On this day. . .June 1st
1889-Torrential rains kept falling through the previous night. As water was rising in the Paxton Creek area Hartman’s Tannery caught fire on Tenth St. near State. At 3:15 a.m. the fire house bells began to toll out first Box 41 located at the Philadelphia & Reading depot at Eighth and Market followed by Box 5 located at State and Cowden Streets. The fire originated from water slacking lime and setting fire to the building. It was a total loss at $10,000. Firemen were hard put to work the fire, standing in waist deep water operating the hydrant supplied hose lines. Only the hose carriages of the companies were taken into the swirling flood water as the height of the water would have washed the fire from the steamer’s boilers. Fireman Edward Looker of the Friendship Engine No. 1 sustained a severe head injury when he was struck by a branchpipe after the Friendship hose crew lost control of the line. The pet dog of the Mt. Pleasant Engine No. 8 drowned at Tenth and Market when it attempted to follow the boys of that company to the fire. The Shamrock Hose No. 11 had its own troubles at the time of the alarm, as its frame station was in danger of being swept away by the turbulent flood waters of the adjacent Paxton Creek and as a result did not respond to the fire.
- 1911-At six minutes to eight this cool evening Box 13 at Race and Paxton registered on the firehouse indicators. Immediately before that workmen from the Kingan Provision Company packing house ran across the busy intersection of Second and Vine Streets and alerted the Paxton Engine No. 6. Arriving Paxton firemen found heavy smoke issuing from a two story frame building approximately 50’ x 25.’ Fire Chief Charles Garverich struck the general alarm (2-2-2) at 8:00 p.m. The intense smoke made operations difficult and it took three hours to bring the fire under control. Three firemen were overcome by smoke-one seriously. Chief Garverich sprained an ankle when he was thrown to ground and a member of the Washington No. 4 was knocked unconscious by a wild hose line. Loss was estimated at $35,000.
- 1941-Box 221 at Cameron and Magnolia was struck by someone during the early morning hours of June 1, 1941. The alarm proved to be false. While standing near the Paxton Engine No. 6, which he had ridden to the alarm, paid fireman William Metzger, age 28, was struck by a fast moving car. He was taken to Harrisburg Hospital where he died several hours later. Fireman Metzger was the regular driver of the ambulance and at the time was living at the Paxton firehouse. He was off duty when the incident occurred. Fireman Metzger was survived by his parents and a brother and sister.
- 1906-Just around midnight, smoke was discovered issuing from the rambling one story brick structure of the E.N. Cooper foundry and machine works in the Eighth Ward. Located at 130 Short Street (today’s location would be roughly a block north of Walnut Street near Commonwealth Ave.- http://www.old8thward.com/48.htm the vacant lot to the right side of the photo-building in the background is Old City Hall Apartments) Box 131 at Fourth and Walnut came in at 12:01 a.m. followed by Box 5 at State and Cowden turning out the entire department of twelve companies. As the first alarm’s companies arrived, fire broke through the roof and the building was soon a mass of flames. The fire was very spectacular and at one point it was feared radiant heat would ignite and fan the fire into a conflagration in this closely built and congested area. For a time the buildings of the Harrisburg Power & Light Company were threatened but employees on duty there “held” the fire with a house line of hose until the department could get in service. The Wesley Union A.M.E. Church at South Street and Tanners Alley was also threatened but firemen made a good stand and stopped the fire from spreading in this direction. The fire was of undetermined origin but some officials leaned to the fact of a flare up of a dormant forge fire. No loss figures were released.