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.

Monday, September 20, 2010

First Annual Cumberland County Firemen's Convention Held In Shippensburg

On September 20, 1928 the first annual convention of the Cumberland County Volunteer Firemen’s Association was held in Shippensburg. The first convention featured a slightly different format that it does today in the fact that this was a one day convention. The Vigilant’s appeared for the first time in their new uniforms and at 2 p.m. ceremonies kicked off with a dedication of the new municipal building that houses the company and other borough offices. Directly following the dedication the new American Lafrance city service truck was officially turned over to the company. At 4 p.m. firemen from all over the valley paraded through town, it was estimated that more than 400 firemen were in the parade. Firemen then visited the Cumberland Valley Hose Company for a meal. The town declare the day a holiday and the schools and teacher's college were only open a half day so that all could enjoy the festivities. Later that evening the firemen convened in the new parlor at the Municipal building to conduct business and elect new officers for the coming year.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Barn And Out Building's Destroyed

On September 19, 1930 at 7:30 p.m. firemen were sent to a barn fire at Shippensburg R. D. 5, the Carl Goodhart farm. A fire of undetermined origin destroyed a large barn and its contents. Also lost were a hog pen, wagon shed and implement shed. A damage estimate was not available. The Cumberland Valley Hose Company answered the alarm but were of little use because of the lack of water. A small stream was nearby but because of the summer drought conditions it was nearly dry.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Accident Leaves n Person Dead

On September 18, 1985 at 6:12 p.m. a rescue local was dispatched for an auto accident on U. S. 11 three miles south of Shippensburg in Southampton Franklin. A car traveling at a high rate of speed struck another auto head on before going down an embankment and rolling in a field. The driver was ejected and died later that night. Two other people were injured. The West End Fire and Rescue Company and Cumberland Valley ambulance answered the call. Two hours earlier the Vigilant Hose and CV ambulance responded to an auto accident at the intersection of Prince and Fort Streets.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Vigilant's Chicken Barbecue...

This is another one of those days that I think I am out of post for. The photograph appeared in the Tuesday September 20, 1977 edition of The New Chronicle and was referring to the September 17 fundraising event held at the Vigilant's. The women from left to right are Carolyn Pechart (now Kerns), Rita Beecher and Dolores Myers.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Cabin Burns In Lurgan Twp.

On September 16, 1986 at 7:52 p.m. Franklin County communications dispatched firefighters to 13920 Reservoir lane, Lurgan Twp. for a cabin fire. Fire caused $15,000 damage to a occupied cabin. The blaze started in the first floor near the fireplace and venting from the rear windows when firefighters arrived. Firefighters had the blaze under control in five minutes. One firefighter from Pleasant Hall was treated for smoke inhalation. The Pleasant Hall, Newburg-Hopewell, Vigilant Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies operated at the scene.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Junior Hose & Truck Co. No. 2 Chambersburg

This is one of those days that I am out of post for (I think). So I picked two photographs from my collection of the Junior Hose and Truck Company No. 2 in Chambersburg. Click on the photographs for much larger views. I asked the question last week if everyone liked these as space fillers or if I should skip the day and only two people answered so I guess I will post what trips my trigger that particular day.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fire Strikes A & A Stairs

On September 14, 2004 at 10:30 a.m. firefighters were dispatched to a structure fire at A & A Stairs and Railing, 9523 Lincoln Way West, St. Thomas Township. An outdated exhaust fan in a paint booth caused a fire that did $50,000 in damages. The blaze was contained to the two back room housing wood and paint products. Firefighters from 15 companies had the blaze under control in just over 30 minutes. The article did not list the companies responding to the alarm so the only three I know that answered the call were the Franklin's, St. Thomas and the Vigilant Hose companies.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Whitmer Road House Burns

On September 13, 1977 in the early morning hours firefighters were dispatched to the Whitmer Road, exact location unknown for a cabin fire. An unoccupied cabin was destroyed in a fire of unknown origin. A damage estimate was not available. Firefighters were on the scene three hours. The Vigilant Hose, South Newton Twp. and West End Fire and Rescue companies answered the alarm.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

North Earl Street Home Burns

On September 11, 1952 at 2:30 a.m. firemen were sent to 8 North Earl Street for a house fire. A fire of unknown origin gutted a house and damaged two other buildings. The fire started in the bathroom of the restaurant to the rear and extended to the home. The apartment building at 6 N. Earl Street suffered smoke damage and had to be evacuated. The blaze was discovered by a borough patrol officer that smelled smoke and investigated. Upon turning in the alarm the officer assisted a firefighter in forcing the door and evacuating the two elderly residents. Firemen had the blaze under control by 3 a.m. Damages were estimated at $5,000. The Vigilant Hose and Cumberland Valley Hose companies answered the alarm.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Apple Ave. House Damaged By Fire

On September 10, 1949 at 7 a.m. firemen were sent to 131 Apple Avenue for a house fire. An overheated kitchen stove sparked a fire that damaged an occupied 2 1/2 story frame dwelling. Before firemen could control the blaze it damaged three rooms on the first floor and several on the second. It also extended to the outside wall and roof of an exposure house. Damages were estimated at $2,500. The Vigilant Hose and Cumberland Valley Hose companies battled the fire.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Motorcyclist Killed In Accident

On September 9, 1969 at 5:20 p.m. firemen were sent to the Newburg Road near road T305 for an auto accident involving a motorcycle. A man was killed when the motorcycle he was driving struck a manure spreader and tractor. The male driver wax pronounced dead at the scene. The Vigilant Hose Company responded.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Lightning Strikes Barn

On September 8, 1940 shortly before midnight firemen were sent to just outside Green Springs (exact location not given). Lightning struck a small one-story barn burning it to the ground. A wagon was lost in the blaze. Damage estimates were not available. The Vigilant Hose and Newville fire companies operated at the scene.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Upper Mifflin House Destroyed

On September 7, 1991 at 6:16 a.m. firefighters were dispatched to a house fire in Upper Mifflin Township (exact location was never given in the article). A fire of unknown origin destroyed a large 2-½-story frame occupied dwelling. Nearly 100 firefighters from six companies fought the blaze for three hours. The Newville, Upper Frankford, Newburg-Hopewell, West Pennsboro, Vigilant Hose and Cumberland Valley Hose companies operated at the scene.

For all you hose guys out there that would get into it with me about truckman and wagon guys you can stop now. After 17 years on a truck company Sunday I started the final stop of my career. That's right I am on a wagon, driving Wagon 3 uptown.

I guess no one gives a shit if I skip the days I have nothing prepared for since only one person bothered to say anything. E4LT I will send that days personally to you.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Firemen Answer High Street Call Wednesday

The following article is exactly as it appeared in the September 8, 1950 edition of the News Chronicle. The past two years I featured working fires, I have no more in my data base for this day so excuse the easy post.

CV and Vigilant firemen answered a call at 215 High St., home of George Russell, early Wednesday, to extinguish a small fire in a summer kitchen supposedly started by an overheated flue. CV hosemen were on the scene first but were forced to retire in favor of the Vigilant's when their apparatus failed to force any water through the hose.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Blog Headers...

Today's post is like yesterday's, just filling space. If your answer yesterday was that you didn't want to just see space fillers sorry but this was uploaded and posted the same time as yesterdays. These are the eight blog headers I have used in the almost three years of posting to this site. I never numbered them so I do not know the order they appeared except for the one with no lettering was first and the last one is the present. Some of you have been here since the beginning and have seen all of these in the past others may be new and are now seeing them for the first time. I guess it is about time to make a new one.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Filling Space...

Sometimes I come across days that I have no more major incidents to report. At times I fill them by featuring a rig from Shippensburg or a county fire company. Some days I just skip because I have nothing at all prepared. That is the case today but I had these two adds ready so I decided to post them. The first one is of the Goodwill ambulance in Chambersburg taken from a 1926 trade journal. The second add for Alco-lite ladders contained the 1959 CV American LaFrance engine and is from a 1960's Fire Engineering magazine. When I have days like these would you rather I skip the post or post something else from the past like I did today? Click on the photos for a larger version and to read the captions.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Suspicious Fire Damages Barn

On September 3, 1998 just before 3 p.m. firefighters were alerted to a barn fire at the Roxbury Behavioral Health Care facility. Little information was provided about the fire other than that it damages the interior of a barn on the property but firefighters manages to save the building. The blaze was ruled undetermined but suspicious and a damage estimate was not available. The West End Fire and Rescue, Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose, South Newton, Newburg-Hopewell and Pleasant Hall Fire companies battled the blaze.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Fire At Chambersburg Waste Paper Company

On September 2, 2005 at 6:45 p.m. firefighters were dispatched to 2047 Loop Road, Guilford Township Franklin County for a building fire. A fast moving fire destroyed a 75,000 square foot building occupied by the Chambersburg Waste Paper Co. Inc. At least 25 pieces of fire apparatus and almost 100 firefighters battled the four alarm equivalent blaze. Apparatus remained on the scene until about 3 a.m. Smoke could be seen as far away as Shippensburg and Hagerstown. Damages were estimated ay $5 million dollars. One civilian was slightly injured. The Chambersburg, Franklin's, Waynesboro, Fayetteville, Greencastle, New Franklin, St. Thomas, Marion, Fannett-Metal, Mercersburg, Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies operated at the scene along with others not mentioned in the various articles used to make this post. According to some reports as many as 20 tankers responded to the scene along with the units from Franklin and Cumberland mentioned and additional units from Cumberland, Adams, Fulton, Huntington and Washington County Maryland. Some units returned about 12 hours later for a rekindle. Sometimes like this a big fire makes many of the local news papers these days but the reporters concentrate more on the human interest side of the story and tell little of the firefighting operations, often it makes one wonder if a FD responded. This is quite different from articles printed about fires up until around 1990's.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Garfield Street Garage Burns

On September 1, 1969 at 2:50 p.m. firemen were dispatched to 204 East Garfield Street for a garage fire. A suspicious fire destroyed a two-car wood frame garage. Damages were estimated at $2,500. The Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies responded.