Monday, August 30, 2010

Barn Burns During Severe Storm

On August 30, 1950 in the evening hours a severe thunderstorm rolled through the valley dropping an inch of rain. The Vigilant Hose Company was sent to the Raymond Zeek residence in Upper Strasburg when lightning struck the chimney. Seconds later a barn fire was reported at the Lester Mellinger farm near Huntsdale. A bolt of lightning struck the barn causing it's total destruction. The Cumberland Valley Hose, Union's of Carlisle and Mt. Holly fire companies answered the alarm. After the Vigilant's arrived at the scene in Upper Strasburg they learned that the home owner extinguished the blaze and they also responded to the barn fire.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Large Frame Shed Burns In Lurgan Twp.

On August 29, 1990 at 3:30 p.m. firefighters were dispatched to a shed fire at 15700 Burnt Mill Road, Lurgan Township. Units arrived to find heavy fire in a large frame storage shed. Aggressive action by firefighters saved the building along with numerous contents inside. Newburg Chief Ed Chamberlin said the blaze was stated by spontaneous combustion in grain stored in the shed. A damage estimate was not available. Firefighters remained on the scene for over one and a half hours. The Newburg-Hopewell, Vigilant Hose, West End Fire and Rescue, Cumberland Valley Hose, Pleasant Hall and South Newton Twp. fire companies responded to the blaze.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Vigilant Tanker Burns On Rt. 174

On August 28, 1974 shortly before noon the Shippensburg Civil Defense room alerted firemen to a fire truck fire on Rt. 174 in the area of the Interstate 81 overpass. Firemen arrived to find the chassis of the Vigilant Hose Company Station 2's 1956 Dodge tanker well involved. The tanker was traveling towards Walnut Bottom when the drive shaft broke and punctured the gas tank setting the rig on fire. The driver Albert Grove was treated at the Shippensburg Medical Clinic and sent home. The chassis was destroyed and the rig was never fixed but replaced with an older model. The Vigilant Hose Company answered the alarm. The CV ambulance answered three calls for the day.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Upper Strasburg Home And Out Buildings Destroyed

On August 27, 1969 at 2:20 p.m. firemen were sent to the Andrew Neil residence in Upper Strasburg for a house fire. When firemen arrived the 1 1/2 story frame house was well involved and rapidly extending to numerous exposures. Two small adjoining buildings along with all the family's possessions and an automobile were destroyed in the fire. Vigilant firemen Randy Eastep was treated at Chambersburg Hospital for smoke inhalation and the owner of the house was treated for shock. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose, West End Fire and Rescue, Pleasant Hall and Letterkenny fire companies answered the alarm. The Vigilant's also extinguished a grass fire along the Penn Central railroad tracks on North Prince Street at 7 p.m. Other than the fire the CV ambulance made one other run for the day.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

4 Killed, Six Injured In Two Car Crash

On August 26, 1965 at 10:40 p.m. firemen were sent to Rt. 433 one mile south of Orrstown for an auto accident. Two cars collided head on killing two instantly, another died several hours later and the fourth died the following morning. Two of the people killed were the drivers. Six others were transported to various hospitals, one was released several days later, three were upgraded to satisfactory condition and two remained in serious condition in Harrisburg General. The West End Fire and Rescue responded to extricate the victims from the cars and help with traffic control and the Cumberland Valley ambulances also answered the call.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Camp Legion Building Burns

On August 25, 1996 at 5:26 a.m. firefighters were dispatched to a building fire at Camp Legion, Stillhouse Hollow Road, Greene Township. When firefighters arrived they found a one story frame building 90% involved. For the next few hours their efforts were concentrated on protecting the woods and nearby buildings. The fire was ruled suspicious and a damage estimate was not available. The West End Fire and Rescue, Vigilant Hose, Fayetteville, Cumberland Valley Hose and Franklin fire companies battled the blaze. Also during the day at 4:44 a.m. 52, 53 and 54 answered an auto accident for a car into a house at Walnut Bottom Road and Ritner Highway. At 3:36 p.m. 52, 53 and 54 responded to smoke in the building at 111 N. Earl Street and then at 10:05 p.m. Co.'s 54 and 7 responded to an auto accident on Interstate 81. one mile north of Exit 8 in Greene Twp that resulted in a double fatal.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Fire Destroys Barn Near Mongul

On August 24, 1957 around 6 p.m. firemen were sent to the James Bear farm near Mongul along the Shippensburg Roxbury Road for a barn fire. When firemen arrived the barn was well off and little could be done to save the structure. Lost in the fire were 35 rabbits, three hogs, and several pieces of farm machinery. This was the second barn to be destroyed on the Bear property in 48 hours, both separated by about a half mile (the first fire will be a post some other time). A 15 year old boy placed in the Franklin County home by the Cumberland County welfare office admitted to setting the fires. The young man said he resented being talked to in a loud voice by one of the family members. Firemen returned once for a rekindle. The Vigilant Hose and Letterkenny fire departments answered the alarm. The Vigilant's also extinguished a grass fire at 12:40 p.m. on Charles Street.

It is hard to believe but this is my 1,000 post on the Shippensburg Fire site. The third anniversary is quickly approaching and I would like to hear from some of you looking on a daily basis that never comment just to see who is out there. I get daily hits from places like New York, Virginia, New Jersey, Delaware, California, Maryland and Texas. There is others that I know from Ohio, Minnesota, DC and Pennsylvania.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Cumberland Radio Reports 686 Calls

The Tuesday August 27, 1957 addition of The News Chronicle ran the following article.

During the month of July, the Cumberland County mutual fire and radio network handled 686 calls, according to William Minich, chief operator. There were 170 ambulance calls, 427 for fires and 89 base calls, he reported.

Shippensburg had 29 ambulance, 26 fire and 19 base calls.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Barn Near Pinola Burns To The Ground

On August 22, 1937 at about 11:00 a.m. firemen responded to a barn struck by lightning along the Mt Rock-Pinola Roads a mile west of the Molly Pitcher Highway. A binder, corn plow, seven tons of wheat, 300 bushels of barley and the barn were destroyed. The rural pumper was on the scene in 15 minutes and pumped the well dry, milk cans were used to haul water from a nearby stream to supply the engine. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose Company battled the blaze.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Work Starts On County Fire School

After ten years of discussions and planning on Saturday August 21, 1971 work began on the new Cumberland County fire school. Members of the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 542 donated their time and Silver Spring Construction Company of Mechanicsburg donated the heavy equipment to grade four of the more than seven acres at the site of the new facility. Kimboy Inc., Harrisburg donated the use of a lowboy to move the bull dozer to and from the site.

The center was sponsored by the Cumberland County Volunteer Firemen's Association. County Fire Marshall Earl Moser stated that the facility should be completed in five years.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Coover Bros. Farm Implement Burns

On August 19, 1931 at 10:45 p.m. firemen were sent to the Coover Bros. Farm Implement building at 17-19 East Burd Street for a building fire. When firemen arrived the century old frame building was heavily involved in flames. It was feared that a major conflagration would occur as the area was tightly packed with frame buildings. The calm night along with firemen arriving quickly and getting five hose lines in service right away averted the disaster. Once the lines were deployed firemen worked on removing cars from nearby frame garages and vehicles from the implement buildings. By midnight the blaze was under control. At 11 :20 p.m. borough fire chief Burkholder had the area roped off and ordered everyone except firemen to stay behind the rope. To enforce the order water was thrown from a stream on anyone that disobeyed the order. An excited citizen phoned the Franklin firefighters in Chambersburg and summoned them to the scene, they arrived in Shippensburg and were sent home by chief Burkholder. One fireman Samuel Railing suffered an electrical shock when a live power line fell. The fire was caused when wiring on an old truck shorted out. The building and most of it's contents were destroyed with damaged estimated at $25,000. After the fire was extinguished and firemen left the scene two former firefighters Anson Goodhart and Leighton Hargleroad were said to have come to blows over what they thought caused the fire. The Vigilant Hose and Cumberland Valley Hose companies responded to the call and remained on the scene almost the entire night.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

House Fire On Washington Street

On August 18, 1929 at about 3:30 p.m. firemen responded to a house fire at the Roy Bigler residence, 28 South Washington Street. Borough fire chief James Pechart said the fire started from lingering sparks in the stove pipe. The fire extended to a rear addition and up to the garret and roof. Firemen initially attempted to control the fire with the use of a chemical line but that proved inadequate so hand lines were stretched. Numerous holes had to be cut into the burning shingle roof as firemen worked for almost one hour with all four borough fire trucks to control the blaze. Chief Pechart and fireman Beattie Watson suffered cuts and were treated by Dr. S. Dana Sutliff after the fire. Damages were estimated at $1,500. The Vigilant Hose and Cumberland Valley Hose companies answered the alarm.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Vigilant's Get New Pumper

On Monday August 17, 1936 the Vigilant Hose Company accepted delivery of a 1936 Reo Seagrave pumper. Some 15 members of the company were on hand to help unload the engine after it arrived by rail car. A representative of the Seagrave Company was also on hand to assist in final assembly and to insure the pumper was in its best condition. The rig was equipped with a 500 gpm centrifugal pump a 100 gallon booster tank, 27 foot extension ladder and a 12 foot roof ladder. The engine was to supplement to rural engine and to assist on small fires in the borough. The rig replaced an older model-T chemical engine that was to be sold for trucking purposes since the firefighting equipment had all been sold.

For the last two plus weeks this blog has been on auto pilot while I was away on vacation. I think I answered any questions that were left on the comments. If I missed any please ask again and I will get to them. The one thing I missed while away was the formal beginning's of a new fire station in Shippensburg. I want to thank Haney for making a post on it for me, if you missed it it can be found here. You can also see it here on the Vigilant web site at two different places. I hope to photograph the entire process and continue to document this history in the making.

Monday, August 16, 2010

First CCVFA Celebration Held

On August 16 1928 Cumberland County firemen traveled to Mechanicsburg for their first ever celebration. A large firemen's parade was held as part of the six day Centennial celebration of the community. The parade was said to be a mile long featuring over 1,500 firemen from 18 companies in line and was to be one of the finest the valley had ever seen. The Cumberland Valley Hose Company received the second best appearing fire company and was well represented with 47 men. Only Cumberland County fire companies were eligible for awards.

I should note that this first ever celebration should not be confused with the organizations first ever convention held later that year in Shippensburg, that will be another post for a future year. Also sorry for the lack of photos, missing post and same year post lately. I have been off for the last month but most of it has been spent out of town. It is a large process to get these ready and uploaded a month in advance so the appear as if I was at home. It is also not easy in the summer months when working incidents are few and far between.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Book Saw Mill In Gunters Valley Destroyed By Fire

On August 14, 1930 just after midnight firemen were sent to the Book Saw Mill in Gunters Valley (near Roxbury) for a building fire. By the time the flames were noticed and the Cumberland Valley Hose Company was notified it was 4:30 a.m. The pumper arrived and placed the first stream of water on the blaze at 5:30 a.m. By 10 a.m. the blaze was extinguished and firemen left the scene. The sawmill and a large quantity of lumber was destroyed causing $10,000 in damages. A cause of the fire was not listed.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Quick And Easy Today...

Todays post will be quick and easy for me, I had no more jobs to post for today and no time to prepare anything else. Not wanting to skip to many days I decided to post a cartoon that appeared in the June 18, 1928 edition of the Evening News Harrisburg.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

East Burd Street Kitchen Burns

On August 12, 1970 at 8:21 p.m. firefighters were sent to 320 East Burd Street for a kitchen fire. A deep fryer boiled over setting fire to the kitchen extending to the hallway. Light smoke damaged the remainder of the house. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies answered the alarm.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

CCVFA Meets For The First Time In Shippensburg

On August 11, 1927 the Cumberland County Volunteer Firemen’s Association met in Shippensburg for the first time. The meeting was held in the Cumberland Valley Hose Company's parlor. Over 100 members from the 16 companies making up the organization attended the meeting. Near the end of the meeting the Shippensburg companies were sent to a working barn fire (posted last year) and many of the visiting firemen rushed to the scene to watch the Shippensburg's bravest in action.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Lees Cross Roads Home Destroyed

On August 9, 1930 in the evening hours local fireman Dana Porter was headed home when he spotted a glow in the sky. Traveling to investigate the glow he found a house to be on fire in Lees Cross Roads. Dana quickly telephoned the Cumberland Valley Hose Company who responded promptly. When firemen arrived it was to late to save the dwelling and their efforts were concentrated on saving nearby buildings. The cause of the fire was ruled arson and local firemen reported that this was the third time this family had been burned out of their home in 12 years. A person was arrested for setting the fire. Sorry for the run of 1930 fires but sometimes I need easy entries and these were already typed into the data base.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Girl Dies From Burns In Nyesville House Fire

On August 8, 1930 at about 4 p.m. firemen were sent to a house fire near Nyesville. A 17 year old girl visiting from Ohio was preparing the stove for dinner, in a hurry to speed up the fire she attempted to pour kerosene on it when the can exploded in her hands. The flames quickly spread to her clothing as she ran from the house into the fields. The residents and neighbor telephoned Shippensburg for assistance and drove the girl to Chambersburg Hospital where she died almost four hours later. By the time fireman arrived there was little they could do to save the home. Damages were estimated at $3,000. The articles did not mention which Shippensburg Fire Company answered the alarm but normally the Cumberland Valley went outside of town at this time because they had a water pumper where the Vigilant's only had a chemical wagon.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Blaze Damages Carlisle Homes

On August 7, 1985 at 1:54 p.m. firefighters were dispatched to a house fire at 141 Elm Street, Carlisle. The blaze began in the rear of 141 and spread to the back porch 143 and 139. Because of the extreme heat, time of day and rapidly extending fire additional alarms were quickly summoned. It took firefighters from 13 companies almost one hour to control the blaze and units remained on the scene into the early evening. The house at 141 was a total loss and 143 suffered heavy fire damage to the second floor, attic and rear. 139 Elm Street sustained fire damage to the rear. One firefighter Rich Middlekauff of the Unions was treated and released from Carlisle hospital for heat exhaustion. Units from the Unions, Empire, Friendships, Cumberland-Goodwill, Newville, Boiling Springs, Mount Holly, North Middleton, West Pennsboro, Camp Hill, Hampden, Vigilant Hose and Upper Allen Twp fire companies battled the blaze with over 100 men.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Newburg Area Barn Burns

On August 6, 1938 in the afternoon hours firemen were sent to the Fred Heberlig farm near Newburg after a barn was struck by lightning. The passing storm damaged phones lines making it difficult to call Shippensburg for help. Lost along with the barn was a hog pen, silo, nine horse, three cows, all the crops harvested during the year and a considerable amount of machinery. Paint on the house was blistered by the fire but firemen were able to save the house and other nearby buildings by pumping water from two nearby cisterns. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose Company answered the alarm.

With the amount of barn fires I posted over the last three years and many more to post in the future I have to wonder why there is any barns left in the Shippensburg area or why all the farmers have not moved out of the area.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

$100,000 In Damage At Rubber Plant Fire

On August 5, 2002 at 6:10 a.m. firefighters were sent to 811 Progress Road, Chambersburg at the Landstar Polymers Recovery Inc. for a reported building fire. A blaze possibly caused by an electrical problem spread quickly across the ceiling above the sprinklers. Insulation and rubber dust burned quickly rendering the sprinkler system almost useless. Firefighters manned hose lines inside the building pulling down burning insulation while others manning four ladder trucks accessed the flat roof to battle the blaze. Almost 75 firefighters responded to the three alarm fire under the direction of Chambersburg Emergency Services Chief William "Bill" Dubbs. One firefighter was transported to the hospital for heat related injuries. Damages were estimated at $100,000. The accounts of the incident in the local papers never mentioned the companies responding but I know that the Chambersburg, Franklin, New Franklin, Fayetteville and Cumberland Valley Hose companies answered the alarm. With the incident going three alarms there had to be many more. WEFR's Squad transferred to Co. 1 during the incident.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Fire Threatens Village Of Big Spring

On August 4, 1930 around noon firemen were sent to the village of Big Spring for a field fire that was threatening to destroy the village. Flames spread across a wheat field to a grove of cedar trees above the town where a brisk wind fanned the flames across a pond to another field and onto the property of William Johnston. On this property two stables were burned to the ground. Telephone calls were made to Shippensburg and Newville requesting assistance from their fore companies. Newville arrived first and obtained water from the Big Spring that was surrounded by fire, five minutes later the pumper from the Cumberland Valley Hose Company arrived. The blaze began when a pile of burning brush got away from one of the residents. Newville Chief Boyles said that his fire company used 900 feet of hose in battling the blaze (allot at this time). Firemen from the Cumberland Valley Hose responded to one other field fire during the day and assistance was requested from Chambersburg when a large field fire burned out of control destroying numerous bungalows, they gained the upper hand and before units from Shippensburg could respond.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Lightning Starts Barn Fire

On August 3, 1975 at 9:20 p.m. firefighters responded to a barn fire on Rt. 533 one half mile west of Orrstown. Lightning struck a frame barn destroying the building , 18,000 bales of straw, a grain elevator, miscellaneous machinery and killing a family dog. According to WEFR Chief Wiestling was shuttled from nearby ponds to extinguish the blaze. Wiestling estimated approximately 60,000 gallons of water was used to fight the fire. Several firefighters were treated on the scene for smoke inhalation and heat exhaustion. Firemen remained on the scene until 4 a.m. Damages were estimated at $50,000. Units from the West End Fire and Rescue, Vigilant Hose, Pleasant Hall, Franklin, Marion and Newburg-Hopewell answered the alarm.

Monday, August 2, 2010

West End Residents Discuss Fire Company

A meeting of West End residents interested in organizing a third fire company in the borough of Shippensburg was scheduled to be held Monday (August 2, 1954) at 8 p.m. at the M and N restaurant on Lurgan Ave. Anyone interested in attending was invited to be on hand.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

$30,000 Damage In Barn Fire

On August 1, 1965 3:45 a.m. firemen responded to a barn fire at the Richard McDonald farm on Shippensburg R.D. 2. A bolt of lightning struck the barn destroying it and a two story work shop nearby. Lost in the barn was a truck and three small lambs. The barn was said to be one of the largest in the area. Damages were estimated at $30,000. The Vigilant Hose , West End Fire and Rescue, Fayetteville, Franklin and Letterkenny fire companies battled the blaze. The Vigilant's returned to the scene for a rekindle at 10:25 a.m.