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.