Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Jackson Gerhart

The last three years I posted jobs from 1909, 1989 and 1997 along with hat I will be posting today. I have no more major incidents to report for this date. On November 30, 2004, Jackson Gerhart a retired fireman from the Washington D.C. fire department and a Shippensburg volunteer was severely injured when he apparently fell from the rear of an engine and struck his head while attempting to lay a supply line on a house fire. Jack was flown to York hospital in serious condition. The alarm was turned in at 1006 hours for 541 E. Washington Street and gutted a second floor bedroom causing $10,000 in damages. This post has been made every year since the blog started and will be continue as long as the site is up and running.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Borough House Damaged In Fire

On November 28, 1998 at 11:02 p.m. Cumberland County 911 dispatched firefighter to 314 N. Morris Street for a house fire. A short in an extension cord started a fire that did heavy damage to a 1-½ story brick house and displaced a family of five. Firefighters had the blaze under control in five to ten minutes. Two cats perished in the fire. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies answered the alarm along with personnel from Waynesboro and Marion that were covering WEFR's apparatus while they held their annual banquet.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Barn Burns On Olde Scotland Road

On November 27, 1983 at 4:44 p.m. units were sent to 4761 Olde Scotland Road for a barn fire. A fire of undetermined origin destroyed a barn and hay. The farm equipment was removed before the fire department arrived. Damages were estimated at $10,000. Firefighters were on the scene four hours. The Fayetteville, Franklin, New Franklin, Letterkenny and West End Fire and Rescue Company operated at the scene.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Kitchen Fire Damages Mobile Home

On November 26, 1973 in afternoon hours firemen were sent to Route 533 in Pleasant Hall for a mobile home fire. A fire that started in a kitchen of an occupied mobile home caused $10,000 damage. Firefighters were on the scene 1-½ hours. The Pleasant Hall and West End Fire and Rescue companies operated at the scene.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Metal Twp. Barn Destroyed

On November 25, 2004 (Thanksgiving Day) at 12:16 p.m. Franklin County alerted units to a barn fire at 1747 Creek Road, Metal Township, box 21-01. A fire of undetermined origin destroyed the barn and milking equipment. About 50 firefighter from 10 companies battled the blaze for nearly three hours. A damage estimate was not available. The Fannett-Metal, Metal Twp., Pleasant Hall, West End Fire and Rescue, St Thomas, Mercersburg, Shade Gap, McConnellsburg, Hustontown and Cumberland Valley Hose companies operated at the scene.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Firefighters Extinguish Fire In Southampton Franklin

On November 24, 2009 at 5:30 p.m. Franklin County 911 alerted units to a house fire in Box 15-1, 1768 Orrstown Road, Southampton Twp., Franklin County. Units arrived to find a two story frame dwelling with light smoke showing. A small fire was located in a second floor bedroom and was quickly contained with the use of a crosslay. The second floor suffered smoke damage and slight water damage occurred on the first and second floors. Two civilians were slightly injured and transported to Chambersburg Hospital. A damage estimate was not given. The West End Fire and Rescue, Cumberland Valley Hose, Vigilant Hose and Pleasant Hall Fire companies answered the alarm.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Careless Smoking Cause Fire

On November 23, 2002 at 1:46 a.m. firefighters were sent to 151 Gardner Drive, Shippensburg Mobile Estates for a fire. Smoking in bed caused a fire that did considerable damage to an occupied mobile home. About 35 firefighters had the blaze under control in 20 minutes and remained on the scene for almost two hours. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose, West End Fire and Rescue, Franklin County Air 10 and Newville fire companies battled the blaze.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Mountain Fire In Horse Valley

On November 22, 1990 (Thanksgiving Day) at 4:30 p.m. firefighters were dispatched to Horse Valley for a mountain fire. Approximately 75 firefighters from nine fire companies battled the hard to reach fire until almost 3 a.m. About 15 to 20 acres of state game lands burned more than a mile from the nearest dirt road. Firefighters were transported as far as they could on four-wheel drive vehicles before hiking in the final distance. No injuries were reported and a cause went undetermined. The Pleasant Hall, West End Fire and Rescue, Vigilant Hose, Fayetteville, Franklin, St. Thomas, Newburg-Hopewell, Fannett-Metal and Letterkenny fire companies answered the alarm.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Runaway Freight Cars Crash Into WMRR Train

On November 21, 1898 around 10 p.m. three Reading RR freight cars loaded with coal broke free and traveled down an incline before crashing into a Western Maryland freight train just beyond the Burd Street crossing. Upon impact the caboose was destroyed and came to rest on a flat car in front of it along with the first car loaded with coal. A burning stove in the caboose soon caused a fire that destroyed the three cars. An alarm of fire was sounded and within a few minutes firemen were on the street guided to the scene by the glow in the sky. The accident being located so close to the Branch Creek a bucket brigade was formed quickly and along with the Cumberland Valley Hose Company that attached their line to the plug at Moorhead's quickly had the blaze extinguished.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Local Companies Extinguish Journal Box

I have been having trouble this month coming up with some posts, it is compounded by the fact that from the end of September to the middle of November is spent traveling to photograph wildlife. When I posted the photos Dave sent I pitched the idea then of others sending photos or articles, if someone out there sent some in I would be able to skip less days. Being a railroad buff this was a neat article for me, the older people will know what these were but for you younger guys I guess you will just have to goggle it.

On November 20, 1968 at 2:20 a.m. KGD-556 sent firemen to Pinola next to the Baer Feed Supply for a journal box ablaze on a tank car. The Western Maryland Railroad dispatcher in Hagerstown, Md. contacted the Shippensburg Civil Defense room to alert them to the blaze. The tanker was uncoupled from the freight train and pushed to siding. It was never mentioned what the tank car was carrying. Damages were minor being confined to the oil soaked wicks according to WEFR Chief Crawford Wiestling. It took firemen about 30 minutes to control the stubborn blaze. The West End Fire and Rescue and Vigilant Hose companies answered the alarm of fire. The CV community ambulance also answered two calls for the day.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Fire Strikes Roxbury Road House

On November 19, 1990 at 2:20 p.m. firefighters were dispatched to a house fire at10877 Roxbury Road, Runshaw's Gun Shop. A blaze that began in a wall behind a wood stove quickly extended to the attic. Firefighters worked the fire for over one and a half hours. Damages were estimated at $15,000. The Pleasant Hall, Newburg-Hopewell, West End Fire and Rescue, Vigilant Hose and Cumberland Valley Hose companies operated at the scene.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thanks Again To Dave Myers...

I would like to thank Dave Myers for sending me some more photographs to post on the blog, without them I was going to skip this day since I was out of major incidents to report. These were taken by him at a fire on the Baltimore Road, Shippensburg Township on April 23, 1982. He passed along other photos of this fire that I posted on Friday October 22, 2010, click the date to be taken to them. Click this link to be taken to the post on the fire. I made mention earlier that Engine 152 the boro Bruco was on a plug at Queen and Walnut, after looking at these photographs I see it was at the plug at Queen and Garfield Streets. I think at that time the Vigilants carried 3,300 feet of LDH, it looks as if it was all used and that dual 3 inch lines had to be used to a manifold to supply the LDH going to Engine 352. I wouldn't want to have to pick up all that hose today. Remember clicking on the photos will make them get larger.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Unattended Cooking Causes Blaze

On November 17, 1973 at 4:30 p.m. firemen were sent to the Valley Trailer Court in Greenvillage for a trailer fire. A pan of grease on the stove started a fire that completely destroyed an occupied mobile home and damaged two others. Four people were displaced by the blaze. Damages were estimated at $10,000. The West End Fire and Rescue, Fayetteville, Franklin and Letterkenny fire companies answered the alarm. The CV community ambulance also made three runs for the day.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mobile Home Damages In Afternoon Blaze

On November 16, 1989 in the afternoon hours firefighters were sent to Newburg R. D. 1 for a mobile home fire. A faulty installed wood stove in the basement of a mobile home caused a fire that did heavy damage to the basement and a first floor bedroom. Damages were estimated at $7,000. The Newburg-Hopewell, Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies operated at the scene.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Nothing To Post Today...

I am out of runs and out of space fillers that are ready, I had today skipped and then I found this. Does anyone out there know that this site exist Shippensburg Area Emergency Medical Services. I didn't until recently surfing unto it. I remember the site they used to have that was linked to this blog but after it disappeared I deleted it. This one is now in the links to the right along with the three fire companies and Bill Strites WEFR site and two new ones I just added yesterday, the CCVFA and the FCFCA. Is there any others out there that I do not know about? If you have face book pages I do not know about those because I do not use face book, that's right I don''t want to be pestered by people I have not seen since school and did not want to see then. If you know of any others please post them in the comments so I may add them to the links on the right. I would like to have links on here for all the Cumberland and Franklin County Fire Company web sites but I do not want all those scrolling down the side if I can figure out how to make folders or do it a way that I like it then they will show up on here. Also later this week I have another day with nothing to post, Dave Myers was kind enough to send me some more photos that will be posted that day, I will ask here for the last time if any one else has any they want to see on here or anything to contribute it would be appreciated. This site can only be as good as the followers.

While I am here I will plug my other site, Bradley Myers Photography. It is a daily photography blog that I post to four times a week for any of you that have never been there. Most of the posts are wildlife like whitetails or elk but there is the occasional fire post from Shippensburg, Harrisburg or someplace close.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Barn Destroyed Near Leesburg

On November 14, 1922 at 11:00 p.m. firemen were sent to the Carrie Railing farm, tenanted by William Neff on the Walnut Bottom Road in the area of Leesburg for a barn fire. A fire of unknown origin destroyed a large barn, wagon shed and hog pen. Lost in the buildings were two calves, some machinery, all the corn crop, hay, fodder and straw. A damage estimate was not available. When the local fire companies arrived they were of little help because of the lack of water. The Vigilant Hose and Cumberland Valley Hose companies responded to the scene.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Shed Destroyed In Late Night Blaze

On November 13, 1968 at 12:30 a.m. firemen were sent to Shippensburg R. D. 1, Hopewell Twp. for a shed fire. A shed used for storage was destroyed in a fire of unknown origin. The building was well involved when the first fire apparatus arrived on the scene. A damage estimate was not available. The Newburg-Hopewell and Vigilant Hose companies operated at the scene. Earlier in the afternoon the three Shippensburg fire companies extinguished a chimney fire at 98B Locust Street, Shippensburg. The Cumberland Valley Community ambulance also made three runs for the day.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Basement Fire In Leesburg

On November 12, 1968 in the evening hours firemen responded to a reported house fire in Leesburg. A faulty furnace started a fire in the air duct that burned into the flooring. The house sustained smoke damage. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose Company answered the alarm. The Cumberland Valley Community ambulance made one run for the day.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Vacant Furniture Factory Burns

On November 11, 2005 at 1:45 a.m. firefighters were sent to Center Mills Road Aspers, Adams County for a building fire. A massive blaze destroyed a 121-year-old vacant furniture factory formerly operated by Keystone Furniture Company. Numerous exposures were threatened by the massive blaze but firefighters were able to keep the fire from spreading to them. No water was available and tankers had to be used to shuttle water to the scene. Firefighters were still on the scene the following morning. More than 400 firefighters from Adams, Cumberland, Franklin, York and Dauphin counties as well as Carroll and Frederick counties in Maryland responded to the five-alarm blaze. One firefighter was injured. A damage estimate was not available. The Aspers, Biglerville, Mt. Holly, Bendersville, Gettysburg and Vigilant Hose companies responded to the fire along with many others not mentioned in the articles.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Woods Fire Extends To House

On November 10, 2005 at 10:40 a.m. firefighters were alerted to a fire on the East Creek Road, Hopewell Township. A fire started in the woods and spread rapidly by strong winds extended to a home causing extensive damage before being brought under control. As the flames spread through the woods and threatened nearby corn fields farmers used their equipment to make a fire line and stop the spreading blaze. Firefighter from six companies operated on the scene for several hours. A damage estimate was not available. The Vigilant Hose, Newburg-Hopewell, Newville, South Newton, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies operated at the scene.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Barn And Out Buildings Destroyed In Afternoon Fire

On November 9, 1930 in the afternoon hours firemen were sent to Mowersville for a barn fire. A fire of undetermined origin destroyed a barn, large hog pen, double chicken house and a pump house. Lost with the buildings was a Reo truck, four cows, one calf, two hogs, 70 to 100 chickens, crops and most of the farm machinery. The Vigilant's with the use of a chemical line were able to cave the silo while a bucket brigade was used to save the house and garage. Damages were estimated at $10,000. The Vigilant Hose Company battled the blaze.

Monday, November 8, 2010

One Injured In Garage Fire

On November 8, 2003 at 10:33 p.m. Franklin County 911 alerted units to a garage fire at 3800 block Letterkenny Road, Greene Township. A fire of undetermined origin destroyed a garage and threatened exposures. Firefighters from five companies had the blaze under control in 11 minutes. One civilian was injured. Units cleared the scene shortly after midnight. A damage estimate was not available. The Pleasant Hall, Letterkenny, Franklins, Vigilant Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies operated at the scene. Additional tankers were requested but cancelled while enroute.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Franklin County Communications Center Part 2

In June 1975 William Sturtavent was appointed Civil Defense Director of Franklin County. At this time most of the bugs had been worked out of the system and the only major problem was to keep the equipment operational and on line. In the summer of 1977 the Communications Center was moved to the second floor of the Chambersburg Trust Company Building due to the home being torn down to make way for a new court house where the communications center will be. Also at this time, due to the increased radio traffic, it was necessary to change the primary dispatch channel, which then gave the fire departments another fire ground channel.

February 1978 saw another change in directors with the appointment of Jere Gonder, a retired federal firefighter, as Civil Defense Director and Communications Director for Franklin County. After Franklin County was alerted and placed on standby for possible relocation of victims from T.M.I., everyone in the Civil Defense staff worked 24 hours a day for over a week, Mr. Gonder started making plans for a new communications center in the court house. January 1980 saw another change when the new communications center became operational. The new center was equipped with a Centracom Series I Console, 7 channel (high band) Med base, single channel police base, Veritech alarm panel and several other features new to Franklin County.

The winter of 1983 was long and cold, and with the increased workload it became necessary for the county commissioners to divide the positions of Emergency Management Agency Director and Communications Director. Robert Nye was then appointed Communications Director, and he set about the task of acquiring additional equipment to streamline the operation and additional personnel to handle the ever-increasing workload. In the summer of 1986 the commissioners agreed to staff the center from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. with two full time dispatchers. One man was still on from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. In January 1987 the center was staffed 24 hours per day with two dispatchers.

Due to poor communications in the southern end of the county, the commissioners approved $130,000 to purchase a Med 10 base, township, fire channel 1 and 3 and police 1 and 3 microwaves for a tower site located at Ft. Richie. This new tower site greatly enhanced the centers capability of communicating with units in the southern and of the county especially the Blue Ridge Summit and Mercersburg areas.

In 1977 the County Commissioners went on record supporting a county wide 911 communications system, and also appointed several emergency services personnel to study a 911 system with possible implementation. The 911 communications system became the focal point of several elections and in January 1988 after Gerald Flasher was appointed Communications Director under the direction of Phil Tarquino, Emergency Management Agency Director, 911 finally looks to be in the near future for Franklin County residents.

Mr. Flasher started in January 1988 to plan and design a new communications center that would accommodate a 911 system. On September 1, 1988 all the consoles, computers and other essential equipment was moved to a temporary location in the county E.O.C. where it was home for eight months. September 1st the commissioners placed an order for a Motorola Centracom Series II console costing $180,000. At the same time a contract was awarded for $45,000 to completely remodel the communications center which increased the operational area four times what it was. Construction was started on December 1st and was completed on February 14, 1989. The installation of the new consoles started on March 28, 1989 and on May 1 the new center went on line. Some of the features of the new center were a Dictaphone call check system, upgrade internal alarm system, Com Centrics phone system with automatic dialer's, phone patch system, new alerting tones that differentiate between medical, rescue and fire emergencies. The system is computer operated and offers streamlines dispatching that is almost infallible. Although the bugs are still being worked out at this time the commissioners, Mr. Flasher, the dispatchers and the public of Franklin County have a new communications center that would make any Comm. Center Director green with envy.

Presently plans and negotiations are under way with the United Telephone Company to install and implement a 911 system in Franklin County, which has proved to be invaluable to persons in need all over the country.

As stated yesterday this article is reprinted exactly as it appeared in the CVVFA convention book in 1989. I did not check to verify the facts. Eventually I should pull the books from 1989 to present and update this entry to the present. As with the photographs sent to me if anyone out there would like to type an article to be posted on this site just do so and send it to me, when a day comes around that I have nothing to post I would be more than happy to post it. Also if anyone out there has anything to add to this please leave it in the comment sections, there is a few of you out there that were around for this and have a first hand account that could shed some more light on the subject.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Basement Fire In Old Oakville School

On November 5, 2007 at 7:40 p.m. Cumberland County Headquarters alerted a 47 Box to the old Oakville School, 520 Oakville Road, North Newton Twp. for a building fire. Units arrived to find a small fire in the basement next to a wood stove extending up the wall and across the ceiling. Quick work with a line from Newville's engine contained the fire to the area of origin. Units remained on the scene for over an hour ventilating the building. A damage estimate was not available. I am not sure what units responded to the blaze but the Newville, Cumberland Valley Hose, Vigilant Hose, Newburg-Hopewell and South Newton Twp. fire companies answered the call.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Franklin County Communications Center Part 1

I am out of major incidents for this date so this is my space filler for today. A few weeks ago a couple of people alluded to the communications center in the Junior’s fire hall. I id not have the answers but found this printed in the 1989 CVVFA convention book. It was compiled by John E. Emmons and is reprinted in its entirety today and tomorrow.

In 1955 the Borough of Chambersburg saw a need for some type of communications between the apparatus on the scene of an emergency and a central dispatch center that was manned 24 hours per day. At this time the Borough purchased 10 single channel mobile radios and 5 portables for use by the fire department. The base station was placed in police headquarters where it was answered by the on duty officers, who would also call additional apparatus if needed. Then in 1957 after several confrontations with the police and fire department, a central dispatch center was established at the Junior Hose and Truck Company in Chambersburg, where a countywide fire phone was installed.

This center was manned by paid apparatus drivers from the Chambersburg Fire Department and volunteers from the Juniors. Even after this base was installed and operational most emergency calls still went to the individual fire stations.

In 1968 several county wide fire department officers, State Police, the sheriff and township supervisors felt that a central county wide communications center was needed in Franklin County. At this time negotiations were started with the County Commissioners and in January 1970 the Communications Center, under the direction of Crawford Wiestling went on line. The center was operational 24 hours per day, with three dispatchers working eight-hour shifts. The center had a two-channel low band radio for the 16 county fire companies, and a single channel low band radio for the 5 police departments. This system operated off of a 50-foot tower, which was located behind the courthouse, and after proving very ineffective was moved atop a water tank on Reservoir Hill in Chambersburg.

In 1970 after funding was secured from the county commissioners, the Penna. Civil Defense Agency, land was donated by a local businessman and a 60 foot tower was installed on the North mountain, eight miles north west of town. Even though there were still some spots in the county inaccessible to communications, this tower was a great advancement for the county. Also at this time due to a significant increase in radio traffic, a second channel was installed for the fire service, which was used for fire ground communications.

The summer of 1971 saw Tom Hawthorne take over the reins as the Civil Defense Director for Franklin County. As with the proceeding 3 years the next 4 years saw the communications center expand and improve to provide better service to the citizens of Franklin County. Due to several problems with communications in the county, a new 00 foot tower was installed on the north mountain, and at the same time radios were placed in the emergency rooms of both Chambersburg and Waynesboro Hospitals, for communications with incoming ambulances.

With the inception of the air medical service in Vietnam, it was decided that heliports were needed at the hospitals. Mr. Hawthorne had all materials donated by local businessmen, and the labor donated by C. D, 1ST Battalion, 103rd Armor Division of the Penna. National Guard, and the Mechanics Steam Fire Engine and Hose Co. No. 1 of Waynesboro. The National Guard constructed one for the Chambersburg Hospital and the Mechanics constructed one for the Waynesboro Hospital. At this time the air service was provided by the Pa. State Police based in Harrisburg. Also in the summer of 1971 the 15 townships in Franklin County were linked to the Communications Center via the airwaves, which over the last 18 years has proved to be a very valuable asset many times over.

To be continued.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Shed Destroyed In Blaze

On November 3, 1991 at 3:00 p.m. firefighters were sent to Mountain Road Upper Mifflin Township for a shed fire. A fire of undetermined origin completely destroyed a frame shed and its contents. A damage estimate was not available. No additional information was given. The Vigilant Hose, Newburg-Hopewell and Newville fire companies operated at the scene.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Chambersburg Fire Alarm System

Out of major incidents to report for this date I will stick with a subject I started on last month, the Chambersburg Fire Department.

A resolution authorizing a contract with the Gamewell Company for the installation of a fire alarm system in Chambersburg was passed by Borough Council October 3, 1904, and approved by the Burgess October 12, 1904.

This system was installed in 1904 and 1905, when eleven fire alarm boxes were placed at the following locations:

No. 123 at Second and Grant Streets
No. 124 at Philadelphia Avenue and Vine Streets
No. 23 at Third and Market Streets
No. 24 at Fifth and Market Streets
No. 25 at Memorial Square
No. 32 at Main and Washington Streets
No. 33 at Lincoln (now Derbyshire) and Fairground Avenue
No. 34 at Main and South Streets
No. 35 at Third and Washington Streets
No. 42 at Market and Hood Streets
No. 43 at Market and Federal Streets

Additional fire alarm boxes have been placed year to year in other locations until today (1944) there are sixty alarm boxes in the city. When the alarm system was first installed, there were indicators locating the box numbers in the Cumberland Valley and Good Will houses.

The first alarm of fire over the Gamewell system came in at 1:05 p.m. July 1, 1905, form Box No. 43. The fire was in a double house owned by Christian Burkhart and located in Gas Alley (now Burkhart Avenue).

The alarm was turned in by Preston B. White. Coming down the hill, the Friendship and Good Will reels traveled too fast, almost causing serious injury to several firemen. The Good Wills ran into a pole at Brant’s Hotel (now location of Mill’s Filling Station (1944)) and a man at the tongue had a narrow escape. After the fire was over, someone sent in a false alarm from Box 42 at Brant’s Hotel.

The following was taken from Backward Glances written by Philip Bietsch II in 1944. I will be using this book for more upcoming articles. Does anyone know when the boxes were removed from Chambersburg? I do not know if I have that information in my files.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Faulty Chimney Causes House Fire

On November 1, 1998 at 2:47 p.m. units were sent to 570 Newville Road, Hopewell-Twp. for a chimney fire with extension. A faulty chimney caused a fire that did extensive damage to an occupied 2-½-story house. The blaze was confined to the attic with water damage to the second floor. A damage estimate was not available. Units remained on the scene for about one hour. The Newburg-Hopewell, Newville, Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies operated at the scene. Earlier in the day at 5:38 a.m. the three Shippensburg companies answered an AFA at 3, Industrial Drive and returned for another AFA at 8:56 a.m.