday, August 10th, 1936.
Bids will be publicly opened at a Special Meeting of Council in the Council Chamber to be held at 8:00 p.m. same day.
Bidders will be required to bid on trade-in allowance for the American LaFrance apparatus now in use by C.V. Hose Company, No. 2 of said Borough.
Borough reserves the right to reject any and all bids.
By order of the Council
W. Bruce Weaver, Secretary
Adv. July 14

The Lafrance mentioned was the CV's first motorized engine and the bids they were asking for would eventually become the Ward Lafrance the CV's have now.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Ranch House Burns

On July 13, 2000 at 10:18 a.m. firefighters were dispatched to 308 Middle Road, Upper Mifflin Township for a house fire. When firefighters arrived fire was already venting from the roof of the brick ranch style home. The two alarm blaze took firefighters from seven companies about 30 minutes to control. The blaze started when a four year old child was left unattended on the first floor with a burning candle. It was believed the child played with the candle starting the fire. A damage estimate was not available. The Newville, Upper Frankford, Newburg-Hopewell, West Pennsboro, Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies answered the alarm. Earlier in the day at 2:21 a.m. the Vigilant's, CV's and WEFR an outside investigation at the Mellon Bank, 153 W. Orange Street. And then at 9:12 p.m. the Vigilant's and WEFR responded to an auto accident in front of Kmart on the Walnut Bottom Road.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Orrstown Barn Burns

On July 12, 1964 shortly after 11 p.m. firemen were sent to the Carl Martin farm, Orrstown R. D. 1 for a barn fire. Carl noticed the barn ablaze as he was preparing for bed and telephoned the Vigilant Hose Company. They were busy at the time battling a pole fire in Walnut Bottom so the Pleasant Hall and West End Fire companies were summoned to the scene. When firemen arrived the barn was well involved and could be seen for miles. Soon there after the Vigilant's cleared their previous call and responded to the barn fire. Vigilant Chief Charles Mouer said the fire was likely caused by defective wiring. Two pigs were lost in the blaze. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose, Pleasant Hall and West End Fire and Rescue companies answered the alarm.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Vigilant's Form 4H Fire Prevention Club

On Wednesday July 11, 1979 Shippensburg 4-H members started a fire prevention club at the Vigilant Hose Company. This was the first meeting of the club and the first club of it's type in Cumberland County.

Officers were elected: President Kathy Nehf; vice president Kevin Nehf, secretary Elizabeth Myers, assistant secretary Robin Myers, treasurer Connie Kerns, news reported Elizabeth Myers, song leader Robin Adams, social chairman Wanda Bittinger, county council representatives Elizabeth Myers and Kevin Nehf and alternate Kathy Nehf.

The official name of the club was the Vigilant Hose Fire Prevention and Control 4-H Club, there nickname was "The Screamin Seagraves" Chief Charles Myers was the program coordinator.

Sorry the photograph is not the best but since most of you know most of these people I thought it may be a good laugh. Especially the nipples sticking out on Haney, looks like he may be interested in singing for the village people, just kidding Haney.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

One Dead In Fire Truck Accident

On July 10, 1993 at 8:45 a.m. a rescue local was dispatched to Interstate 81 north bound five miles north of exit 10 South Newton Township. Two men were driving a 1951 Pirsch tiller truck from Maryland to Harrisburg for the Pennsylvania Pump Primers muster when the drive shaft broke puncturing hydraulic lines and spraying fluid onto the exhaust header. The truck burst into flames causing the tiller man to jump from the rig. The driver steered the truck into the median strip and over a concrete culvert causing the driver to be ejected from the cab and thrown under the wheels of the tractor. The vehicle came to rest off the road, well involved in flames. The driver S. Eric Russell, 33 was pronounced dead at the scene. The tiller man Jeffrey Jenkins, 27 was taken to Chambersburg Hospital and later transferred to Francis Scott Key Burn Center in Baltimore in serious condition. None of the many newspaper articles list the companies responding to the incident so when I list who I think was there if any one has any additions or corrections please let me know. Responding to the accident was the Penn Twp., South Newton Twp., Newville, Vigilant Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Former School In Quincy Burns

On July 9, 1991 at 1:02 a.m. Franklin County 911 dispatched units to a building fire at 7888 Anthony Highway, Quincy Township, Franklin County. Responding firefighters could see flames two miles from the scene and arrived to find flames from the roof of a two story brick building formerly known as the Mowery Elementary School. The building was built in 1929 as the Quincy High School and most recently was being renovated into apartments. During the height of the blaze firefighters were flowing 3,000 gallons per minute to bring the fire under control by 5 a.m. Firefighter entered the building and performed an interior attack for almost two hours while trucks trenched the roof before being pulled from the building. Three firefighters were treated and released from Chambersburg Hospital for minor injuries. Damages were estimated at $200,000 and if a cause was ever determined I do not have it. Almost 200 firefighters from 16 companies in Franklin, Cumberland and Washington County Maryland battled the four alarm fire for over 7 1/2 hours. Unfortunately none of the seven articles I have on the fire mentioned the fire companies that responded to the incident so if anyone out there knows who answered the alarm it would be appreciated. Those responding that I can account for were Mont Alto, Waynesboro, Fayetteville, Franklin Air 10, West End Fire and Rescue and Mt. Holly (that leaves me 10 short).

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Child Dies, Two Others Injured In Dwelling Blaze

On July 8, 1952 at 4:30 p.m. firemen were sent to a house fire at Shippensburg R. R. 2 (I do not know the exact location of the incident but the children attended the Chestnut Grove School). The blaze began when the girls tried to make fire in the stove in preparation for the evening meal. The fire was started with wet wood making it hard to keep burning, once a fire was started a five gallon can of oil was placed on top of the stove while the children went out to gather more wood. When they returned and lifted a lid on the hot stove flames leaped out causing the oil to explode. In a matter of seconds the room was ablaze along with the girls clothing. The 13 year old girl ran from the house for help. She was taken to a local Doctors office and later transferred to a hospital by the CV's ambulance. The young girl died from her burns, two other girls also received burns but were treated and released. By the time local firemen arrived the blaze had gained so much headway that nothing could be done to save the house. One firemen was injured battling the blaze. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose Company answered the alarm.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Vigilant's Receive New Seagrave In Time For Celebration

On July 7, 1950 the Vigilant Hose Company members received a big surprise when the Seagrave company of Columbus Ohio delivered their new 1950 Seagrave pumper. The engine had been ordered for some time but was not expected to arrive in time for the big Cumberland Valley Hose Company firehouse dedication and jubilee. Because of some last minute efforts of the Seagrave company the engine was delivered Friday evening in time for the big parade on Saturday. The new quad was scheduled to arrive later in the year. The company wasted no time giving the engine a baptism by fire when it caught it's first job on Saturday July 15Th.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Old Fayetteville Hotel Burns

On July 6, 1980 at 4:47 a.m. the Franklin County communications center dispatched a 7 box to 18 East Main Street Fayetteville for a building fire. Firefighters arrived the find the four story frame and masonry building already heavily involved in flames. The building was pre-Civil war and once used as the Presbyterian seminary and a field hospital during the Civil War. It later became a hotel until the township went dry during prohibition, it was later turned into an apartment building but had been vacant for about the last 25 years. An easterly wind was blowing embers towards occupied buildings so the first lines were used to protect exposures. Firefighters laid five different supply lines, three from hydrants and two to the Conococheague Creek to battle the blaze. The fire was ruled arson by PSP fire marshal Gary Carter, just one of a long string of arson fires to plaque the area in 1980 and the second historic building in the Fayetteville area (Graeffenberg Inn) to be destroyed by arson. Damages were estimated at $10,000. Approximately 75 firefighters had the fire under control in 45 minutes and remained on the scene over four hours. The Fayetteville, New Franklin, Mont Alto, Franklin and West End Fire and Rescue companies answered the alarm.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Holiday Fire Destroys Log Cabin

On July 4, 1995 at 1:30 a.m. Cumberland County 911 alerted firefighters to a cabin fire on the Furnace Hollow Road, South Newton Township. When firefighters arrived they found the vacant building well involved in flames. The blaze was ruled arson and damages were estimated at $15,000. The South Newton, Vigilant Hose, Penn Twp., Cumberland Valley and Newville fire companies answered the alarm. Later in the day the C.V. ambulance made four runs, the Vigilant’s ran a medical assist, the C.V.’s answered a pole fire, WEFR answered an AFA and all three companies responded to another AFA.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Lees Cross Roads Chicken House Burns

On July 3, 1939 in the afternoon hours, firemen raced to the David Stouffer residence in Lees Cross Roads for a chicken house fire. The blaze began when burning paper nearby spread to the small frame building. The building housed some garden tools and toys. By the time firemen arrived the building was virtually destroyed. They extinguished the flames and prevented the spread of fire to any other nearby structures. A damage estimate was not listed. The Vigilant Hose Company answered the alarm.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Shippensburg Fire Alarm Responses For July 2, 1995

3:17 a.m. East Fort Street: medical emergency, CV ambulance, Medic 1; medical assist, Vigilant
4:52 p.m. 203 North Prince Street: medical assist, Vigilant
7:18 p.m. 65 Gardner Lane: medical emergency, CV ambulance, Medic 84
10:53 p.m. 601 Roxbury Road: medical emergency, CV ambulance, Medic 84, medical assist WEFR

Sorry for a couple of easy post on 1995 alarm records, time has been short lately and I needed a quick post.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Fire In The CV Hose House

The photo and caption tell the story of what occurred on this date in 1975. Also on this day in 1975 the Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies responded to 409 North Morris Street at 5:07 p.m. when a pan of hot grease caught fire and burned the hood over the stove. Then at 10 p.m. the Vigilant Hose and Cumberland Valley Hose companies responded to 111 South Prince Street for a minor fire in a car. Click the photograph to read the caption and view it larger.