On this day. . .
- 1900- At 4:20 a.m. the tower bells hooked to the Gamewell system clanged out Box 24 . Heavy smoke and fire were located in the tightly congested area of Wyeth Avenue just north of Verbeke Street (today’s location would be about the rear of the townhouses in the 1300 block of N. Sixth Street /Renaissance St.). Arriving companies went to work laying lines, quickly building pressure in the boilers of the steamers and connecting to hydrants. A frame stable occupied by Thomas Mayer, confectioner and used for storage was totally destroyed. An adjoining stable occupied by James Lynch who owned both buildings was extensively damaged. The rear of 460 Verbeke Street owned by Hiram Starr estate and occupied by Adam Schutzenbach was badly scorched. Reichert’s back shop was also slightly damaged. A horse, wagon harness and other contents were saved however from the Lynch stable but the contents of Mayer’s were destroyed. Total loss was about $1,000. The fire was blamed on incendiarism (arson). Harrisburg’s firemen were publicly commended for their work, especially the Citizen Engine No. 3 for knocking down and confining the fire as it was involving frame buildings in a this old and congested area.
- 1887-Box 24 at Sixth and Cumberland was pulled at 7:30 p.m. for a fire at Sayford and Wyeth Streets. The frame stable owned and occupied by Thomas Liken, grocer was well off. Building was badly damaged, most of the contents destroyed and a horse was severely burned. Loss $300.(I walk through here once a week on my way to the library. Almost nothing reminds one of the way this neighborhood was many decades ago.)
- 1994-2309 hrs. 301 Seneca St . J J’s Tavern. Basement gutted. Smoke damage to the first and second floors. D Platoon second alarm.
- 1930-An old row of eight, two story frame houses were located at Ninth and State Streets. The row was originally built in the early 1800’s and housed the lock tenders for the Pennsylvania Canal Co. and for some reason known as “Cinder Row.” Since the building of the massive concrete Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Bridge in the late 1920’s, the row set vacant and semi-secluded, nearly underneath the big arches. Sometime after ten p.m. a fire of unknown origin but possibly suspicious, was started between the ceiling of the second floor and the roof of one of the houses. Box 192 and Cameron and State was “hooked” at 10:30 p.m. and the district companies worked hard fighting this stinky, smoky blaze to contain the damage to the lofts of three houses. Loss was about $800.
- 1989-2031 hrs. 209-11 Kelker St . Three story brick occupied row. Fire started in a TV in the second floor middle bedroom of 211. Bedroom contents destroyed with fire extension to the hallway and rear roof spaces. This fire was under control at 2122 with the companies out two hrs. Two lines pulled. Occupants displaced. Overall loss was $16,100; minor roof damage to 209 Kelker. A Platoon, second alarm.
- 1905-At 6:20 a.m. a Pennsylvania Railroad telegraph operator in Harrisburg’s Union Station urgently took down a message then called Police headquarters looking for Fire Chief Charles A. Garverich. A rear end collision of two eastbound freight trains had occurred in Duncannon and the wreckage caught fire. Assistance was needed and Harrisburg was not only the department of choice, it was the closest fire department with steam fire engines. Immediately Garverich ordered the Friendship Engine No. 1 steamer and carriage as well as the Hope Engine No. 2 combination wagon loaded on a special train made up and waiting at the loading ramp at Third and Mulberry Streets. Awaiting clearance to move through the congested Harrisburg Station, a second telegram arrived canceling the move as it was determined it wasn’t needed any longer.