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.


Sparky said...

great history lesson. I could sit and read these all day. Or sit around the fire house listing to the old guys tell stories. I guess one of these days, I will be one of those old guys. Keep up the great job Brad.

Haney said...

Great story, I can't wait to see the pictures.I info I got about the Vigilants being across the street came from the new CFD website.
AnHey, didn't Jackson drive for the Juniors.

Brad Myers said...

Thanks, I hope that the regulars to this site enjoy looking at more than just Shippensburg. It brought CW out of the closet and thats a good thing, jump in there more often and share your knowledge and experiences. The intentions are to educate on Cumberland and Franklin Counties. I may jump around from time to time but we may eventually get there.

Haney I do have written information on the Vigilant's having a first station across from the Juniors, I do not know how much I have on them. After posting all the photos from the Juniors I want to share maybe I will move to the Vigilant's and Protection, I have no photos from these two companies so it will only be text.

Anonymous said...

Great stuff, Brad.
I wonder how many people remember the connection between the Juniors, KGD611 and the gas station.


Kenny said...

This is good stuff. Like some of the others I enjoy the history lessons, even if I don't say so very often.

Anonymous said...

Very good history lesson Brad. It was great to see where the CFD has come from and now living what it is doing today. Not many career people these days care about the history of their departments but it was definately interesting reading. Keep up the great work and thanks for sharing the words of Jack. Can't wait to see the pictures to come also.

Ben Myers