|Pottsville Republican of May 24, 1920
FACTORY FIRE AT SCHUYLKILL HAVEN
At noon on Tuesday, fire broke out at the Schuylkill Haven Casket Factory in Schuylkill Haven in the engine room and caused damage
to the amount of $1000, entirely covered by insurance. The fire was discovered by the firemen who had not yet gone to their dinner,
and they at once closed the heavy doors leading to the main plant and confined the fire to the boiler house and engine room. The
plant is situated along the Reading Railroad and it was difficult to get a good supply of water quickly, when the fire companies
responded. It is supposed that sparks from the fire box ignited a large pile of shavings, which were to be used for fuel, and at once
the engine room was in a blaze.
The main building is of brick and there was little danger of this part catching on fire, but there was a large supply of lumber which was
in danger. The three Schuylkill Haven fire companies responded at once to the alarm, the Humane and American companies of
Pottsville and the two Cressona companies were called and they succeeded in confining the blaze to the boiler and engine room.
The fire will not cause a suspension for although the plant was using steam for power, they are equipped with electricity and can
carry on their work without any difficulty. When the Pottsville fire apparatus reached Mount Carbon bridge two autos were found to
be figuring in a head on collision, one of the cars being owned by L. Weiner. The firemen assisted in separating the cars before they
could get over the bridge. Outside of a general smashup of the headlights, there was not much damage done.
|Pottsville Republican of June 30, 1919
COSTLY FIRE AT SCHUYLKILL HAVEN
Fire broke out in the skating rink on lower Main Street, Schuylkill Haven, shortly after nine o'clock Monday morning and destroyed
the Rink, the Mayberry blacksmith shop next door, badly damaged the Bittler garage, and slightly damaged three houses and the
Reider Shoe Factory. The alarm of the fire was sounded about eight minutes after the fire started, but the milk train was on the
railroad crossing and this delayed the firemen for a time so that the fire gained headway. The skating rink has for sometime past
been used as a storage house and contained about eight autos, some household goods and a quantity of lumber. This was
completely destroyed as was also the Mayberry blacksmith shop. Three houses, owned and occupied by Paul Naffin, owner of the
skating rink, William Quinter and John Hirst were damaged by fire and water. In the Hirst home a woman with her one day old baby
were carried from the house to escape the fire. The Meck and Reber factory was damaged but not to any great extent.
The fire is supposed to have started from a small vulcanizing plant beneath the skating rink. The three fire companies of Schuylkill
Haven responded and had several streams of water playing on the fire. A Cressona chemical also came to their assistance. The
water supply was poor and caused a considerable amount of trouble. The Pottsville companies were appealed to and Chief
Stevenson ordered the Good Intent to go at once to the scene of the fire. The Good Intent arrived about the same time as the
Schuylkill Haven companies, about nine minutes being required to make the run.
It was not more then an hour before the entire disaster and the buildings were in ruins. It is estimated that the loss will reach
$30,000. Naffin, who is the heaviest loser, says that his loss is only partly covered by insurance. The contents of the rink alone were
worth thousands of dollars. The place contained a $3000 organ, a full set of plumbing implements, which had been stored there and a
large machine used for making cement bricks. They were totally destroyed. The vulcanizing plant, owned by Anthony Savoir, where
the fire started, was also ruined and the loss is large. At noon the smoke had almost entirely disappeared and the Liberty Fire
Company was the only one remaining to see that the fire did not break out in any place again. Schuylkill Haven people are aroused
over the matter of the train remaining on the crossing, resulting in a loss of valuable time to the firemen. It is said that the Schuylkill
Haven people will take the matter before the officials.
**NOTE: Naffin was the father of Harry Naffin, former owner of Messner and Hess and frequent provider of information to this site.
The rink was located where Boyer's Market now stands.
|Pottsville Republican of August 22, 1917
LIGHTNING CAUSED TWO FIRES AT SCH HAVEN WITH LOSS OF $50,000
Lightning on Tuesday evening caused two fires at Schuylkill Haven, the first one being discovered in the planing mill of Meck and
Keever, located on Railroad Street below Main and the second one at the underwear mill of Baker Brothers located to the rear of
Saint John Street south of Market Street. The total damage will reach $50,000 according to a conservative estimate. The loss to the
Meck-Keever planing mill will reach almost $6000 and the total loss to Baker Bros will be something over $40,000 partly covered by
insurance. Only the splendid work of the firemen prevented the flames from the Baker structure from reaching other buildings and
residences close by. There was considerable damage done by the flames shooting out of the Baker building but no other buildings
or residences were destroyed.
When the terrible crash of thunder came following two sharp flashes of lightning on Tuesday evening, there was a cry of fire from
Saint John Street and an alarm was sent in. There had been flames discovered at the boiler house of the planing mill. The firemen
responded and succeeded in checking this fire before it reached the buildings where the lumber was stored. The fire however did
considerable damage to the boiler and machines. The efforts of everyone were turned to the planing mill and no one knew anything
of the fire at Baker's.
People residing in Smoketown soon ran to the planing mill fire and made it known that there was a fire at Baker Bros. Mill. The
firemen then put a force of men on guard at the planing mill with a stream in case of another outbreak and went to the Baker fire.
When they got there the entire lower portion of the building was afire and the flames shot through to the upper story as the firemen
prepared their streams for the building. Seeing it was a bad situation they sent for the Pottsville department and the Good Will and
the Humane sent their trucks and the Humane a steamer. For almost two hours the firemen battled with the fire here and finally
succeeded in getting the building to fall in on one side so they could confine it. The diligent work of the firemen and the fact that
there was no wind saved the other buildings and the residences in that vicinity.
The Zimmerman home about sixty feet from the Baker mill, was afire several times but each time the firemen succeeded in
extinguishing it before any serious damage resulted. The Zimmerman home was vacant, the tenants moving out last week, but Mrs.
Zimmerman had some furniture stored in the house. The fire appeared to start near the motor room, lightning apparently having
entered through the opening just above the motor box. Within ten minutes of having being struck, half of the Baker mill was afire
and the flames were shooting out windows upstairs and down. The mill which is owned by Baker Bros. and Company was
successfully managed by Herbert Baker, son of Mr. and Mrs. Emanuel Baker, who live close by and George Long, a brother in law of
Baker. Both Baker and Long were at a camp at a place near Pinedale, having closed down the mill on Monday and giving the
employees a two weeks vacation.
A few months ago Baker spent several thousand dollars in adding a new section to the mill, owing to the increase in the business
and he also remodeled the building. The plant was said to be one of the most modern and sanitary mills in the state and the firm took
pride in keeping the machinery modern and all equipment of the very latest type. The loss to the building is about $8500, loss on raw
material including yarn and knitted goods ready for cutting about $9000, loss on machinery, equipment, etc. about $18,500 and loss on
finished products about $8,000, the losses being only partially covered by insurance.
When the fire broke out some of Baker's and Long's friends went to their camp and when they arrived in Schuylkill Haven, the mill
was a mass of flames. Mrs. Emanuel baker, mother of Herbert Baker, looked out her window at the destructive flames and watched
the building burn to the ground. She broke down several times and friends went in to comfort her.
The Baker mill closed down Monday and on Tuesday the score or more of employees reported to Miss Lucinda Clouser, forelady of
the mill, and received their pay in order that they might go on their vacations. Baker inspected the mill on Tuesday morning and
expected to have his cutters soon start work to prepare for work for the young ladies within another ten days. The mill was struck by
lightning on two other occasions but each time the blaze was only slight. If it had been discovered it could have easily been
extinguished this time as there were a dozen fire extinguishers about the mill at various points.
The electric lights in various parts of the town were out following the fire and there were a number of minor accidents. No one was
seriously hurt however, although a couple of the firemen suffered slight burns from the falling building. The firm will start to rebuild
in a short time. The Meck and Keever firm are making preparations for immediate repairs and they will have their plant back in shape
within a short time.
|Pottsville Republican of September 22, 1904
FIRE DESTROYS OLD BUILDING
Fire at about 2:30 o'clock this morning destroyed the old Peter Maguire homestead in Irish Flat at Schuylkill Haven. The property had
long ago passed into the hands of the P & R Company and of late was occupied by Italians. Only a few days ago the last tenant moved
out and another Italian family from Pottsville was to have moved in this week. Opinion is divided as to whether the fire was caused
by a locomotive spark or an incendiary. The fact that the entire house appeared to burst in flame from cellar to garret
instantaneously seems to favor the latter theory. The house was a mere shell and was not worth more then a couple of hundred
dollars. There was no wind, and the fire did no damage to adjoining properties, but burned itself out where it started. The Schuylkill
and Rainbow Hose Companies promptly responded to the alarm. Being greatly hampered by a very meager water supply, they paid no
attention to the doomed building, but devoted all their energies to saving surrounding property, being very ably assisted in their
work by a bucket brigade.
|Pottsville Republican of May 5, 1908
THREE MAY DIE AS RESULT OF SCHUYLKILL HAVEN FIRE
The accidental overturning of a lighted lamp in the home of John Boyer on High Street, Schuylkill Haven, at 3 o'clock this morning
resulted in a fire that completely destroyed that house and the adjoining residence of Charles Shappell, together with the partial
destruction of the dwelling occupied by Frank Swartz. The scene of the fire was upon the steep part of High Street on the west side,
just above Union Street. The Boyer and Shappell families occupied a double block which was owned by W. Irvin Henry of Tamaqua,
and below this house was the single cottage occupied by Mr. Swartz. Above the Shappell house is D. M. Wagner's stable, which was
only saved by the most strenuous efforts of the firemen. The street is only twenty feet wide and the fronts of houses on the opposite
side occupied by Postmaster Huy and Oscar Barr were badly scorched and charred. The heat was so intense that it was almost
impossible for the firemen to work in the narrow street and the flying sparks kept residents in the neighborhood busy with buckets of
water protecting their own homes.
The instant the lamp was upset the fire swept with whirlwind rapidity through the Boyer house and communicated with the Shappell
house and by the time the firemen arrived both houses were aflame from cellar to garret.
In Mr. Boyer's household besides himself were his wife, Mrs. Wagner, her son Frantz and her daughter, Mrs. Oswald, together with
the latter's son Floyd. Mr. Shappell's household consisted of himself and his wife, their children, Earl, Beulah and Charles and Robert
and Anna Brown, children of Mrs. Shappell by her first husband.
In his efforts to save his family, Mr. Boyer was terribly burned about the head and shoulders. It is also feared that he inhaled the
flame and his death is feared. He was removed to the home of his brother-in-law, Milton Shappell on Margaretta Street where he lies
swathed in bandages and suffering excruciating pain. His wife escaped in safety but lost all of their clothing and practically all of
their household goods, while Mr. Boyer also lost $400 in cash which had been paid him the day before as part of his share of the
Boyer estate and which was in the pocket of his coat.
Mrs. Wagner was terribly burned about the face and arms and is also believed to have inhaled the flame. She was removed to the
home of her son, Isaac Wagner, further up High Street and suffers untold agony. The balance of her family escaped in safety but lost
The Shappell household escaped, most of them in scanty attire, but lost most of their household goods and as a result of the shock,
Mr. Shappell, who is subject to heart trouble, is very low with poor chances of his recovery. He is being tenderly cared for at the
home of Harry Guertler on High Street.
Frank Swartz and his wife moved out of their house as soon as the alarm was given and saved most of their effects which were
stored in the residences of neighbors.
With the three houses ablaze and the sparks flying at one time it was feared that this entire section of town, which is very closely
built up, would catch fire and Pottsville was telephoned to for aid, but the three local fire companies by most valiant work succeeded
in getting the fire under control in time to stop the Pottsville firemen just as they were about to leave that town.
The Boyer and Shappell block owned by Mr. Henne, valued at about $2500, is fully insured. The Swartz residence owned by Mr. Fahl
is valued at $2000, is fully insured. No insurance was carried by the tenants on their household goods.
Kind neighbors took in the homeless families and provided food and clothing while Manager Underwood, of Doutrich's and Company,
sent clothing to the needy ones. Various other donations have been made and others will not be amiss.
|Pottsville Republican of March 22, 1906
SCHUYLKILL HAVEN HAD A BIG FIRE LAST NIGHT
The largest and most costly fire in the history of Schuylkill Haven occurred last night when the knitting and storage departments of H.
Berger and Sons big underwear mill on Spring Garden Street was destroyed. The flames were first discovered in the boiler house,
the roof of which was ablaze. An alarm was sounded and the Friendship Hook and Ladder Company and the Rainbow Hose Company
immediately responded while the Schuylkill Hose Company came within a brief space of time. The Hookies turned their chemical
stream on the blaze and put out the fire on the boiler house roof, but the flames had communicated to the main part of the mill and
followed the stairways up the three floors to the roof. By the time the water streams were turned on the entire interior of the big
three story building was a seething cauldron of flames. The firemen had an ample water supply, the heavy construction and isolation
of the burning structure kept the flames confined and prevented their spread and although sparks rained like hail from the mill
windows on to nearby buildings, none were ignited owing to the fact that their roofs were covered with a foot of snow and the
watchful firemen turned a stream on whenever a burning brand landed on a dangerous spot.
Fearing a spread of the flames, at the very outset of the fire, Pottsville was asked for aid and at midnight the Humane steamer and
hose truck arrived. By that time the local fire companies had the fire under control, but the visiting company rendered signal
assistance of drowning out what still remained of the fire in the mill. The Humane Company remained on duty several hours and the
local companies continued to play on the ruins until six o'clock this morning when all the companies except the Rainbow were
dismissed, the latter remaining on duty all day to guard against any outbreak of flame.
The burned building was one of a group of three buildings, which comprised H. Berger and Sons mill. This structure was erected in
1886 by James Seyfert as a grist mill and was run as such until about 1887. It passed into the hands of the late George McWilliams
and was purchased from him by Mr. Berger in 1891. They first conducted a hosiery mill but in 1893 changed to the manufacture of
underwear, which they have continued to the present day. About two years ago a bleachery was added to the establishment, being
located to the rear of the burned building and in a separate brick structure. Last summer a large brick building was put up to the rear
of the bleachery and the finishing and packing departments and the office were removed thereto. Neither of these two buildings
were touched by the flames. The three buildings cover an extent of several acres and form the most complete underwear mill in this
section of the state. The payroll numbered 125 hands and the mill's output is close onto 3,000 dozen garments per week.
The burned building is forty by fifty feet in size with a boiler and engine room annex of forty by twenty feet. The main building
consists of a basement below, the street level and three stories above, while the boiler room is one story and the engine room two,
the floor above the engine being used as a shipping room. The nest of three big tubular boilers was not damaged by the fire and it is
believed the engine has suffered no damage. The basement of the mill was used for the storage of pipes, fittings, extra parts of the
machinery, etc. and much of this is rusted and ruined by water. On the ground floor were cases of goods ready for shipment and a lot
of yarn, some of this being completely destroyed by the flames and what escaped the fire is so water soaked and blackened by smoke
as to be useless. On the second floor are 36 knitting machines of the latest pattern and ten sleeving machines, representing a cost
of at least $12,000 which are completely ruined by fire and water. In addition there were yarns and goods in process of manufacture
that were eaten by the hungry flames, blackened by smoke and ruined by water.
The third floor contained cases of goods in storage and a lot of machinery that was not being used in the manufacture of this
season's goods and had been stored there, all of which was completely destroyed by the flames. The stout walls of the building, the
heavy timber flooring and the steel sheathed roof, while furnishing food for the flame for more then three hours, still stand, the
second floor in particular supporting the many tons of ruined machinery. Mr. H. Berger and Son estimate the loss on the building at
about $50,000. The destroyed machinery cost them about $15,000 and there were goods in process of manufacture and on storage to
the value of about $15,000, making a total loss of $35,000. This is heavily but not fully insured. The origin of the fire is a mystery and
although it was supposed to have started in the boiler house, an examination of the latter today showed it to be in the same
condition as when left last night.
|Pottsville Republican of September 12, 1906
LIGHTNING SETS FIRE TO A SCHUYLKILL HAVEN FACTORY
The underwear mill of the Eureka Knitting Mill Company at Schuylkill Haven was struck by lightning during a severe thunderstorm at
10 o'clock last night and was set on fire and totally destroyed. The mill was located in Dutch Flat, was of frame, 60 by 80 feet and two
and a half stories high. It contained twelve knitting machines, four sleevers and twenty finishing machines, besides engine and
boiler, fleecing machines, etc, and was a most up to date plant. The bolt struck the northeast corner where the fleecing room is
located and by the time the firemen were able to reach the scene the entire building was a mass of flames. The fire burned fiercely
for two hours before it was gotten under control and all the while menaced the big paper box factory of Saul and Zang which adjoined
the Eureka Mill on the south. The absence of wind and the strenuous efforts of the firemen saved the paper box factory as it was
ablaze a number of times. The Eureka Knitting Mill Company is composed of P. O. Detweiler, President, C. F. Schumacher, Charles
Keller and R. J. Hoffman, Secretary and Manager. Their loss is about $20,000 on building and machinery and $5000 on stock, with
about $12,000 worth of insurance. Saul and Zang building and stock were damaged to the extent of about $200 by fire and water.
A SECOND STORM AT SCHUYLKILL HAVEN TODAY
Another terrific thunderstorm passed over Schuylkill Haven at noon today, the electrical disturbance being considerably more
severe then last night. A large ball of fire struck the Bast Knitting mills. The bolt entered the plant, threw one of the girl employees
from her chair and stunned several others. The plant caught fire but the building was saved by means of extinguishers. The factory
has shut down temporarily. A large ball of fire struck the sidewalk nearly creating consternation in a large portion of the town. The
residence of F. B. Aldrich, Superintendent of Schuylkill Haven Gas and water Company ad the Pottsville Gas Company was struck by
lightning and damaged considerably.
|Pottsville Republican of May 3, 1900
BIG FIRE AT SCHUYLKILL HAVEN
A fire broke out at Schuylkill Haven about 1:45 o’clock this afternoon, which for a time threatened to destroy a large section of town.
The fire originated in the stable of Levi Kershner opposite the P & R freight station. The Pottsville fire department was asked for
assistance, but at 2:45 o’clock the conflagration was extinguished. About 1:45 o’clock, Albert Doudle, freight agent at the P & R
station, discovered smoke and flames issuing from the stable of Levi Kershner. He sent in the alarm, and the Schuylkill Hose
Company and the Rainbow Hose Company responded and soon had four streams on the burning building. Fanned by a brisk wind,
the flames soon spread to the two story brick stable of Harry Dohner and despite the work of the firemen Levi Hummel’s two and a
half story brick warehouse and stable was soon afire. A frame stable owned by Frank Kershner caught afire and burned fiercely, as
did also the stable of Oscar Sterner. The citizens now became alarmed and word was sent to Pottsville for assistance, but the
firemen soon had the blaze under control. At 2:30 o’clock the brick walls of Hummel’s warehouse fell in and the other buildings were
a mass of burning embers.
The loss will amount to about $4000, of which only a small part is covered by insurance. The warehouse of Levi Hummel contained
furniture and a wagon. His loss will amount to $1500, only a small portion being covered by insurance.
Levi Kershner’s loss will amount to about $1200. In the stable was a calf which was burned to death. A wagon, sleigh and butchering
implements were also destroyed. Kershner’s stable also contained about 100 chickens and pigeons which perished in the fire. His
loss is covered by only $500 insurance. Harry Dohner’s two story brick stable was a total loss. His insurance had run out and as he
intended to convert the building into a factory, failed to have it renewed. Frank Kershner’s loss will amount to $500 on which there is
no insurance. The fire, it is supposed was caused by children who had built a fire near Kershner’s stable. All the buildings were two
story frame ones excepting Dohner’s and Hummel’s which were brick.
At a few minutes before 2:00 o’clock this afternoon there came a call by phone at the police headquarters to which Officer Graeff
responded. The officer learned it was a call from Schuylkill Haven for help from our fire department to aid in subduing a fire which
had gotten the upper hand of the fire department in that town.
The officer lost no time in securing the consent of N. C. Morrison and G. A. Doerflinger, members of the Council Committee on Fire
Apparatus, to send the engine and carriage of the Good Intent. No sooner had members of the company driven to the Reading depot
to load up the fire apparatus than word came that their services were not needed because the firemen and citizens of that town were
on a fair way to conquer the flames. In less then fifteen minutes after the message was received consent was obtained from the
committee and the fire machines were waiting at the station to be loaded.
|Pottsville Republican of November 4, 1921
EXPLOSION AT SCHUYLKILL HAVEN MILL
Shortly after noon on Friday, an explosion occurred at the J. F. Bast Knitting Mill at Schuylkill Haven which resulted in $15000 damage
and in the injuries of two girls, employees of the mill. The mill is one of the largest in this section of the county and in addition to the
manufacture of women’s underwear, do their own bleaching and dyeing. The bleachery is located in a three story frame building in
which large kiers or vats containing the acid used in bleaching are located. It is believed that the safety valve in one of the kiers,
which was filled with goods, in some way became blocked, and the gas which was generated caused the explosion. The entire
building and four kiers are totally destroyed. The bleachery is not connected with the main building of the mill, so this was in no way
damaged by the explosion.
Two girls, Miss Lillian Frier and Miss Tillie Genslinger, of Schuylkill Haven, were eating their lunch in the room directly above where
the explosion occurred and both girls are badly injured from flying pieces of wood, etc., and are suffering from shock. It was a most
fortunate thing that the accident happened during lunch time, as almost the entire force leaves the building during the lunch hour,
and had it happened later, would probably resulted in the injury of many employees. As it was, only the two girls, who remained in the
building were injured. The entire side of the building was blown out and the interior is a wreck.
|Pottsville Republican of November 29, 1888
FIRE AT SCHUYLKILL HAVEN
Early this morning flames were discovered issuing from Weaver's shoe factory at Schuylkill Haven, and before they could be subdued
the building and contents were almost totally destroyed. A box of shoes were found in a neighboring alley, and this couples with the
fact that the front door was found open gives rise to the belief of a burglary and incendiarism. The fire was discovered at one thirty in
the morning and the Rainbow Hose Company did good work, devoting their attention to the machinery, which they succeeded in
saving. The building is a complete wreck. The fire started in the rear basement where the proprietor's father had a carpenter shop.
John Weber, the proprietor, had the factory in operation about a year, and only last week was fortunate enough to insure the building
and its contents for $2400, which will fully cover the loss. A window was also found broken open.
|Pottsville Republican of July 5, 1917
$2000 FIRE AT SCHUYLKILL HAVEN
Fire of an unknown origin destroyed the home of George Ney of Berne Street, Schuylkill Haven, about two thirty o'clock Tuesday
morning. The family were aroused by the smoke in the upper part of the house, where most of the fire was and they were able to
save only a few things, most of the furniture and belongings of the family being destroyed by fire and water. The entire upper part of
the house, which is a two and a half story building, was destroyed by fire and water ruined the lower part of the building and
contents. The total loss is about $2000. The flames spread quickly and but for the flooding of the building by water, it would have
been burned to the ground and sparks endangered the Bittle building and the Bast Mill. The Schuylkill Haven firemen worked
diligently and are being praised for their work.
|Pottsville Republican of October 18, 1917
$4000 FIRE AT SCHUYLKILL HAVEN
Two houses owned by J. Gellert of Pottsville, located on Columbia Street about a square off Canal Street, were destroyed by fire
shortly after ten o'clock Thursday morning. The fire which it is thought started in the lower house occupied by William Sell and family,
is of unknown origin and as it crept to the home next door occupied by Charles Roeder and family, it endangered other properties on
the block. Mrs. Roeder, who had been in bed for several months past, was rescued by Harry Schumacher, a grocer, residing a few
doors away. He carried her to the home of her mother in law, Mrs. George Roeder, a short distance away.
Both homes are ruined, the flames creeping to all parts of the two buildings, the Sell property being a story and a half and the Roeder
home a two story residence. Some of the furniture was saved by the firemen and neighbors but a great deal of furniture was
destroyed by fire and water. The local damage will be over $4000, partly covered by insurance.
The fire started in the Sell home and was discovered shortly after 10:30. The origin is mysterious as there was no one home at the
Sell property at he time of the fire, Mrs. Sell being away on a visit. The flames suddenly burst out and in a very short time the Roeder
home was a mass of flames. Only the quick and accurate work of the fire department of Schuylkill Haven saved the Renninger
property on one side and the George Roeder property on the other side.
|Pottsville Republican of September 2, 1936
SLIGHT DAMAGE SCHUYLKILL HAVEN FIRE
A fire alarm at five o'clock this morning sent all local fire companies to James Mellon's Ice House on Garfield Avenue, Schuylkill
Haven, where fire had broken out on the street side and caused a pile of boards and sawdust to burn. The exact cause of the blaze
is unknown, but it originated in the sawdust storage place under the skating rink. It was necessary to remove several of the boards
of the smaller building to extinguish the flames but there is only slight damage. The larger building which is used as a skating rink
was undamaged. Robert Fry, a milk truck delivery man, discovered the flames and smoke as he passed Willow Lake early this
morning and the fire companies responded so quickly that a probable great loss was prevented.
|Pottsville Republican of August 10, 1929
SCHUYLKILL HAVEN MILL BURNED
Fire of unknown origin destroyed the Schuylkill Haven Knitting Mill, owned by Harry and Paul Reidler of Orwigsburg, opposite the
Meister Auto Building and Repair Shop at Schuylkill Haven, at an early hour Saturday morning. The loss will total close to $10,000 but
is fully insured. The fire was discovered shortly after 2:00 am by Harold Mecker of Pottsville and Paul Mengle of Centre Avenue, who
lives near the factory. They immediately turned in the alarm which was answered by the Liberty, Rainbow and Schuylkill Hose
Companies. The three companies responded at once and found volumes of smoke pouring from the building.
It was believed the blaze started in the basement of the structure and had been smoldering for some time. Shortly after the arrival of
the firemen, flames enveloped the center section of the factory and for a time it looked as though the building would burn to the
ground. Prompt work of the firemen who were handicapped by hose lines bursting, prevented the flames from spreading to nearby
dwellings. The entire stock as well as the knitting machines were destroyed.
Paul Reidler, one of the members of the firm, had been in the factory at 10:00 pm and after working in the office for a few moments,
made an inspection of the basement and everything was in order. At 2:30 am, the fire was pronounced under control. One of the
companies remained on duty for the night to prevent any further outbreak.
|Pottsville Republican of July 19, 1895
FIRE AT SCHUYLKILL HAVEN
Fire this morning destroyed the warehouse adjoining the mill of the Schuylkill Haven Iron Company. The Schuylkill Hose Company
were the first on the grounds with their truck and did good work in confining the flames in the building where it started and saved
the adjoining property. The fire was put out on one half an hour after it was discovered. Too much praise can not be given to the fire
boys for in their good work and for responding so promptly when notified about the fire and the people of the town can be glad to
have a local volunteer department to do so much for them.
|Pottsville Republican of April 20, 1896
FIRE AT SCHUYLKILL HAVEN
The Kinsley Meat Market is Ruined - Other Properties Damaged
This morning at 4:30 o'clock the stable adjoining Kinsley's Meat Market on Canal Street, Schuylkill Haven, took fire and before the
firemen could respond the stable was in one mass of flames, and before the fire was extinguished the meat market, a frame building,
was totally destroyed and the brick dwellings of Charles and Harry Kantner were badly damaged by water, in addition to that caused
by the flames. Kinsley had entered the stable this morning for the purpose of getting ready for the day. He took with him a lighted
lantern, which he hung on a nail. Shortly afterward he went out into the wagon shed and when he returned he found the inflammable
contents of the stable in a big blaze and beyond his control. Kinsley then alarmed the vicinity with cries of fire, while busy removing
his cattle, and this brought out the firemen, who responded promptly for that hour of morning. The building occupied by Kinsley was
the property of W. L. Weissinger. It and the properties of the Kantners were covered by insurance.
|Pottsville Republican of November 27, 1923
MOTHER AND BABE PERISH WHEN HOME IN SCHUYLKILL HAVEN BURNED
A mother and six weeks old baby died in a fire which turned their home into a mass of flames. Mrs. Horace Kramer died at Schuylkill
Haven on Tuesday morning when she ran back into the burning building for her baby and died of suffocation and burns after she
reached the child which was in bed and who also died. Mrs. Kramer was the housekeeper of Mr. Joseph Schwartz of Schuylkill
Haven, and the home was located at what is now known as Edgewood on South Canal Street. At about 8:15 Tuesday morning, William
Sheriff, aged ten of Schuylkill Haven, saw smoke coming from the house which was an old lodge and saw Mrs. Kramer running from
the house crying "Fire" and then rush back into the building. The boy sent in an alarm but by the time the firemen arrived, the entire
building which was frame with a tin roof was a sea of flames and it was impossible for them to get into it to rescue the woman. The
door was locked and it is believed That after Mrs. Kramer went back into the building, the dead bolt on the door locked and they
could not get out.
There was also difficulty in getting water to the fire as fire plugs had but recently been placed in this section of town and the
connections were not yet made. Shortly after the firemen arrived, Mr. Schwartz, who had been at work, and had been told of the fire
came to the scene and was intent upon entering the building to rescue those within. He was shown how futile his attempt would be
and was taken away by firemen. The body of the baby was found near the remains of the bed, burned to a crisp, and that of the
mother was found near the window, only partly burned. They were removed to the undertaking establishment of Bittle and Confehr
and prepared for burial. Deputy Coroner Heim will conduct an inquest. It is believed that the cause of the fire was an overheated
stove. It started in the main part of the building and spread to the second story and the roof.
Mrs. Kramer recently became separated from her husband. She is survived by a husband and four children. She was Bessie Spacht,
of Cressona, before marriage and is survived by four brothers, William F., Arthur, Russell, and Samuel H. Spacht, of Cressona, and
three sisters, Beulah, a trained nurse residing in the west, Eva wife of Frank Kipp and Mattie of Cressona.
A roll of money, damaged by water and flames was found in the ruins. It was believed to contain about seventy or eighty dollars
worth of bills and was taken in charge by the Schuylkill Haven Trust Company, who will have it sent away and redeemed, as the
greater part of the bills were saved. Carl Garrick, a member of the Rainbow Fire Company, was overcome by smoke while trying to
recover the body of Mrs. Kramer and was unconscious for a time but later recovered.
|Pottsville Republican of February 19, 1916
$3000 FIRE AT SCHUYLKILL HAVEN
Fire which threatened for a time to destroy about seven frame houses on Prospect Hill, Schuylkill Haven, broke out in the home of
Mrs. Joseph Webber at 210 Market Street shortly after midnight Friday, and destroyed the Webber home and a great deal of the
furniture and belongings of the family. The loss to the home and contents is estimated at $3000, which is partially covered by
insurance. The fire started in the kitchen and was discovered about 12:15 o'clock and an alarm sent in. Some mixup occurred in the
sounding of the alarm and the companies were detained for a short time. When they arrived they found themselves confronted with
a most difficult task as the flames were already shooting through the rear of the house and threatened adjoining buildings. The wind
was high and was blowing in the direction of the Bowen home to the east. Suddenly the course of the wind changed and this
prevented the flames from spreading, the firemen taking advantage of the change of the wind to play their streams on the building
west, a space of about twenty five feet preventing the fire from spreading in that direction.
When the fire was discovered by the Webber family, they were unable to get to the kitchen, the entire kitchen being a mass of flames
and part of the stairway had already caught fire. Some of the furniture in the front of the home was saved but practically everything
in the rear of the home was destroyed. The rear of the house was entirely destroyed and only a portion of the front was left
standing. The house was recently remodeled and some new furniture purchased. The work of the Citizen's Fire Company, Schuylkill
Hose Company and Liberty Fire Company was appreciated by the residents on Prospect Hill, their fine work keeping the fire confined
to the one home. Up to 12:45 o'clock, the Bowen home adjoining, the Graeff home, The Hartnett home, the Hill home and others were
|Pottsville Republican of August 2, 1922
HOME STRUCK BY LIGHTNING
The home of Walter Scott, Centre Avenue, Schuylkill Haven, was struck by lightning Tuesday evening and the house, a brick one, was
badly damaged. The bolt struck the house just as the family were eating supper and made such a noise that the family thought it was
an explosion of dynamite. A shower of plaster and bricks rained down on the sidewalk, but luckily no one was injured. A bolt also
struck a telegraph pole at Centre and Dock Streets cutting it clean in half.
|Pottsville Republican of February 22, 1925
STUBBORN FIRE AT SCHUYLKILL HAVEN
One of the hardest fires to fight in Schuylkill Haven for years was that which occurred on Sunday morning about two o'clock, in the
store and dwelling of John Bubeck, of Schuylkill Haven and the home of Joseph Sieck, both homes being located on Centre Avenue.
Shortly before two o'clock in the morning Mrs. Bubeck awoke and smelled smoke. She got up and tried to turn on the electric light
and found that there was no light. She summoned her husband and by this time the house was filled with smoke and they found that
they could not get down the stairway and had to get out a window on the second floor to a porch after which they called to the
neighbors next door and an alarm of fire was sent in.
The three companies, the Rainbow, the Schuylkill and the Liberty companies responded and when they got there, they found that the
rear cellar was a mass of flames and that the fire was creeping up the partitions between the two homes. They were able to keep the
air from getting in and by the use of chemicals and water, to check the fire without damaging the whole building, although the rear
ends of the Bubeck and Sieck homes are badly damaged and a large amount of merchandise which Mr. Bubeck had stored in the
cellar was destroyed. It is estimated that the damage will be about $4500, partially covered by insurance.
One of the things which hampered the firemen most was that the heat melted the gas pipes and the firemen had to work with gas
masks on account of the gas and the smoke, but they did very successful work. The families had to leave their homes in their night
clothing and Mrs. Sieck fainted from the excitement and several firemen had narrow escapes from the gas. Mr. and Mrs. Bubeck will
make their home for the present with Mr. Bubeck's mother but he will be able to conduct his tore and the Siecks will be able to live in
their home after a little repairing is done. The fire reached the attic by going through the partitions but the greater part of the
houses were saved , although much damage was done by water and chemicals. The fire is believed to have been caused by crossed
|Pottsville Republican of May 16, 1925
Fire totally destroyed the private garage of William J. Roeder on Columbia Street, and almost entirely burned that of Harry J.
Schumacher, which adjoined it. The Ford touring car owned by Mr. Roeder was totally destroyed. The fire occurred at about nine
o'clock Friday evening and started in or about the Roeder garage. The cause is unknown. The garage of Howard Faust, which stands
near, was partly damaged and was saved by the firemen. The business garage owned by the Bast Estate was threatened. W. O.
Schumacher had quite a quantity of household furniture stored in the Schumacher garage and it is a total loss. The loss, partly
covered by insurance, will be about $300.
|Pottsville Republican of September 14, 1925
Lightning struck the Gas Plant owned by the borough during the storm Saturday night, and if the fire had not been seen by residents
nearby, the building would have been destroyed. They formed a bucket brigade and extinguished the flames, which had made some
progress in the frame of the building. The loss is covered by insurance. The lightning played havoc with the electric light service
here. Several bolts struck near the lines so that fuses were knocked out and much damage done. Many parts of town were in
darkness and the line force worked all day Sunday to repair.
|Fire Spread Quickly
|Boyer Seriously Burned
|Woman May Also Die
|Shock May Kill Another
|Ask Aid of Pottsville
|Pottsville Republican of February 24, 1933
SCHUYLKILL HAVEN RESIDENCE WAS BADLY DAMAGED BY FIRE
About three o'clock Thursday afternoon, fire partly destroyed the brick building on the corner of Columbia and Charles Streets,
owned by the Schuylkill Haven Trust Company. The building was occupied by Mrs. Minnie Shirey. The family were at home and did
not know of the fire till it was seen by persons outside. At that time the entire roof and garret were a mass of flames. The entire fire
department responded and the companies speedily had streams of water on the blaze. Firemen carried the household furniture out
but most of it was water soaked and badly damaged. The fire was caused by a defective chimney. The strong wind forced the sparks
through crevices in the chimney where it passed to the roof. The building is an old one and it is quite badly damaged. An entire new
roof would be required to repair it and a number of repairs to the lower floors. The damage is probably between five hundred and a
thousand dollars. The damage to the furniture and other personal property is about five hundred dollars. The damaged furniture
has been stored in nearby garages and Mrs. Shirey with her five children are being taken care of in the home of her mother, Mrs.
|Pottsville Republican of December 9, 1937
FIRE AT SCHUYLKILL HAVEN
A fire occurred on Thursday morning in the property owned by Gabriel Luongo, at Saint John and Wilson Streets, Schuylkill Haven and
resulted in approximately five hundred dollars worth of damage by fire and smoke. The property is occupied by Luongo's Beer
Garden, the Solomon Schwartz Women's Dress Shop and the State Liquor Store. When Allen Messer, bartender for Luongo, went into
the cellar to fix the furnace he found the place filled with smoke and flames, which seemed to have originated in the ceiling near the
furnace pipes going upstairs. He saw the flames shooting through the floor of the liquor store and as it was before the time for the
place to be open for business, it was necessary to break the window in order to gain access to the room to fight the fire. The fire
companies were called and succeeded in extinguishing the flames by chopping through the liquor store floor. Considerable damage
was done to the woodwork of the store and to the bottled goods. The Schwartz stock consisted largely of women's dresses which
were damaged and there was slight damage by smoke to the apartments above the business places but it is not thought that the loss
will amount to more then five hundred dollars. Mrs. Gabriel Luongo, who has been an invalid for years was removed from her smoke
filled apartment and taken to the home of a relative where she is being treated for shock.
|Pottsville Republican of September 26, 1938
APARTMENT FIRE AT SCHUYLKILL HAVEN
Fire of unknown origin was discovered Sunday evening shortly after six o'clock, in the apartment on Saint Peter's Street, Schuylkill
Haven, owned by Dr. A. J. Knauss of Pottsville and occupied by the Everett Jones family. The fire was discovered by William McGlone
who saw the smoke coming from a closet in the kitchen of the Jones apartment which is on the second floor. The Jones family were
in Collegeville for the day and when the fire was discovered it had gained headway, causing damage to the Maurice Headinger
apartment on the third floor and the Isaac Kempner apartment on the first floor. Mr. McGlone received scorched and blistered hands
fighting the flames until the Schuylkill Haven fire companies responded to an alarm. He was taken to a physician for treatment. The
damage which is believed to have been caused by spontaneous combustion will amount to a thousand dollars. Mr. Jones is the only
one not covered by insurance.
|Pottsville Republican of October 21, 1935
50TH BIRTHDAY OF HAVEN FIRE COMPANY
Week of Services Planned By Rainbow Hose Company in Honor of Event
Plans are being made for an unusual event in Schuylkill Haven. The Rainbow Hose Company of Spring Garden Street, oldest fire
company in the town, will celebrate their fiftieth anniversary. The history of the company is very interesting. They have taken a
leading part in community affairs and many of the charter members were active in the work of the borough. In the early days, with
hand drawn equipment, it took physical strength to run to fires, probably to extreme ends of the town and the records of the company
show that they did many good jobs in fire fighting. Early in their existence they purchased a desirable location and erected a fire
house which later was improved and enlarged and which today is one of the largest and most complete in the county. Abraham
Maberry, President, and B. Curtis Deavon, Secretary, will direct the events of the celebration which will start with services at Christ
Lutheran Church, Sunday evening, November 17th and continue during the week. A banquet for the men and an open meeting and a
banquet for the ladies of the company are included in the tentative plans. Mr. Deavon has written a most interesting history of the
|Pottsville Republican of June 25, 1925
TWO BUSINESSES HEAVIEST LOSERS
Two buildings in the heart of the business section of Schuylkill Haven were destroyed by fire and two adjoining buildings were
seriously damaged by water and smoke early Thursday morning. The cause of the blaze has not yet been determined. An
investigation into the cause will be started. It is estimated the total loss of machinery and stock will reach $50000. The loss is fully
covered by insurance. The fire had its origin in the Michel Bakery which is located in the rear of Numbers 3, 5, and 7 Main Street. The
bakery and machinery were completely destroyed. The home of Charles Michel and the ice cream plant and building with thousands
of dollars of candy were ruined by water. Mr. Michel estimates his loss at about $125,000. The building adjoining the Michel property
on the east side, owned by Mrs. Susan Buehler, widow of Samuel Buehler, former county jury commissioner, was soaked with water
and the rear was slightly damaged by fire. She estimates her loss at about $15,000.
The store and home of Dr. W. E. Stine which is located on the corner to the west of the Michel building escaped without damage from
water or fire, but suffered considerable loss to his stock from smoke. His loss will probably reach $5,000. Others to suffer in the fire
loss were Maurer and Maurer, chiropractors in the Buehler Building, the A & P store on the ground floor of the same building and the
Haven Cab, located on the second floor of the Michel Building. Although the Buehler Building was soaked with the water, the A & P
store fortunately escaped without much loss.
It was shortly after five o'clock that Mrs. Charles Michel was awakened by smoke. When she awoke the bedroom was filled with
smoke. She called her husband who dashed to the front window and called to workmen who sent in the alarm. So rapidly did the fire
gain headway, that neither the Michel family or the Buehler family were able to remove any of their furniture. They did however save
some clothing. Owing to the lack of proper water pressure and the location of the blaze beneath the roof of the bakery, it was
extremely difficult to conquer. It was a stubborn blaze and the combined efforts of firemen from four towns were necessary to
Street car service to Orwigsburg was interrupted for several hours, it being near the noon hour before transportation connection
was made to the former county seat. Schuylkill Haven was without trolley service until seven o'clock, the power having been turned
off. It was impossible for cars through to Orwigsburg, the main street of Schuylkill Haven being blocked by fire apparatus and the
tracks covered with the sections of hose. When Fire Chief Christ Schumacher of Schuylkill Haven saw the fire was more then the
local departments could successfully combat, he sent out calls for help. Two Cressona companies, the Orwigsburg department and
the Humane Fire Company from Pottsville responded.
The fire was one of the largest and left one of the greatest losses in its wake that Schuylkill Haven has ever suffered. The loss will
not destroy the beauty of the business section of the borough. Arrangements have been made to commence work immediately upon
adjustment by the insurance companies. The fire burned for an hour and a half before it was brought under control. At seven o'clock,
Fire Chief Schumacher announced that the efforts of the firemen had stopped the blaze. For a while it was feared that the block
would be swept away. Only the hard work and superhuman efforts of the firemen prevented this. Mr. Michel is at a loss as to the
cause of the fire. He stated that the bakery had not been worked since Wednesday afternoon. The night shift making ice cream had
gone home at 4:30 o'clock, not seeing a fire when they left. All electric wires were safely run through conduits and there was no fire
in the ovens.
It was only a matter of a few minutes after Mr. Michel called out of the window that his building was afire and the companies
responded. A hose was attached to a fire hydrant in the front of the Michel Building and firemen ran it back to the rear. There was a
howl of air as the water was turned on because the pressure was so low that the stream failed to carry to the blaze which by that time
was shooting through the roof in long spiking tongues of fire. A pumper was at once put on a plug but this delay was costly as the fire
made its way through the bakery and communicated with the other building and was scorching the other building on the east side.
With the first plug stream pouring on the burning building housing the bakery, another was directed on the Buehler Building, which
by this time was blazing. In less time then it takes to tell it, the flames had eaten their way through the walls of the bakery and were
moving with incredible rapidity throughout both the Michel buildings. Fifteen minutes after the fire was discovered it appeared as if
the structures on both sides of it were doomed.
With the arrival of aid from the surrounding towns, many streams of water were played upon the fire but by this time it had licked its
way to the roof of the Michel building and was concealing itself in the walls. At this stage the fire became extremely difficult to
conquer, it being almost impossible to get to it. It was necessary to chop away the roof and send several streams pouring into the
building. The water pressure of the borough was not sufficient to handle the strain placed upon it by the drawing of the pumping
engines and two companies were placed in the rear of the building and suction connections were placed in the Schuylkill River and
two streams were placed on the rear of the building. So stubborn was the fire in the Michel Building that at one time no less then
four streams were pouring into the building from holes which had been chopped in the roof. The building was completely saturated,
the water filling up the cellar,where is located the ice cream plant.
At one time, water came down the stairs from the living quarters in torrents, and as it washed down the stairs, it resembled a mill
stream over a water wheel. The building was completely drowned out. The furniture was completely destroyed. Many thousand
dollars in candy stock stored next to the ice cream store was ruined by water and the smoke.
|Pottsville Republican of November 29, 1924
THEATRE AFIRE, KIDS FILE OUT
When a fire broke out in the Refowich Theatre at Schuylkill Haven on Saturday afternoon during a children's matinée, hundreds of
children marched in orderly fashion from the theatre and escaped injury of any kind. Several moving picture reels caught fire in the
operator's booth and someone yelled "Fire". Although there were but few adults in the place, the children quickly fell into line as
they do in their school fire drill and cleared the building in a few moments. The damage done to the theatre was slight.
|Pottsville Republican of June 18, 1910
SCHUYLKILL HAVEN TO HAVE FIRE ALARM SYSTEM
If the wishes of some of the councilmen of Schuylkill Haven are carried out, that town will have within the next two months, one of the
most complete fire alarm systems in the state. A representative of the borough was in Pottsville yesterday looking over the system
here and he stated that it was only a question of a short time before the town would be equipped. Already the town council of
Schuylkill Haven have decided on the alarms for the four different wards. It is proposed to install the system, placing an indicator in
each one of the four hose houses and one at the electric light plant where the fire alarm whistle is located. The boxes will be
distributed equally around the town, probably three or four to each ward. These will be numbered the same as in Pottsville.
Heretofore in case of fire in that town considerable time was lost on account of the inabilities of the companies to know exactly
where the fire was located. Often time a fire would be discovered in one ward and the factory whistle in another ward would sound
the alarm. Following the blowing of the factory whistle, the school bell would sound a general alarm.
|The Call of July 24, 1908
THE NEW FIRE COMPANY
The special meeting of the Liberty Fire Company held on Monday evening at Bast's Mill was largely attended and much enthusiasm
was manifested. The finance committee was authorized to get prices of fire engines both new and second hand and the building
committee was directed to get costs of sites and building, all to be submitted at next meeting early in August. A statement will then
be prepared and presented to the public showing exactly what the company proposes to do and the cost of everything and the public
will be asked to assist in the consummation of the project. It is understood that the company has several building sites in view and
may be able to secure one on the lower part of Main Street from the Reading Company. Several prominent businessmen of the ward
have offered to house the apparatus free of charge until the company secures its hose house and a number of the businessmen
have also offered the free use of their teams at any hour of the day or night to haul the apparatus to a fire.
|The Call of July 31, 1908
The Liberty Fire Company, in its organization and announcement of its plans has brought to the public attention the fact that the
Reading Railway cuts the town in two, almost through the center, and in times of emergency, such as an alarm of fire, the district lying
west of the railroad would be entirely at the mercy of the flames in the event that a long coal or freight train blocked the several
crossings and much valuable time would be lost in the uncoupling of such a train to allow the fire apparatus the right of way. The
traffic of the Reading is so heavy through town that much time is lost to the general public every day in being held up by the passage
of trains. This brings to mind an improvement that could and should be made at the earliest opportune moment. The lay of the land
is such at the Union Street crossing that the roadway could be carried through a tunnel beneath the tracks, thus saving valuable time
for the public and abolishing a grade crossing and insuring the safety of the public at all times in the passage of this point. This
tunnel would allow the passage of teams and pedestrians and during the nine months school term hundreds of children must travel
back and forth. That no accident has happened speaks volumes for the efficiency of the crossing watchman and the erection of
safety gates will lessen the danger at this point from early morning until late evening but during the hours of the night, when there is
no one on guard accidents are likely to happen as has been the case within two years time. A subway would obviate all danger at all
times and would save the company the expense of a watchman while it would save the public thousands of dollars worth of time.
|The Call of February 6, 1914
A $6000 FIRE LOSS IN TOWN
Fire Monday morning about 2:45 o'clock completely gutted the café of Douglas Kauffman and the living rooms adjoining. The ruin is
complete, the entire interior of the building being gutted out to such an extent by the fire, water and smoke that it is a total wreck.
The loss will be from $4000 to $6000, partly covered by insurance. The fire was discovered by Mrs. Alice Seidel, residing next door to
the café. She was awakened by the smell of smoke and after arousing the household discovered flames shooting from the private
Kauffman dining room. The neighbors were quickly aroused and on the scene. The family of Douglas Kauffman who reside in the
Alice Kauffman property on the rear of the lot were first on the scene but the flames had already gained such headway that it was
impossible to fight them with any degree of success. Mr. Samuel Kauffman, the only occupant of the café at the time of the fire, and
who occupied a room on the third floor was aroused from his slumbers by the smoke. He made his escape through the smoke and
flames which were rapidly eating their way to the front of the house.
The Schuylkill Hose Company members residing nearby responded and quickly had a stream on the flames. The Rainbow Hose
Company were also promptly on the scene and made good use of their chemical engine. By good work the fire was prevented from
spreading to the Seidel property but a few feet away. Although the Seidel property was damaged and a quantity of millinery material
badly water soaked, that the loss was not greater was due to the remarkable work of the firemen in this direction. The cause of the
fire is given as crossed electric wires. The café had just been closed and Mr. Kauffman declares he made doubly sure of the
condition of all the stoves before leaving the place, so that the fire could not have been caused by an overheated stove. Quite
recently Mr. Kauffman made extensive improvements to the interior of the bar room and the several dining rooms and had the entire
café fitted in a very up to date manner. As stated above the entire place is a complete wreck. Several dogs owned by Mr. Kauffman
were burned to death. It is quite probable, although no definite information could be secured at this time, that as soon as the
insurance companies grant permission the present building will be torn down and a modern hotel and café erected at the present
|The Call of June 25, 1915
FIRE ALARM WHISTLE OK
A new fire whistle was placed in position on the electric light plant Wednesday and from the first tests given Wednesday the same
seems to be all that is desired of a fire whistle. Reports received from different parts of town are to the effect that it could be heard
very distinctly and that there is hardly any likelihood of it being mistaken for anything but a fire whistle. The present whistle like the
first fire whistle is of a combination style. It being so built as to give forth the shrill and horrible siren tone and also a deep sonorous
tone. The siren while not as piercing and shrill as the siren of the first whistle is many times louder and the sound therefore will
carry for a much greater distance. Although it was very windy Wednesday afternoon the whistle was heard in many nearby places and
inquiries were made as to the location of the fire. It was heard several miles above Friedensburg, in Orwigsburg, the famous fishing
resort near "the tunnel" and in Pottsville. With a calm day or night it is confidently expected there will be no excuse for anyone in the
borough being unable to hear it. The tone of the whistle which will be used to sound the wards or the location of the fire is of a deep
and clear quality and much like the tone of the whistle formerly used at the Reading car shops. While the whistle will answer all
purposes and requirements of a fire whistle it will also be an excellent curfew whistle and there will be no more chance or
opportunity for the "kiddies" to say they did not hear the curfew. The whistle measures eight by eighteen inches whereas the old
whistle was but four by twelve inches.
With the placing of this new whistle to be used principally for fire purposes, ends a campaign waged by The Call for quite some time
in an effort to secure a more satisfactory fire alarm whistle. At least our persistent efforts aroused the community and stirred the
town council to a realization of the necessity of having a better fire whistle and the same was finally procured. The purchase of this
new fire whistle we feel is a very important step in the improving of the town's fire department and the expense incident thereto will
be more then repaid upon the first occasion for its being called into service.
|The Call of February 22, 1929
FIRE AND WATER DAMAGE HOME
Fire and water combined to almost completely wreck the home and furnishings of M. L. Smith of Liberty Street on Wednesday
morning. A stubborn chimney fire that evidently had been burning for some time before being discovered, burned itself along a
brick chimney from the cellar to the attic and at places burned itself through the weather boards on the outside and the flooring on
the inside of the building. Streams of water first used to extinguish the flames damaged the home and furnishings to a very
considerable extent. All the walls and ceilings were water soaked. The furniture, furnishings and clothing were damaged and in
many cases completely ruined by the smoke and water. Only the furniture in the dining room and kitchen escaped damage.
The fire was discovered by Miss Doris Shadel, confined indoors with the measles. As she went to the second floor, she discovered
smoke and immediately notified Miss Elsie Adams who was in the home. An investigation disclosed the fire. In the meantime an
alarm had been sent in by John Edling who with Superintendent William Mellon,happened along in their auto and noticed the smoke
issuing from the home. Both Mr. and Mrs. Smith were away from home. Mrs. Smith had gone to Philadelphia, having left on the flyer.
Mr. Smith had left home Tuesday on his regular run on the railroad. When he arrived home Wednesday afternoon and looked at the
home in its damaged condition, he was dumbfounded. The aged mother of Mrs. Smith, Mrs. Moyer, who is seventy two years of age
and paralyzed, was in the home and had to be carried to a neighboring house by friends. The Schuylkill and Liberty Companies first
played streams of water on the house. Chemicals were later used. The damage was estimated by Mr. Smith at between $3000 and
$5000, partly covered by insurance.
|The Call of November 22, 1929
MIDNIGHT FIRE DESTROYED COAL WASHERY BUILDINGS
Fire starting about the midnight hour Sunday, completely destroyed a large frame building of Lewis Holstein, together with contents,
located close to the coal washery near the Columbia Hotel, Schuylkill Haven, operated by Mr. Holstein. The contents of the building,
consisting of all office records, office equipment, some machinery, valuable tools, a large electric motor, and personal effects and
furniture of Wilson Hollenbach, were completely destroyed or badly damaged. Shortly after the fire alarm had been sounded the
location of the fire was determined by the glare in the sky and it was the opinion that either one of the industries in the South Ward
or the Stoyer Garage was afire.
The Liberty Fire Company promptly had a stream of water on the blaze. It was at once seen however, that the building was doomed.
Despite the eighteen hour rain, the building of frame construction, burned fiercely and it was some time before the flames were
completely extinguished. Firemen when they first arrived on the scene, worked in great danger from the high tension electric power
lines which lead to the operation. Several of the lines were burned off at the large transformer that stood above the building. These
lines dropped and narrowly escaped falling upon bystanders. The power was then cut off and the firemen continued their work. All
of the fire apparatus of the three companies was on hand, together with the new fire truck from the Cressona fire company which
arrived on the scene at the same time the Rainbow Hose Company truck arrived. Only the Liberty Company was put into service.
Mr. Holstein states his loss will amount to several thousand dollars without any portion being covered with insurance. A large and
expensive electric switch on a pole near the building was also badly damaged. A portion of the building was used as living quarters
by Wilson Hollenbach, who was in his quarters at the time, but escaped without injury. Two stoves were used to heat the building but
at this writing it had not been determined whether they had become overheated or not. Mr. Holstein has provided temporary
quarters to be used as an office and as soon as new electric lines can be put up and connections made, operations at the coal
washery will be continued.
|The Call of August 16, 1929
MILL FIRE THROWS FIFTY OUT OF WORK
Fire Saturday morning at 1:30 o’clock, destroyed a portion of the Schuylkill Haven Knitting Mill on Centre Avenue and damaged almost
the entire contents including stock, machinery and equipment. The fire was discovered by a passing motorist who hurried to the fire
alarm box at the corner of Dock and Haven Streets. Upon the arrival of firemen, the flames were confined to the shipping
department, which is located in the rear of the basement floor. There was an unusual delay in obtaining streams of water due to the
difference of hose and plug connections. When connections were finally made, the Rainbow pumper unfortunately would not
immediately pump. Hardly had the water been sent through two hose lines when one of them sprang a leak. These connections had
been made at the plug on Centre Avenue. In the meantime the Liberty Company had made connections at a plug on Garfield Avenue
and used the hose lines of the Schuylkill Hose because the Schuylkill truck is out of service. Three streams of water were played on
the fire and it was under control shortly after the water was obtained. In the meantime, members of the Rainbow Hose Company were
fighting hard with chemicals from a point close to the scorching flames. A bucket brigade also was formed and used water from the
creek adjoining the burning building.
While it was possible for the firemen to confine the flames to the shipping department for the most part, the heat and dense smoke
served sufficient to ruin a number and damage the remainder of both the knitting and sewing machines on the second floor. A
considerable amount of stock was also damaged by smoke and finished goods and raw material stored in the basement was ruined by
water. Despite the severity of the fire, it was for the most part confined inside the building, it breaking through the weather boards
at only a few points. No definite statement of loss could be made by the owners, Harry Reidler and Brother, but it is understood the
same will be heavy. Insurance is carried on building and contents.
This industry employs fifty persons and had been closed down for the taking of inventory. It was the intention to resume operations
Monday of this week. It is likely operations will be resumed within at least three weeks time. No definite cause for the fire has been
determined. During the fire, which burned for an hour or more, quite a number of sections of the fire hose burst. There was an
excellent pressure of water but the unfortunate thing about it was that fate seemed intent in interfering with getting it to the scene of
the fire. The hose which burst, firemen stated, had only been in service for a very short time and one or two of the sections had the
appearance of never having been used. The matter of difference in connections between plugs and hose is due to the fact that the
fire plugs in the North Ward are of a type no longer manufactured and the thread for the hose connection is entirely different then
that required for the majority of plugs throughout the town. Special connections are required and all companies have been
furnished these special connections by the borough; nevertheless to make the special connection requires additional time, so
valuable at a fire. The response of the fire companies was unusually prompt despite the inconvenient hour. Firemen remained on
the scene for several hours after the fire had been declared completely extinguished, this in order to prevent an outbreak.
|The Call of October 10, 1913
FIRE DAMAGES ROLLING MILL
Fire Monday evening completely destroyed the oil house and the warehouse and badly damaged the main building of the Schuylkill
Haven Iron and Steel Company. The loss has, up to this time, not been estimated. The plant is one that, after having been idle for
several years, was three months ago started by Mr. H. Light of Lebanon, a well known and prominent iron manufacturer. About one
hundred men were employed at this mill, although for the past week fifty men have been at work. A large number of these men are
therefore thrown out of employment until the damage is repaired. Work of reconstructing the destroyed portions of the building will
be commenced as soon as the insurance companies settle upon the loss. The fire started a few minutes before nine o’clock, having
its origin in the oil house. Evidence already secured points to the fact that the oil house was deliberately set on fire. Considerable
time was lost before the fire alarm was sent into the electric light plant. As soon as the alarm was given the fire companies were
promptly on the scene. The Liberty Hose Company was first on the ground but on account of the very poor pressure could do very
little, they being hardly able to throw the water on the roof of the building. On account of the oil stored in the oil house and its oily
condition, this part of the plant was soon a mass of flames.
The steamer of the Schuylkill Hose Company was taken to the fire in true city style, the drive from the engine house to the fire being
made in less then two minutes. As soon as the engine arrived it was set to work pumping from a reservoir on the Steel Company’s
ground. Three streams of water and a heavy chemical stream were played on the flames. It was readily seen that the portions of the
building on fire could not be saved and the efforts of the firemen were directed towards saving the main building. Water was played
on the fire for several hours. A large number of firemen remained on the scene over night as a precaution against further out
breaking of the flames. The fire was a spectacular one. The flames reached a great height and the sky was illuminated very
brilliantly. Residents of the surrounding towns were drawn by the illumination and many people from Pottsville, Cressona and
Orwigsburg made a trip to town. Burgess Hartman who left the meeting of town council as soon as the first alarm was given was kept
busy for several hours rounding up a number of drunken characters found in the vicinity of the fire. During the night he had six
locked up in the borough lockup. In the morning no evidence could be presented or secured connecting them with the fire and they
During the fire it was intimated that it was the work of a fire bug and Burgess Hartman believing the allegation with the result that
Tuesday morning promptly at eight o’clock, he began a rigid examination and investigation. A preliminary hearing was held in the
council chamber. A score or more of witnesses and employees at the mill were questioned. Night watchman Hummel stated he was
tending to his duties about the mill when he heard cries of fire and looking about saw flames coming from the oil house. He grasped
a bucket of water and dashed towards the fire but at once saw that it had gained too much headway to be fought by him alone. Mr.
Hummel stated that he had been in the oil house about 6:30 o’clock, and at that time a barrel containing black grease had stood on
the left side going in the door. That this barrel he noticed when the alarm was given was lying down on the right side near where
cotton waste was stored and the whole was a mass of flames. It was also brought out that from his position in the mill any person
could enter and leave the oil house without being seen by him. He stated he had orders not to let anyone in the oil house with a
lamp or light. That he had no lamp or light when he went to the oil house at 6:30.
A colored gentleman by the name of Mitchell, testified that one John Steely of town, who has several times been in the meshes of the
law, had made the statement to him several days ago that “In a few days there will be none of you working here.” Mitchell said to him,
“It must hurt you because you were discharged.” Steely replied, “No it won’t hurt me but I know what I am doing. In a few days there
will be a whole lot more of them out of there.” Charles Bell, another colored employee, testified along the same lines. He heard
Steely scolding Mitchell because Mitchell was supposed to have told Steely’s aunt that he was discharged. On last Friday he
distinctly heard him say, “That they should never mind, there would not be any of them working there in a few days, to mark his words
as he knew what he was talking about. Another witness testified that Steely was the first man he met when he arrived at the fire.
Steely in answer to a question of the Burgess of what he meant by saying there would be none of them working around, said he said,
“There would be no Dutchmen working there.” Steely also said he was not discharged, that he quit of his own accord. John
Gallagher, the superintendent stated that he discharged Steely last Wednesday evening for being drunk and at the time of
discharging him he said, “Never mind, I will get even with youse.” That Thursday morning he came down to the mill and began
bothering the men and that he, the superintendent, then ordered him off the grounds. Steely said he wanted his pay and he was told
to go into the office. In being ordered out of the mill, Superintendent Gallagher said Steely remarked, “Never mind, there will be
hardly any of youse around here shortly.”
Upon this evidence a warrant was sworn out for Steely. Officer Butz served the same on him. He was immediately taken before
Squire Moyer. There the witnesses testified to what Steely had said. Squire Moyer then committed him on suspicion of arson. Steely
was taken to Pottsville shortly afterward. During the entire process, Steely appeared worried and very nervous and seemed to
expect to be locked up. He will be held for criminal court, arson being a Commonwealth offense with punishment being very heavy.
|The Call of July 16, 1915
SCHUYLKILL HAVEN FOUNDRY DESTROYED BY FIRE
LOCAL MEN AS STOCKHOLDERS STAND TO LOSE $30,000
This town, Monday evening, was visited by the most destructive fire in years, when the “Pipe Mill” or plant of the Schuylkill Haven
Foundry Company was completely destroyed entailing a loss of about $30,000. The fire was discovered about 9:30 o’clock and an
alarm immediately sent in by Mrs. Harry Baker. Almost as soon as the fire was discovered it appeared to have spread over the entire
plant. The fire companies responded but it was fully one half hour before a stream of water could be played upon the fiery furnace.
The nearest fire plug was about two thousand feet away and on account of being necessary to use hose of the different companies
with different connections, much valuable time was lost.
The plant after having been idle for quite some time and the company having been reorganized, was on a fair road to meeting with
success, orders for its product were being received daily. M. A. Dunlap, formerly manager of the Pottsville Casting Company, was
induced to affiliate himself with the local company and under his experienced and capable managership, the plant was coming into its
own. The personal loss of Mr. Dunlap will amount into thousands of dollars as all his patterns and valuable tools were destroyed.
About thirty men were employed Monday, a heat had been run but Mr. Cox, the assistant manager, who inspected the entire building
before going home, stated everything was safe. It is believed a spark during the day found its way to the rafters and smoldered for
several hours, breaking out in a mass of flames in the evening. The fire was first discovered in the end of the building near where
the cupola is located. When neighbors arrived on the scene the entire interior of the building was a mass of flames and it was with
difficulty that the papers and books in the office at the opposite end of the building were rescued. Despite the fact that almost
everything in the office was carried to a place of safety, many valuable papers are said to have been destroyed.
A large carload of castings standing on the siding and ready to be shipped was damaged to such an extent that they will be useless.
For a time it was feared that the boiler in the plant would explode but luckily the safety valve melted off and the glass tube exploded
allowing all the steam to escape. Despite the efforts of the firemen, before a stream of water could be played on the building, very
little stock, tools or forms could be saved. All that remains standing of the efforts of Schuylkill Haven capital to give the town a plant
for the employment of men and thus be the means of effecting a boom, are the several sections of charred brick walls and a mass of
twisted iron and steel. The plant which had been hoped would, especially since the reorganization two months ago, make up for the
heavy loss sustained by its stock holders in the first years of its career, is now nothing but a mass of ruins and its stock holders will
be required to shoulder a complete and to a certain extent a double loss.
The Schuylkill haven Foundry Company is composed of the following eleven stock holders, nine of them being Schuylkill Haven men:
George Saul, President; Frank Brown, Secretary; George A. Berger, Treasurer; E. H. Baker, Dr. James C. Gray, George Michel, George
M. Paxson, H. D. Felix, Joseph Michel, D. D. Coldren, M. A. Dunlap.
|The Call of December 3, 1915
FIRE DESTROYS FRAME HOUSE
Tuesday morning between twelve thirty and one in the morning, the frame dwelling house of Jimmy Vicciarro located on "Goat Hill"
near the curve at the Mine Hill crossing, was completely destroyed by fire. The house had been vacated by an Italian family during
the day and a portion of the household goods of this family still being in the house were destroyed. It is believed the fire was the
work of an incendiary. There was no fire in any stove during the day and the fire when first discovered seemed to immediately
spread as if fueled by oiled or gasolined material. There is said to exist a strong feeling of selfishness between the Italian families of
that vicinity and the owner of the house, Jimmy Vicciarro, due to the fact that Vicciarro by hard work and thrift has been enabled to
purchase several properties in the town. At the present he is confined to his home with a severe attack of illness. An investigation
is to be made and state authorities may be consulted on the matter.
The discovery of the fire was made by railroaders. The alarm was given by the steady blowing of the engine whistles. The alarm was
soon sent to the light plant and the siren whistle was soon tumbling the residents out of bed. After a delay of fully eight minutes at
the P and R street crossings, owing to their being blocked with a train and the trainmen refusing absolutely to cut the train, the
Schuylkill with their auto truck finally arrived on the scene. The building however was doomed and with a stream of water nothing
more could be done then extinguish the flaming walls and prevent the spread of the flames to adjoining property in a few minutes
time. The Rainbow Hose Company under the direction of Mr. Luke Fisher followed a wise course by taking their apparatus to
Broadway, directly across the railroad from the fire and attaching the hose to a plug. They were then in readiness for whatever fires
might have broken out in that section. The sparks and embers from the burning building were carried and dropped on many houses
in the vicinity and for a time apprehension was felt for the Buechley lumber yard. Careful watch was kept and not until after the fire
was extinguished did the Rainbow Company rewrap its lines of hose and depart.
|The Call of November 26, 1926
BOLD ATTEMPT TO FIRE PAINT SHOP AND GARAGE
A fire Sunday evening shortly before seven o’clock which did less then a dollar’s worth of business may yet produce one of the best
and a real exciting piece of news. The fire occurring in the garage and paint shop of Painter Reichert, south side of Market Street,
proved conclusively to be that of an incendiary and a bold and vicious attempt to cause financial loss to the owners. The fire was
discovered by members of the family of Frank Sherer, residing nearby. One of the members of the family happened to notice the
reflection from the flames through a rear window. The alarm was at once given and Mr. Sherer with his sons and with the use if
several buckets of water extinguished the flames.
The flames extinguished, it was noticed that only a very small part of the woodwork or frame of the building near the door had been
burned, yet flames had leaped high and burned fiercely. On investigation it was discovered that a thick roll of paper had been
saturated in gasoline and stuck between a joist and the boards. Only a part of this had been burned. A moment later an empty quart
milk bottle was discovered near the door which was still wet with gasoline showing that gasoline had been brought to the scene in
the milk bottle, the paper saturated with the gas and more of it poured on the wood work. The point where the fire was started is
about two feet from one of the swinging doors which was left open. It was from the fact that this door was left open that the flames
probably were discovered by neighbors, otherwise the wood work may have been ignited and the fire been well under way before
the discovery was made. Mr. Reichert stated he carried no insurance on the building.
The garage and paint shop carries a heavy stock of paints, oil and grease and also contained a touring car and truck. With the fire
once underway and with a fairly good breeze blowing Sunday evening, a very disastrous fire might have resulted. All the fire
companies responded but their services were not needed. Half an hour after the fire the local authorities had already begun an
investigation. No less then five different persons have been required to submit to a questioning at the town hall. Suspicion rests
strongly upon certain persons and with new evidence it is likely definite arrests will be made in the case.
|The Call of October 19, 1917
HOMES GUTTED BY FIRE
The homes of Charles Roeder and William Sell on Columbia Street were badly gutted by fire and the contents damaged by water
Thursday morning. Fire starting in a small frame kitchen close to the Roeder home quickly spread to the main building and in a short
time flames were leaping from the entire rear double structure. A small portion of the household goods of both families was saved.
The work of the firemen was handicapped by an insufficient water pressure. The Liberty Company was the first company to have a
stream playing on the flames. It did not amount to much despite the fact that the same was being pumped from the fire plug. When
the Schuylkill Hose Company arrived and attempted to pump from another plug they could not even draw a sufficient amount of water
to throw a stream a foot high. This was due evidently to the small amount of water in the dam. An examination following the fire
showed there was but ten pounds of pressure in the fire plug.
After the delay, in which the flames gained headway, the Schuylkill engine pumped from the Schuylkill River and a strong stream of
pure black water was sent through the combined lines of the Schuylkill and Rainbow Companies. The Rainbow Company in order to
charge their chemical tanks had to carry water in buckets as there was not a sufficient amount of water to force through the ordinary
garden hose. For a time there did not seem to be anyone to give directions to the firemen and each company chose its own method
and manner of work. This is due to not having a fire chief who is employed in Schuylkill Haven and could be present at all times to
direct the fire fighters.
The fire alarm was sent in from Harry Schumacher’s store by George Shomper. The neighbors first discovered the fire and gave the
alarm. The cause of the fire is alleged to be due to an overheated stove in the small kitchen or shanty. It is alleged the stove was
closed by Mr. Roeder early in the morning and that he went to work and forgot to open the same.
Mrs. Roeder was confined to her bed with consumption and she with a tiny tot were rescued just in the nick of time by Mr. Harry
Schumacher and Mrs. Renninger. As Mr. Schumacher forced his way into the bedroom, which was already thick with smoke, he could
dimly see the form of one of the children topple over on the floor. He grabbed at it and passed it along to Mrs. Renninger. Mr.
Schumacher made for the bed and throwing a quilt about the almost exhausted form of Mrs. Roeder made his way through clouds of
smoke and down a stairway that had already become ignited. She was taken to a neighbor’s home and her rescuer loudly
commended for his brave act. William Sell, the occupant of the other side of the house, and a brother to Mrs. Roeder, was at work at
the Saul and Zang factory. His wife was not at home and considerable of the small amount of household goods he had were
destroyed or damaged by water before they could be taken out. Mr. Sell’s wife, it is understood, is ill at the home of out of town
relatives. Mr. Sell when he saw the destruction and damage to his household goods was greatly overcome by emotion and persons
present could not help but pity him.
|A CALL FOR HELP
|The Call of May 28, 1920
FIREWALL PREVENTS BIG LOSS
A large brick firewall at the Casket Factory saved that building from possible complete destruction on Tuesday at noon. Fire starting
in the boiler house would have rapidly spread to other parts of the building had it been possible for the flames to lick through or
around the bricked wall. The alarm was sounded just a few minutes after the noon hour. The fire companies were soon on the
scene, but unfortunately the fire plug nearest the fire refused to work. Other troubles and delays permitted the flames to gain
headway. Finally the Schuylkill Hose Company had a stream playing on the fire by pumping water from the Harry Baker reservoir
nearby. Had it not been for this particular supply of water the loss sustained might have been greater. The Liberty also had a stream
playing on the flames by pumping from the plug at the corner of Saint Peter and Liberty Streets. The Rainbow Company used
chemicals to advantage. Dense and thick clouds of smoke issued from the building but the only portion destroyed was the east side
wooden portion of the boiler house and an adjoining frame building. The boilers and engines were damaged to some extent. The
loss was given out as $500. The cause, due to the burning of shavings in the boiler, it being thought a spark from the boiler fell upon
a quantity nearby which were to be burned.
Four out of town companies came to town but their services were not required as the fire was well under control before their arrival.
Evidently they were summoned by someone who feared for the destruction of the entire plant. They were the Good Will and
Cressona Fire Company Number One of Cressona and the American Hose and Humane of Pottsville. The Casket Company operations
will be delayed somewhat until the proper repairs can be made. The plant had just gotten into proper shape for the manufacture of
caskets and it was expected by the end of this week a number of different models of caskets would have been completed and on
exhibition in town. The company has a large amount of orders on hand with prospects of receiving sufficient additional orders to
employ a large number of men shortly.
|The Call of February 18, 1921
LIBERTY FIRE COMPANY TO HAVE TWO AUTO TRUCKS
The Bazaar and Frolic to be conducted by the Liberty Fire Company of town will be officially opened on Saturday evening, February
19th. The same will continue during all of the following week. It is planned to have a session on the afternoon of Washington’s
Birthday at which time there will be a number of special attractions and features. The bazaar promises to attract many persons as
there will be plenty of fun and amusement for all. The Citizen’s Band will be present on the opening evening to render music. Other
musical organizations may be present during the evening on the week following. Of course the Liberty Fire Company is in need of
funds and has therefore hit upon this method of procuring the same. Fire companies are generally in need of funds and the public
generally liberally responds. This company on this occasion solicits the patronage of the public and sets forth their special reason
for the same, in the fact that an order was recently placed for a one and a half ton fire truck. The same will be received in about two
month’s time. The present motor driven apparatus is somewhat overloaded; therefore it is proposed to place the chemical engine
and chemical hose upon the new truck. The old or present fire truck will be somewhat rebuilt and the present equipment of water
pump and fire hose will be the better accommodated. The action of the Liberty boys will give the public additional fire equipment. It
will give the town two fire trucks equipped with chemicals. These trucks will therefore be housed in, we might say, the two ends of
the town, one in the North Ward, the property and recent acquisition of the Rainbow Hose Company and the other in the South Ward,
that of the Liberty Company. “The Call” has for years agitated and suggested chemicals mounted on trucks so that the response
could be more prompt and in order that fires could be fought in their incipiency. That the action of the fire companies is for the
public welfare and protection should not be lost sight of and liberal patronage should be forthcoming on every occasion on which
the fire ladies of the town ask for funds with which to pay for the equipment. This time it is the Liberty Fire Company that solicits the
patronage of the public.
|The Call of March 5, 1898
THE BLEACHERY BURNED
Shortly after eight o’clock Thursday evening, fire was discovered in the factory building on High Street, owned by C. H. Kline and
occupied by Samuel Roland as a bleachery. The alarm was sounded and the firemen quickly responded, the Schuylkill Hose being the
first to arrive, at once attached the hose and for a few minutes had two streams playing on the blazing building. They were closely
followed by the Rainbows. The firemen fought bravely but were barely in time to save the entire building. Mr. Kline’s residence
adjoined the burning building and for a time it was feared that it too would furnish food for the flames. Mr. Roland was in the Opera
House at the time the fire was discovered. A panic was averted by the presence of mind of Manager Commings, who assured the
excited audience that there was no cause for alarm as the fire was a square away. The flames started in one corner of the building
on the first floor and is supposed to have been due to spontaneous combustion as there was no fire in that part of the building. The
machinery was only partially destroyed. There was no insurance on either the building or the machinery. The total loss is estimated
at about $2000.
|The Call of July 22, 1910
FIRE COMPANIES MERGE
As forecasted in these columns last week the Rainbow Hose Company and Friendship Hook and Ladder Company by unanimous vote
decided to join forces and become reincorporated under the name of the Rainbow Hose Company of Schuylkill Haven, Pennsylvania.
The entire membership of both companies have joined the new one and these officers have been elected: President, Isaac Huy; Vice
President, Clinton Confehr; Secretary, Luke Fisher; Financial Secretary, George H. Gerhard; Treasurer, M. F. Loy; Trustees, Edward
Maberry, Clayton Eiler and Isaac Shappell. The selection of officers shows a very fair proportion of the members of both companies
and is an evidence of the very cordial relations that exist between the members of the two organizations. The new company will take
over all the property and will assume the debt (less than $1000) of the Friendship Company. The Rainbow Company had no debt. The
new company will retain the Rainbow Hose House and will retain all the apparatus of both companies, there being ample room to
house both and plenty of members to man every machine in case of fire.
It is hinted too that the Rainbows will make provisions for hauling their apparatus, especially the chemical engine, by horses; but the
members decline, at this time, to say anything about their plans. The Friendship Hose house and lot will be offered for sale and The
Call repeats its suggestion that the property be secured for school purposes. The hose house can be used for some time to come as
a school room and will very materially aid in relieving the present congested condition of the public schools. At a later date, after a
new central high school building has been erected, the ground will be available for the erection of an addition to the present modern
|The Call of January 13, 1911
SLIGHT FIRE – Eating House of Mrs. P. J. Worts Gutted
Prompt Work of Neighbors Prevents Serious Conflagration Bystanders Get Ducking
Fire Tuesday noon gutted the eating house of Mrs. P. J. Worts and caused considerable excitement. The alarm was promptly given
and the fire companies responded but their services were hardly necessary as a bucket brigade, which was formed, after strenuous
work, succeeded in gaining control and put out the flames. Had the fire occurred Monday during the high wind the entire block of
stables and the underwear mill of D. D. Coldren, next adjoining, would surely have been burnt to the ground. While preparing an
order on a gas stove for several customers, the attendant was called to another part of the room for a minute or two and upon her
return found the kitchen a mass of flames. The fat from the utensil in which the food was being prepared boiled over and ignited the
gas and the flames immediately communicated with the surrounding woodwork. The loss is estimated at about $1,100, partly covered
with insurance. An amusing occurrence at this fire was the drenching of a large number of bystanders who stationed themselves in
the front of the building. The Schuylkill Hose Company, working from the rear with a stream, accidentally threw it over the roof of the
building with the result of promptly scattering the crowd in front. A number who could not reach safety in time were drenched.
|The Call of September 10, 1926
EARLY MORNING LABOR DAY FIRE
Fire at four o’clock Monday morning completely destroyed the contents of the store of Reuben Hoffman on Wilson Street and gutted
the frame building to such an extent that it is worthless. When discovered, the flames had gained very considerable headway and
before water could be thrown on it the building was a mass of flames. Little if any of the contents could be taken from the building.
Stock to the amount of three thousand dollars was destroyed. It consisted of motorcycle parts, confectionery, tobacco, etc. Mr.
Hoffman states his stock was covered by insurance. The building owned by Mr. Thomas Silliman was not covered by insurance. The
rear and the sides of the building are burned so badly that it is likely the entire building will have to be pulled down.
The frame garage and shop of Contractor Obenhouse adjoining was somewhat damaged by flames eating through the west side of
the building. A large quantity of weather stripping and lumber, together with Mr. Obenhouse’s automobile were removed. Valuable
machinery in the building however, was soaked with water and may be somewhat damaged. Mr. Obenhouse however carried
insurance. Two streams of water were played on the burning structure and in a short time had the fire extinguished. Two valuable
hunting dogs left in the building overnight were burned to death. A third hound however escaped uninjured. The dog evidently had
been enabled to crawl under a protection of some kind against both the flames and smoke. When the fire had partially subsided, the
dog came after being called by the owner. Mr. Hoffman states the building was locked up about eleven o’clock and he had made
sure that everything was okay before leaving. The cause of the fire will remain a mystery. mystery.
|The Call of May 22, 1925
FIRE DESTROYED AUTO AND GARAGE
Fire Friday evening completely destroyed a Ford auto truck, some furniture and the frame stable on the rear of the property of
William Roeder of Canal Street. The fire was discovered at nine o’clock Friday evening. In an instant the building was a mass of
flames. The reflection in the sky could be seen from all parts of the town shortly after the alarm was sounded. This gave the
impression that the fire was a big one and sent the fire companies to the scene with all possible speed and caused large numbers of
people from the far parts of the town to gather. Water was played on the building and that of Harry Schumacher adjoining, by the
Liberty and Rainbow Hose companies. The Schuylkill Hose Company was delayed in getting into action with a stream of water as none
could be pumped from the plug for a time. Chemicals were played on the buildings and the surrounding stables and sheds to
prevent the fire from spreading. By reason of their close proximity to the Walkin Shoe Factory and the Lebanon Paper Box Company
plant, the timely discovery of the fire and getting it under control almost immediately prevented what might have been a very
disastrous conflagration had the flames communicated to these buildings. The Ford auto truck of Mr. Roeder was completely
destroyed. A quantity of household goods belonging to William Schumacher and stored in the second story of the building was
destroyed. The building adjoining the Roeder property in which the several cars of H. Schumacher and Brothers were stored was
somewhat damaged. All the machines were removed in safety. The loss will amount to several hundreds of dollars. The cause of the
fire remains unknown. It is said that children of the neighborhood were preparing to burn a cross Friday or Saturday evening and in
trying out the material, the flames communicated with gas and in an instant were beyond control. A futile attempt was made by the
youngsters to extinguish the fire by carrying water from a nearby pond.
The Call of May 29, 1925
SLIGHT FIRE HERE SATURDAY EVENING
Fire, in the heart of the business section of Schuylkill Haven, Saturday evening caused quite a bit of excitement and damage to the
extent of three or four thousand dollars. Fire was discovered in one of the frame stables at the rear of the property of P. T. Hoy. It is
believed to have started in the portion occupied by the Wenrich Battery Station. When the firemen arrived they were handicapped
somewhat by the dense smoke which was caused by the character of the goods stored in the unoccupied part of the building. Three
streams of water and chemicals were used. Water was played for almost three quarters of an hour before Chief Schumacher
declared all signs of a fire extinguished. Considerable damage was done to the equipment in the Wenrich Battery Station. Firemen,
despite the fact that everyone was attired in his Saturday or Sunday best clothing, worked in a pouring rain following the fire and
many were drenched to the skin and had their clothing ruined.
|The Call of June 11, 1892
A MIDNIGHT BLAZE – Lautenbacher and Company’s Underwear Factory Badly Damaged
On Friday night at about 11:30, as Will Bast, who is doing duty as call boy at the P and R “J” telegraph office, rounded Murphy’s corner
from Main into Saint Peter Street, an odor of smoke reached his nostrils, and he promptly proceeded to investigate. He had not gone
far before he saw a small flame dart from one of the windows of Lautenbacher and Company’s underwear factory and at once he
began to yell “fire”. At the same time a dance was being held in the Washington Hall. The music for a waltz had just closed and “The
Call” scribe and several others were gazing at the weeping skies when suddenly a dense cloud of smoke met their gaze and a faint
cry of “fire” reached their ears. Without waiting to hear or see more they rushed out in their ball room attire in the pouring rain and
by their vociferous cries soon had the firemen running to their headquarters and the bells and whistles making enough din to wake
The Schuylkill Hose Company, whose house is near the scene of the fire, were first to play on the burning building. They had two
good streams on the blaze. The Rainbow Hose Company arrived soon after and the two companies did effective work. Had it not
been for the heavy rainfall no doubt the whole building would have succumbed to the flames. As it was, only a part was destroyed
and the machinery damaged by smoke and water. The loss amounts to about $1500. There was no insurance on the building and only
two thirds on the machinery, which is valued at $5000. Many theories are advanced as to the origin of the fire. Some think it of
incendiary origin, others from the heat of the engine and still some that the lightning caused it.
|The Call of January 5, 1895
HOSE HOUSE DEDICATION – The Rainbow Hose Company of Town in Its New Home
The Rainbow Hose Company Number One, of Schuylkill Haven, dedicated their new hose house Wednesday with appropriate
ceremonies. The building was beautifully decorated and resplendent with starry emblems. The ceremonies consisted of a banquet,
during which the following made addresses: Dr. H. N. Coxe, Dr. C. Lenker, Ed Sterner, A. A. Hesser and humorous John Bowman. The
banquet took place in the parlors of the hose house and about 150 persons participated. Samuel Bausman, the North Ward politician,
kept the party bubbling over with laughter with his effervescent wit. Eiler’s orchestra contributed to the pleasures by rendering a
number of choice selections.
The new house is located on Spring Garden Street, near the P. R. R. depot and is an ornament to the town. It is a two story brick
structure with a turreted mansard roof and brown stone trimmings. The building is a model of architectural beauty and symmetry and
will compare with any structure of the kind in the interior of the state. The company was organized about nine years ago and kept
their apparatus in a stable. For two years after the company became chartered, the members had a regular meeting place. Then came
a financial crisis and the company had a hard struggle for existence. Meetings after that were held at the homes of the members, but
the company bravely overcame its financial troubles and the dedication last evening was the happy sequel of its early struggles
against adverse fate. The company now numbers about one hundred members and is in excellent financial condition. It is the
purpose of the company to hold a fair in the near future and furnish the building out of the proceeds.
Every member of the company deserves unstinted praise for their energetic work in giving the town such a model building as that
dedicated last evening and it goes without saying that the citizens will feel a sense of security with such a company as the Rainbow in
their midst to fight smoke and flame. The Building Committee consisted of E. E. Mayberry, Chairman; Henry Keiber, Secretary; Luke
Fisher, Treasurer and John F. Bader and John Berger.
|The Call of January 12, 1895
HOSE HOUSE DEDICATED
The memorable event on New Year’s Day in town was the modest dedication and formal possession of the beautiful and convenient
hose house of the Rainbow Hose Company’s building by its members. We have taken pains to inquire just what the boys
accomplished and their lot and building complete costs them the sum of $4500, not including the labor of the members, who by their
own hands made the entire excavation for the cellar and brought eighty five perches of stones to the yard, which were kindly
donated by the P and R Company through Mr. E. F. Smith, the courteous engineer of the canal department. Together with their hose
carriage, thus far they have had the expense of $5500. Out of this amount, the hose company, by their determination and unbounded
energy aided by the generosity of our liberal hearted citizens from one end of the borough to the other, have raised just $3500,
leaving therefore an indebtedness of $2000, not such a large amount in view of the splendid showing the company has to offset it.
The members are not modest in expressing their thanks to our citizens for their generous and continued assistance, more especially
the ladies of the borough, and we feel justified in asserting that at any hour of the day or night, through all seasons, should our
homes be menaced by the fiend fire, the Rainbow Hose Company will cheerfully and speedily respond with their best efforts.
The building is of brick. The front of pressed brick and brown stone trimmings, two and a half stories high, with ceilings in the clear.
On the northeast corner is the bell tower at a height of forty seven feet, while opposite on the southeast end is an ornamental tower,
just three feet less in height. The main room on the ground floor is bright and roomy, twenty five feet by forty seven feet and can be
divided off by partition doors, thus making two commodious rooms when required. On the second floor is the parlor, twenty five by
thirty feet, with the reception room in the rear divided by folding doors. The wainscoting downstairs is yellow pine hard finish, while
the upper part is in cypress hard finish. The second floor also contains a commodious bathroom, together with an equipment room.
All in all we take pride and pleasure in saying to the Rainbow boys, “Well done.” The fixtures on the main doors on the ground floor
are ingenious and we might say costly and worthy of examination. While the doors are securely locked, the simple raising of a simple
hand lever unlocks the two ponderous doors and throws them wide open for a quick run of the carriage.
Only on the proceeding evening the company decided upon a festival, but notwithstanding the short time, the ladies had prepared a
most elegant table. Dr. H. N. Coxe opened the speaking and after well timed remarks, presented the company with a beautiful
picture. Dr. Lenker was the second orator and his address was of a most encouraging nature. Mr. A. A. Hesser followed with a
description of running the machine in town a quarter century ago and Mr. Sterner next rendered a beautiful patriotic discourse. The
band of professor Eiler rendered their usual elegant program of music and the entertainment long to be remembered was closed for
the evening by Mr. John Bowman, in a recitation in Pennsylvania Dutch which sent the large gathering home dreaming of spooks and
poison. The energetic President, Mr. Fisher, cordially invites all the citizens of town to pay them a visit in their new home at any time
and often where they will always be welcome.
|The Call of March 12, 1926
BUNGALOW BURNED AT WILLOW LAKE
Fire, between 1:30 and 2:00 Monday morning, completely destroyed the Hay bungalow situated near Willow Lake. The contents of the
bungalow were also completely destroyed as it was impossible to remove any article as the entire building was a roaring furnace very
shortly after the fire was discovered. Mrs. Gilbert, who resides nearby, first discovered the flamers and immediately telephoned the
alarm. Although outside the borough limits, all companies of the department responded, and there were six pieces of fire apparatus
lined up along the Killian Dam. Upon arrival the firemen could do nothing more then prevent the flames from communicating to other
nearby buildings. Holes had to first be chopped into the ice over the Killian Dam before the suction hose could be used. The three
companies began work of this kind with the intention of putting the three pumps into operation. The three pumps were started within
a minute or two of one another. However the Rainbow boys and the Schuylkill Company had hard luck, each bursting a section of
hose as soon as the pressure was turned on. The Liberty Company had better luck and was the first company to have continuous
stream of water on the flames. Another stream of water was played on the burning building later. The intense heat of the bungalow
which burned like tinder badly scorched the home of George Coover on the opposite side of the street. Windows in this home were
also broken by the heat. Mr. Hay, the owner, is a painter and resides in Pottsville. He was at the bungalow Sunday afternoon but
cannot account for the fire. He intends rebuilding the bungalow. Shortly after the siren whistle gave the alarm the sky was brilliantly
illuminated with the flames and the reflection could be seen from all parts of town. Despite this fact only an unusual small number of
persons were spectators.
The Call of January 7, 1916
FIRE THURSDAY EVENING DAMAGED MCCORD HOME
CAUSED BY DRAPERIES COMING IN CONTACT WITH LAMP IN UPSTAIRS ROOM
Fire last night, about nine o’clock, completely demolished the contents of a sleeping room in the home of Benjamin McCord in the
West Ward and together with water did considerable damage to several other rooms in the house. The origin of the fire is supposed
to have been caused by draperies coming in contact with an oil lamp left burning low in the room which quickly communicated to the
ceiling and furnishings. It appears that no one was in that part of the dwelling at the time of the fire as the daughters of Mr. McCord
were visiting at the home of a brother just a short distance from their home. Mr. McCord was at work on the railroad. The fire was
discovered by a Miss Feeney who quickly sent in an alarm from the Stanton residence. A bucket brigade was hastily organized and
did splendid work until the arrival of the fire department. The Rainbow Hose Company with their chemical apparatus confined the fire
to one room and in a short time had the flames extinguished. The Schuylkill Hose Company responded with full paraphernalia but did
not use the same. The home has but recently been papered and painted throughout and also refurnished. While the fire only
consumed the one room, considerable damage was done by water and chemicals. The loss is estimated at $500.
|The Call of June 9, 1916
LIGHTNING FIRES BAST MILL
During the storm of Saturday evening last, lightning struck the power wire at the Bast Underwear mill and entered the building. It is
supposed to have then ignited a fuse and the fuse dropping down in turn ignited ninety dozen union suits valued at $171. No one
was in the factory at the time. The fire was first discovered by Mrs. Elmer Schwartz residing across the street. She discovered the
smoke and immediately sounded an alarm. Harry Coldren, a neighbor, heard the cries of Mrs. Schwartz and breaking down a door of
the mill, entered. He fought his way through dense smoke to the fire extinguisher and then to the seat of the fire. In the meantime
someone turned in a general alarm with the result that all of the fire companies responded. Fortunately their services were not
required. The loss to the goods and the building will amount to between three and four hundred dollars.
A bolt of lightning also struck a small unoccupied building in the vicinity of the rolling mill but did slight damage. The United
Telephone Company had no less then ten phones placed out of service while several of the Bell Company also suffered.
|The Call of May 31, 1912
EARLY MORNING FIRE
Fire Tuesday morning about 3:30 o'clock completely destroyed the double frame P and R company house on "Goat Hill" occupied by
Angelo Peleezo and family on one side and Sylvia Peleezo on the other. But very little of the household goods of either family were
saved. On account of the local electric plant being connected with but one phone, the alarm which was sent in by residents of the
West ward had to first be relayed before the employee of the plant could be notified to give the alarm. When the siren was finally
blown the entire building was a mass of flames. The fire companies quickly responded and despite their being handicapped in
getting to the fire did good work when they were finally upon the scene in preventing the adjoining buildings from catching fire. The
Rainbow Hose Company attaching a line of hose at the plug in the West Ward could not reach the fire and several sections of hose
from one of the other companies had to be procured. The Liberty Hose Company and the Schuylkill Hose Company connected a line
on the last plug on Berne Street making two streams. The Liberty chemical engine did effective service. The cause of the fire nor a
definite amount of the loss could not be ascertained from the Peleezo people.
|The Call of May 24, 1901
LIGHTNING'S TERRIFIC WORK
The Baker Stable and Carriage House Struck During Saturday's Storm
Timely Discovery of Fire in the Baker Underwear Mill
During the storm on Saturday evening last, lightning struck the two story frame stable and carriage house belonging to E. H. Baker,
on the alley immediately across from his underwear mill and played havoc with the structure. The building which was erected only
two years ago is pretty badly damaged and it will require a general overhauling to render the upper part of it fit for use. The bolt of
lightning appears to have entered the building at the northwest corner of the second floor, splintering the corner post into match
wood and forcing out the weather boarding. Passing into the interior, it followed the sides of the second floor, splintering the posts
at each corner, forcing out the weather boarding and twisting the upper part of the building. Emerging at the northeast corner the
bolt passed downward, ripping off a door on the first floor. Remarkable to state, the electric fluid passed through a pile of hay on the
second floor without igniting the materials. The damage to the building which is estimated at about $175, is fully covered by
About the same time that the bolt struck the stable, fire was discovered by the boiler house in the mill, but was promptly extinguished
by Mr. Baker's son with a chemical fire extinguisher. The lightning apparently followed an iron pipe in the mill to a point near the
engine, where it ignited the oil soaked floor. Its timely discovery undoubtedly prevented a most disastrous conflagration, as the mill
is fitted with expensive machinery and contains a large and valuable assortment of finished underwear, ready for the market. It is
believed the bolt followed the electric light wires to a pole near the mill, where owing to the absence of ground wire conductors, it
glanced off into the nearby buildings. An incandescent light bulb in the Baker residence was also shattered by the bolt. Daniel
Snyder, residing on Williams street, just below the Baker premises, was considerably stunned by the bolt and had one of his arms
lamed for the time being. In another nearby house on Williams Street the lightning danced a jig in the open doorway, but switched off
without any damage.
|The Call of June 14, 1901
BLAZE ON SUNDAY EVENING REDUCES FOUR BUILDINGS TO ASHES
Property of William F. Doherty - Flames Spread Rapidly
Fire Companies Do Heroic Work - Loss Estimated at $1100
The stillness of the Sabbath, in this place was disturbed last Sunday evening shortly before five o'clock by a disastrous fire, which for
a rime caused the greatest excitement. Four buildings, the property of William F. Doherty, the paper box manufacturer of town, with
much of their contents were consumed by the flames. The fire, occurring as it did on a Sunday evening, just at supper time and when
everybody was in their best clothes, could not have happened at a much more unfavorable time. The origin of the fire is a complete
mystery, but various theories are advanced as to the probable cause. No one was known to have been in the buildings when the fire
started. The buildings were located in the upper part of town on the alley running parallel with and between Union and Main Streets.
The flames started in the upper part of the warehouse used for storage of straw board and were first discovered by Mrs. William
Auchenbach from the rear yard of her home on Main Street. In the upper part of the building hay was stored and owing to the
inflammability of the material the flames spread with remarkable rapidity and had gained considerable headway before assistance
came in response to the alarm sounded. The flames first communicated with the stable on the opposite side of the alley and a minute
later the adjoining stable was also on fire. Adjoining the later stable stood a large wagon shed which also took fire. The fire
companies were very prompt in their response to the call but upon their arrival the buildings were a mass of flames and it was seen
were doomed to destruction. The firemen turned their efforts to saving the nearby buildings, the preservation of which was due to
their gallant work. The large box works adjoining the building on the west side in which the fire started, stood in the greatest danger
and it was feared it was doomed. Fortunately, the wind blew in the opposite direction.
The first persons to arrive on the scene, among whom was Charles Doherty, brother of the proprietor, rescued the livestock from the
stables and ran out the wagons and carriages, all of which were saved. Three horses, a cow and calf were in the buildings when the
fire started. In the warehouse was stored about twenty tons of straw board used in the manufacture of paper boxes and this, with
two sets of double harness, four sets of single harness, two new plows, and other agricultural implements stored in the other
buildings were destroyed. There was very little hay or grain in the buildings. Mr. Doherty estimates his loss at $1100, the loss of the
straw board alone amounting to $600. The loss is covered by insurance to the amount of $550 in the West Chester and Achen
companies. Mr. Doherty informed a Call representative that he would commence the erection of a single commodious building at
once to replace those destroyed. He has been doubly unfortunate in losing his buildings at this time, in as much that he is now
without a place to store his grain, which is ripening in the fields of his surrounding farm. Mr. Doherty was in one of his fields some
distance from the buildings when the fire started. Mr. Doherty wishes to extend his thanks to the fire companies and all persons who
assisted in any manner in the protection of his property.
|The Call of August 16, 1901
KNITTING MILL SET ON FIRE
Terrific Storm Waged Over Town for Nearly Two Hours Saturday Night
The most terrific storm that has visited this vicinity for many years waged furiously for nearly two hours last Saturday night. Blinding
flashes of lightning, terrible clashes of thunder accompanied by a tremendous downpour of rain caused not a few of our citizens to
become terror stricken. The storm broke forth about seven o'clock and with each lull, a succeeding storm would occur with even
greater violence. It seemed as if the storms had combined to wreak their fury over this place.
At E. H. Baker's knitting mill a bolt of lightning followed the electric wires running from a nearby pole and entering the mill set cotton
waste near the ceiling on fire. Herbert Baker, son of the proprietor of the mill, discovered the flame and with the use of a patent
chemical apparatus soon had the fire extinguished. The Schuylkill Hose Company responded to the alarm sounded but their services
were not required. A bolt also struck John Palsgrove's residence at the corner of Saint John and Williams Streets and demolished
the chimney. Throughout almost the entire town the electric light fuses were blown out and business houses and residences were
left in darkness. In the exchange of the Schuylkill Telephone Company, the fuses were blown out and every phone disable. Balls of
fire followed the trolley wire through the streets while the storm raged and the fire seemed to fly in all directions. Main Street was
turned into a veritable roaring torrent from curb to curb, so heavy was the rainfall. Trolley traffic, of course, had to be discontinued
until the storm cased.
Some of our oldest residents remarked it was one of the fiercest, if not the most terrific storm, they ever witnessed. During the
progress of the storm great excitement prevailed at the County Home and the officials were required to work hard to avoid a panic
among the inmates of the institution.
|The Call of April 30, 1892
A SLIGHT FIRE
On Wednesday afternoon, about four o’clock, the roof of the engine house of Berger, Brown and Company’s shoe factory caught fire
through the smokestack becoming too hot. The damage was slight, the Schuylkill Hose Company was promptly on the ground but the
flames had already been extinguished by the employees. The Rainbow Hose Company, who are at the extreme end of town, came
thundering in a few minutes later, back of Uncle Dan Byerly’s team, while George Rauch, with a big load of the boys, followed close
|The Call of November 5, 1892
Last Saturday evening the town was thrown into a state of excitement when a glaring light lit up the overclouded heaven and flames
could be seen striking up above the hill to the north of town. It was learned that the barn of ex-Poor Director Daniel Reichert had
taken fire and was being consumed by the fiery element without any hope of saving it or any of the surrounding buildings. The barn
contained the crops of a season’s earnest toll as well as horses and cattle and farming implements. The former were consumed but
the horses and cattle and wagons, etc. were nearly all saved. The fire is supposed to have been caused by a spark from a passing
engine on the Pennsylvania Railroad. A high wind was blowing at the time which rendered all efforts to save the buildings vain.
On Monday morning the town was again thrown into a state of excitement by an alarm of fire. The kitchen of David Lloyd, more
commonly known as “Kelley” Lloyd, caught fire between the tin and shingles on the roof of it. A large number of people gathered at
the scene and a small hose was attached to the hydrant near by and in twenty minutes the fire was under control. The Schuylkill Hose
Company’s members were on hand but their services were not needed. The damage to the building was very slight. The family was
building a new fire in the stove when the flames were communicated to the roof.
|The Call of April 25, 1896
A DESTRUCTIVE FIRE
On Monday morning, about 4:15, the town was aroused by the dreadful alarm of fire, followed by the ringing of the fire alarm (the
school bell). In short order the Rainbow and Schuylkill Hose Companies were on the ground, but owing to the fact that the fire
started in a barn, amongst the most inflammable material, it spread so rapidly as to envelop the whole building and ignited the
dwelling of the cash butcher, Mr. Kinzel on Canal Street below Columbia which was in close proximity before the fire ladies reached
the scene. The Schuylkill Hose Company soon had two streams on and soon after the Rainbow arrived and assisted nobly in the mad
fight against the enraged flames, which had spread to the dwellings owned by Henry Kantner and Charles Kantner. On account of the
water supply coming through an eight inch main, the force with three streams, was not strong enough to be very effective against so
fierce a blaze; but the heroic boys of the fire department worked with courage undaunted and within less than an hour the fire on the
three buildings was under control, but not before the almost total destruction of the four buildings. The fire originated by the falling
of a lantern which Mr. Kinzel was using in the barn, the breaking of which ignited the coal oil in the straw and was immediately
beyond control. Mr. William L. Weissinger owned the house and barn in rear. The loss of Henry and Charles Kantner was total and
these hard working citizens have the sympathy of the community.
|The Call of July 24, 1897
LIGHTNING CAUSES FIRE
Last Sunday morning at one o’clock, lightning struck the Pennsylvania Railroad station over the telephone wire and set the ticket
office on fire. Only through the timely discovery of the fire was the building saved. A large number of tickets were destroyed, also a
lot of stationery and books were burned and rendered unfit for use. Nearly everything in the office was more or less damaged by fire
and water. Owing to the heavy downpour of rain, the Rainbow Hose Company could not be called out and the agent and his
daughters and Mr. Foulkes, who is a heroic fireman in New York City, had to put the fire out themselves..
|The Call of August 2, 1901
CHURCH STEEPLE STRUCK BY LIGHTNING
During the heavy storm of Wednesday morning the steeple of Saint Ambrose Catholic Church was struck by a bolt of lightning and set
on fire. The blaze was discovered by James Marton, sexton of the church, who sounded the alarm by ringing the church bell. The
Rainbow Hose Company responded promptly and by hard work got the hose on the roof and in the steeple of the church. The flames
could be played on from this position and were easily extinguished. Great excitement prevailed in the vicinity for a time. The
damage was very slight.
|The Call of May 16, 1902
The residence of Gideon Nice on North Main Street narrowly escaped being destroyed by fire. Some rags in the sewing room
became lodged under the edge of the heating pipe and when a fresh fire was started the pipe became so hot that the rags caught
fire and when Mrs. Nice, who noticed the smoke, went to the room, the carpet and floor was a mass of flames. She hastily gave the
alarm and several neighbors, by promptly forming a bucket brigade and by using a garden hose, subdued the flames, but not before
considerable damage to the house by both fire and water had been done. Had the fire been discovered ten minutes later it would
have been beyond control.
|The Call of January 17, 1908
WIRES CROSS AT SPRING GARDEN
Last evening at Spring Garden in the neighborhood of Crossley's store, one of the borough's electric light wires broke and fell
across the wires of the United Telephone and Telegraph Company resulting in the burning out of the telephone service and quite a
considerable amount of damage. A small boy who was standing on the pavement where a live wire dropped was struck by the wire
and knocked down. His trousers and one of his limbs were badly burned. In the exchange, the fire flashed all over the switch board
and the various connections and the operator, Lewis Emerich, had one of his fingers badly burned.
|The Call of June 19, 1903
ALMSHOUSE FIRE - Explosion of a Lamp Places Hundreds of Lives in Jeopardy
The explosion of a coal oil lamp in the basement of the main building at the Almshouse on Wednesday evening at 9:20 o'clock
resulted in a fire that did $5000 worth of damage and for a time menaced the lives of the two hundred people that occupy the
structure. The flames gutted the main part of the basement and the rear of the first floor broke through the second floor in several
places and went up the stairway to the third floor. The fourth and fifth floors were untouched.
Immediately upon the discovery of the fire the Almshouse officials got the inmates out of the building and distributed them among
the other buildings while the employees sounded the alarm and proceeded to fight the fire with the appliances which were at hand.
The rainbow and Schuylkill Hose Companies of town arrived promptly on the scene and through their efforts the fire was finally
extinguished after midnight. About one half the loss is on the building, which is amply insured, the other half is on personal property
of the steward, employees and inmates who occupied the structure.
|The Call of June 24, 1904
DISASTROUS FIRE - Destroyed Ed H. Borda's Barn and A Lot of Hay
Started in a Worthless Wrecked Ice House and Menaced The Safety of the P & R Car Shops
Late Saturday afternoon fire destroyed the old ice house owned by William Breininger and the stable occupied by Edward H. Borda
and somewhat damaged the residence of William Bachert. The fire broke out in the ruins of the ice house which was wrecked by a
wind storm more then a year ago. The ice house was located along side of the old canal level and along side of the trolley tracks. It
is supposed some boys who had been fishing in the vicinity accidentally fired the ice house while lighting their pipes.
No attention was paid to the fire until it began to menace the P & R car shops on the other side of the level, when Superintendent
Runkle called his men out to fight the flames. In the meantime a blazing ember was carried by the wind to the roof of Borda's stable,
more then a square away, and before anything could be done to quench the flames they had eaten their way through the roof and
communicated with a mow full of hay almost instantly enveloping the barn in a mass of flames.
William Wessner, who had gone into the mow in an effort to get on the roof and prevent the fire getting through, was compelled to
jump from the mow to the ground to escape the flames. The Rainbow Fire Company was quickly on the scene and while powerless o
save the fiercely blazing barn, prevented the destruction of other property. The Schuylkill Hose Company also responded to the
alarm but did not go into service.
Breininger's ice house was practically worthless, except for a little lumber that might have been used in rebuilding it. Borda's barn
was the property of the Schuylkill Navigation Company and was a substantial structure worth about $2500. Mr. Borda lost five tons of
hay and William Strouse who also kept his horse in the barn lost about a ton of hay. A lot of harness and several sleighs and buggies
were saved. The horses were all at work at the time of the fire. A horse belonging to William G. Huy was being temporarily stabled
there when the fire broke out but it was gotten to a place of safety without much difficulty.
Last Saturday night the ruins of the ice house again broke out and Superintendent Runkle had to call upon the shop hands to quench
the flames to save the shops from destruction. Trolley traffic was for a time at a standstill owing to the close proximity of the ice
house to the tracks and the fact that the fire destroyed some of the feed wires and guy poles.
|LAST UPDATED: JULY 31
|The Call of June 29, 1906
Late Wednesday afternoon John Barr's large two story frame house on his farm about a mile west of Schuylkill Haven on the Long
Run Road was totally destroyed by fire. A six year old boy, the only child of Mr. and Mrs. Barr, was rescued by the father from the
flames. Only a few of the household goods were saved. The loss is about $3000 and is partially covered by insurance. Mrs. Barr had
put the little boy to bed for a nap and started to preserve some cherries. The fruit had been put in a large boiler over the kitchen
range and a fire of corn cobs started beneath the kettle. While waiting for the fruit to cook Mrs. Barr went out with her husband to
pick more cherries. Shortly afterwards they were alarmed by seeing a dense volume of smoke burst from the kitchen door. By the
time they reached the house the kitchen and entire lower floor were in flames. The father scaled the porch, broke in a second story
window and rescued his boy just in the nick of time. As it was, the little fellow had his eyebrows singed and the father was painfully
but not seriously burned. It is believed the kettle of preserves boiled over and caught fire and the boiling mass ran on the floor
setting the house afire.
|The Call of June 14, 1907
What might have resulted in a serious blaze was discovered in the nick of time about three o'clock Wednesday afternoon at the
house of Mrs. Thomas Walleisa on Union Street just below Saint Peter. The flames were located between the plaster and weather
boarding on the lower side of the house near the front. A stream of water promptly put the fire out of business. Neighbors carried
most of Mrs. Walleisa's household goods to places of safety but there was no real necessity for moving them as the fire was confined
to the one spot and was so quickly extinguished. Mice and matches are the only cause that can be given for the origin of the fire.
The loss is less than $100. All three fire companies responded promptly to the alarm which was given by the Lautenbacher mill
whistle and later taken up by the school bell and other whistles.
|The Call of September 19, 1913
STABLE SET ON FIRE
Tuesday evening about eleven o'clock, fire was discovered in the stable of John Noecker in the south ward. Before the alarm was
given the stable was a mass of flames and very little of the contents of the stable was saved. A horse valued at $200, a quantity of
hay, straw, feed and a buggy were burned. When the fire companies arrived the stable was a total loss. A stream of water however
was played on the burning embers to prevent the fire from spreading to surrounding buildings. For a time it was thought either one
or two well known characters of town had perished in the flames but this later was found to be untrue. It is strongly intimated that
the stable must have been set on fire as the flames when discovered were shooting from the bottom of the stable from all sides. A
quiet investigation is being made but it is doubtful whether the guilty parties will be apprehended. The loss will amount to more than
|The Call of July 4, 1913
STABLE DESTROYED BY FIRE
Fire, starting about two o'clock Tuesday morning, completely destroyed the two story 18 by 24 foot stable of Albert Reiley of Dock
Street. The stable was used as a storage house and contained coal, wood, tools, etc. The unusual barking of dogs aroused one of
the neighbors who thought perhaps someone was after the chickens. Coming downstairs they discovered the stable nearly all in
flames. An engine in the P and R yards gave the first alarm, followed shortly thereafter by the regular fire alarm. The entire fire
department responded in good time but the fire at the stable was beyond control when the first stream, that of the Rainbow Hose
company, was thrown on it and the firemen endeavored to save the surrounding buildings and stables. Had there been but the
slightest breeze, a serious conflagration would surely have resulted as there are a number of buildings almost adjoining the building
burned. The origin or cause of the fire is unknown although it is strongly hinted as being caused by incendiarism. The loss is about
$300, not covered by insurance. Several large fruit trees near the stable were also destroyed by the flames.
|The Call of February 22, 1877
This article appeared in the February 7, 1913 issue of the Call recalling events from the issue of February 22, 1877, sarcasm included.
Between nine and ten o'clock last Saturday evening, the community was startled by the cry of, "Fire", which was occasioned by a ham
falling into the fire in the smokehouse of Mr. Ehman, the Main Street baker. This produced a vast deal o smoke but not much fire and
consequently very little damage. However, it caused considerable excitement and drew out a large crowd, together with the
incomparable Fire Department? (Namely the department we met at the corner of Saint John and Main Street about half an hour after
the fire was out and the excitement quelled enroute to the place from where originated the cry of fire. Had no one told them that all
was over, they might possibly have gotten the apparatus in the vicinity of the post office in time to send it by mail at nine o'clock the
|The Call of September 20, 1912
SLIGHT FIRE SATURDAY
A slight fire occurred at the home of a party by the name of Potts on Liberty Street early Saturday morning last. The fire was
discovered by several neighbors who gave the alarm. There being no person in the home at that time, the door had to be pried
open. The fire was discovered on the stair steps. A few buckets of water extinguished the blaze. Had the fire in its incipiency not
been discovered, a serious conflagration might have resulted. The loss will amount to several hundred dollars. Mr. Potts feels his
loss very keenly, as at this time his wife is a patient at the Pottsville Hospital. Mr. Potts is employed at the P and R car shops. The fire
alarm brought the fire department into action but they were ordered back before they reached the scene.
|The Call of December 6, 1912
EARLY MORNING FIRE
Fire early Saturday morning completely destroyed the two story frame building at the Foundry Company works just south of Schuylkill
Haven. The building destroyed contained the cupola, the elevator and several other small machines. The fire was discovered by
one of the employees about 1:30 o’clock . The alarm was immediately sent in and the hose companies responded, but owing to an
indistinct alarm they were delayed somewhat. When they arrived they could not lend assistance in fighting the fire as there are no
borough fire plugs in the immediate vicinity to which they could attach hose. The Schuylkill Hose Company put into operation their
fire engine and pumped water from a good sized ditch near the building with telling effect upon the fire. The Liberty chemical engine
rendered good service also. When the ditch was emptied, the work of the firemen was at an end but the fire was practically
extinguished. Had it not been for several lines of small hose attached to the foundry company’s water system and used by
employees, a more serious conflagration would have resulted, as it was through their efforts that the flames were prevented from
communicating to other parts of the building. The loss is estimated at from $1000 to $1200, covered by insurance.
|The Call of December 13, 1912
A slight fire on Saturday afternoon called out the entire fire department. The scene of the fire was the home of Joseph Barr in the
West Ward. The Rainbow chemical engine was used with good effect and quenched the flames. A bucket brigade headed by “Mox”
Hill rendered invaluable service prior to the arrival of the fire department. The fire was caused by a spark from a bonfire alighting on
the roof of the house. The fire alarm was sent in through the vigilance of Master James Lessig of Dock Street , who seeing the
smoke arising from the building, notified his parents and they in turn phoned to the light plant. Mr. Barr was fined by Burgess
Hartman for violating a borough ordinance which prohibits having a bonfire within a certain distance of any building.
|The Call of March 20, 1914
SLIGHT FIRE WEDNESDAY EVENING
A slight fire occurred Wednesday evening at the residence of C. T. Weidner on Dock Street about nine o'clock. The fire was
discovered by friends gathered at the home of the reverend gentleman when the room began to fill with smoke. An investigation
showed that the fire was in the outer kitchen, and when discovered , the flames were rapidly eating their way along the walls, ceiling
and flooring. An alarm was sent in but before the companies arrived, Reverend Weidner and the neighbors extinguished the flames.
With the high wind of Wednesday evening, the prompt discovery of the fire was most fortunate. Had it occurred several hours later
when neighbors had retired, a serious conflagration would surely have resulted. The cause is unknown. The damage will amount to
about one hundred dollars.
|The Call of July 24, 1914
FIRE AT PEALE FARM
Saturday afternoon about 2:30 o'clock fire was discovered in the ice house of R. H. Peale a short distance below Schuylkill Haven.
The ice house is located to the rear of the old homestead. The homestead is occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Morris Moyer. The flames
spread rapidly to all parts of the ice house and threatened communication with the homestead. The alarm quickly spread and within a
short time hundreds of persons from all parts were on the scene. Word was sent to the fire companies of Schuylkill Haven and
Orwigsburg. The Liberty Fire Company of town was the first on the scene. They made use of their chemical apparatus and prevented
the spread of the flames. Upon the arrival of the Schuylkill Hose Company with their engine and hose a stream of water pumped from
a well was soon playing on the flames and in a short while the flames were extinguished. The fire company of Orwigsburg arrived on
the scene after the fire was under control and it was not necessary for them to unload their apparatus. For a while excitement here
was high, the rumor being that the R. H. Peale residence was being gutted by flames. The discovery of the fire made by Mrs. Moyer
was very fortunate. The ice house was completely destroyed. The roof and side of an adjoining building were also burned. The loss
is estimated at $200.
|The Call of October 1, 1915
FIRE SCARE ON MONDAY
A slight fire occurred Monday afternoon which brought out the entire fire fighting apparatus of the town, including the Schuylkill's
new auto truck. The scene of the excitement was the coal and wood shed of Mr. Jule Kantner of William Street. The shed was
destroyed and the flames being fanned in a brisk breeze leaped along the garden and destroyed the grape vines and grape arbor on
which were a number of prize grapes. Neighbors with buckets and a garden hose after a stiff fight soon had the flames under control
and extinguished the flames just about the time the first of the fire apparatus arrived on the scene. The loss is estimated at $100.
The cause is unknown. It is said there was a bonfire in the vicinity shortly before the alarm and a spark from this may have caused
the larger fire.
|The Call of September 29, 1916
SCHOOL TEACHERS FIGHT FIRE
Professors Ralph Ziegenfus and Ralph Wildermuth demonstrated their ability to fight fire just as well as teaching the young, when
they successfully saved a home from destruction on the Schuylkill Mountain on Wednesday afternoon. A fire started in the barn of
Sylvester Kotitis and had gained considerable headway before being discovered. It spread with such rapidity that the flames
communicated with the corn crib and the pig sty and they together with the barn and contents were burned to the ground. Seeing
that the barn was doomed, the teachers turned their attention to the home and saved it. Sparks were carried for a half mile away and
ignited the woods. These flames were easily extinguished. The loss to the barn will reach $3000. All the crops were destroyed but
the livestock was rescued. The fire started in the hay mow and is believed to have been caused by children playing with matches.
During the excitement, a party named Seifert, of Cressona, had an artery in his arm cut and bled profusely. He was given first aid by
Professor Ziegenfus and then brought to Schuylkill Haven to a doctor. The farm was formerly tenanted by Oliver Wagner. The owner
carried no insurance.
|The Call of June 29, 1917
SLIGHT FIRE FRIDAY EVENING
A breeze of excitement swept over this locality on last Friday night, shortly after nine o'clock when the fire alarm whistle was
sounded. The fire, a rather incipient one, was in the butchering establishment of Mark Maberry on Coal Street. The owner had been
rendering fat and was about to close up his place when the flames were discovered. Although the firemen responded promptly, the
flames were extinguished by a bucket brigade. The loss will only amount to a few dollars and the fire was caused by a defective flue.
During the excitement, Mrs. Jacob Shadel of Willow Street, received painful injuries. She was going to the scene of the fire when
struck by a bicycle ridden by a party named Fenstermacher. Mrs. Shadel was knocked heavily to the ground. Her injuries consist of
slight bruises and lacerations. She suffered greatly from shock and was compelled to take to her bed immediately following the
incident. Fenstermacher escaped with slight bruises.
|The Call of February 14, 1919
FIRE AT THE UNION KNITTING MILLS
The fire alarm awakened a good portion of the town Saturday morning at one o'clock. The fire was at the Union Knitting Mill boiler
house. It was discovered by Mr. Michael Sauer, one of the night watchmen. He promptly sent in an alarm and then made for the fire
hose of the plant and in a short time had extinguished the flames. The Liberty Fire Company responded with its truck but its services
were not required. The Schuylkill Hose Company also responded but due to alleged incorrect ward fire alarm signals, they first drove
their truck to Spring Garden. When their mistake was discovered they turned and made for the scene of the fire. The loss was slight
and was covered by insurance.
|The Call of February 14, 1919
SLIGHT FIRE ON BERNE STREET
A slight fire occurred at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Albert Geary of South Berne Street. Several buckets of water, however,
extinguished the flames with only a slight loss. It is understood the lighted head of a match broke off and landed in the lace curtains
with the result that the same were in flames in an instant.
|The Call of June 27, 1919
SATURDAY EVENING FIRE
Fire Saturday evening, about ten thirty destroyed several small sheds, the property of W. F. Stine, the local box manufacturer. The
same were located close to the box factory and the large barn of W. F. Doherty. It was only by the hard work of the Liberty boys with
their chemicals and the Schuylkill Hose Company with a stream of water that the flames did not ignite these buildings. The sheds
together with contents were destroyed, which included some baled hay, feed, harness and a large delivery wagon. The horse and a
cow were gotten out in safety. Firecrackers are believed to have caused the fire as Mr. Doherty who lives close by states he was
sitting on the porch of his home and heard one or two shots that sounded like firecrackers. The thought came to him that it would be
dangerous to have firecrackers near the sheds as he knew baled hay had been received by Mr. Stine that afternoon. In an instant he
noticed the sheds were ablaze. The three fire companies responded to the alarm.
During the fire Floyd Maberry and Lewis Eichorn were badly burned when while standing upon a ladder between the two buildings,
the wind shifted and the flames were swept on them. Maberry was badly burned about the arm, neck and chest and required the
attention of a physician. His case is particularly unfortunate as at this particular time his wife is confined to bed with illness and
several of the children are down with the measles. During the fire, several other firemen, well known about town, almost ignited
some of the other buildings by their fire and brimstone language caused by their falling into a cesspool, the building itself having
been turned over in order to prevent the flames spreading to it.
|The Call of August 6, 1920
YOUTHS BURN DOWN STABLE
Paul Auchenbach, aged about four, and one of Oscar Ney's children, both of Garfield Avenue, got hold of some matches and set them
off in an unused pig stable at the rear of the Ney home. The stable contained small quantities of hay and was very dry. In an instant it
was a mass of flames. The Auchenbach youngster had a narrow escape from being burned to death. It was only by the prompt work
of Mrs. Ney, who at the risk of herself being burned, fought her way through the smoke and flames and rescued him. Mrs. Ney had
her hair singed and was burned about the hands and arms. A pet dog of the Ney family was burned and the pig stable and adjoining
pen were burned to the ground.
|The Call of April 29, 1921
FIRE DESTROYED BARN, LIVE AND FARM STOCK
Fire destroyed the barn, several outbuildings, two cows, calf, chickens, grain and farming implements of William Wildermuth residing
in North Manheim Township just around the curve above the Killian Dam Tuesday afternoon. The loss to the owner is in the
neighborhood of several thousand dollars and is felt keenly as almost all of the savings of hard labor were consumed in the flames.
Mr. Wildermuth was preparing to discontinue work at the P. and R. shops and this year embark in the pursuit of farming. In
anticipation of this fact he had made a number of recent purchases of stock, implements, etc. The list of articles destroyed is as
follows: the building itself, two cows, a calf, chickens, straw, two tons of hay, three new plows, two new cultivators, a new hay rake, a
new one horse wagon, a new two horse wagon, a new spring wagon, on new set of harness, etc.
The fire is said to have started by a match in the hands of their adopted twelve year old son Grant, which while being struck, broke
and the flaming end went through a window in the barn and quickly ignited. The boy ran to the pump for water and having filled two
buckets was bound for the barn and could no doubt have extinguished the flames but two large pet dogs thinking he wanted to play,
jumped at him, tumbled him and upset the water. By the time he had procured more water the flames had made such headway the
water was without avail. The barn was closed at the time, hence the presence of the livestock and reason for their being consumed.
The young man evidently was too badly frightened to make much attempt at rescue. Mrs. Wildermuth, when she saw the flames,
became faint. Neighbors attracted by the fire worked hard but could save very little. The fire companies from town were summoned
and played several streams of water and chemical on the roaring furnace but their arrival was too late to be of material service in
checking the flames.
|The Call of August 5, 1921
ATTEMPT MADE TO BURN DOWN ICE HOUSE
What is termed a bold attempt to burn down the ice house of Mrs. Morgan Bittle along South Berne Street was made early Monday
morning. The fire was discovered shortly after three o'clock and the entire building in a minute's time seemed to burst into flames.
The alarm brought all the fire companies to the scene. The Liberty Company used chemicals and the Schuylkill Hose pumped water
from the dam adjoining. In a short time the flames were extinguished. For a time it was thought the houses located nearby would
take fire and considerable excitement reigned. The fire started about the middle of the rafters on the rear wall and burned fiercely
for a time and then died down before the fire companies arrived. This fact caused suspicion and an investigation resulted in almost
proof positive that oil was thrown about and the fire instead of starting at the bottom of the building started in the rafters. The thin
weather boarding at places was burned completely through and in other sections not even scorched. A considerable amount of ice
is contained in the building. The loss is given as several hundreds of dollars.
|The Call of November 11, 1921
$12,000 DAMAGE BY EXPLOSION
Considerable damage resulted last Friday shortly after the noon hour when a kier or vat at the bleachery of the Bast Mill exploded.
The explosion sent the lid of the container straight through the two upper floors. The concussion shattered the entire section of the
bleachery, snapping off heavy timbers and splintering the floors and sides of the building. Goods in storage as well as goods in
process of bleaching were scattered broadcast and considerable damage done to machinery in the bleachery proper as well as in the
two rooms above the bleachery. Two of the employees, Miss Tillie Gentzlinger and Miss Freeze were in the building and near the
scene when the explosion occurred. The former was bruised about the head and leg being struck by flying timbers, while the latter
was somewhat scalded by escaping steam. Had the explosion occurred during the work period other employees might have been
The concussion was heard distinctly in other parts of town and it was first thought the boiler at the Columbia Street bridge operation
had gone up. Others thought of another powder mill explosion. As soon as the location was discovered many persons flocked to the
scene. The impact and shock was sufficient to hurl timbers skyward and they were picked up in yards and found on house roofs
quite some distance from the mill. Knitted goods were twined and twisted about the broken timbers and steam pipes and machinery
were bent and twisted in all shapes. The week's wash in a neighbors yard had been blown clean off the line and the top of the kier
blown through both the storage room on the second floor and the cutting room on the third floor.
The cause is said to have been the blocking of the safety steam valve. This valve was found among the wreckage and an
examination found that this valve instead of opening and permitting steam to escape when it reached a certain pressure had become
blocked and failed to function. The loss is estimated by the firm to be between $10,000 and $15,000. There were 2200 pounds of
knitted goods in the kier that exploded and 3500 pounds of goods in the cutting room, all of which were ruined. The kier itself will
have to be rebuilt and also a portion of the building. The sixteen by twenty three story frame addition and elevator shaft under
construction at the mill was not damaged. It is proposed to rebuild this addition as well as a considerable portion of the mill proper
and bleachery in the spring of 1922.
|The Call of December 2, 1921
GAS PLANT TOOK FIRE
Thursday afternoon the gas plant caught fire and but for the timely discovery by Councilman Carr, a neighbor, would have been
destroyed or badly damaged. The cause of the fire was due to the flooring of the second story about the super heater igniting from
the excessive 1400 degrees of heat in this tank. At the time the employees of the plant were absent, having just left the plant shortly
before. A few buckets of water sufficed to extinguish all flames. Sheet iron will be placed about this super heater to prevent
recurrence of fire. The loss sustained is slight. The three fire companies responded but their services were not required. Fully four
hundred school children were attracted to the scene and would have surely been in the way of the firemen had it been a more
|The Call of January 13, 1922
FIRE SCARE ON WEDNESDAY MORNING
With the streets almost impassable with snow and a stiff gale blowing, the fire whistle, Wednesday morning at 9:30 sent the shivers
down the backs of everyone who heard it by reason of the fear of a disastrous conflagration. Correct and prompt location was
obtained from the telephone operators at the Bell Exchange and this fact aided the firemen ever so much in promptly responding to
the alarm. The fire was at the Mrs. J. Kantner residence on William Street. It was a chimney fire near the roof of the building. Willis
Reed promptly brought a chemical fire extinguisher from the mill and with the aid of George Stelfox reached the roof of the building
and made effective use of it. The Liberty Hose Company was first on the scene and with chemicals extinguished all traces of the fire.
Weather boards were torn from the building and a thorough examination and search made for further evidences of fire before the
department left the scene. The Schuylkill Hose was second on the scene of the fire and the Rainbow Hose Company with the
chemical truck third. Considerable damage was done to the rear second story of the building and the kitchen of the home.
|The Call of May 9, 1924
FIRE ROUTS COMMUNITY TUESDAY MORNING
Fire in the summer kitchen of the property better known as the "Company House" property of the P. & R. C. & I. on Coal Street, routed
this community Tuesday morning about four o'clock. The siren and one look toward Spring Garden convinced everyone that a big fire
was in progress. This because of the blaze and the reflection cast in the sky. The building was entirely burned down together with
its contents consisting of wash tubs, jarred and canned goods, garden tools, etc. The same being the property of George Biehl and
William Staller who occupy the brick dwelling adjoining. Long before the siren whistle was sounded the Rainbow Hose Company had
a stream playing on the flames. The fire was discovered by some early risers and members of the fire company were aroused and
were soon on the job with the chemical truck. A messenger was later dispatched to the light plant and the alarm given. Streams of
water were played on the burning structure by both the Rainbow Hose Company and the Schuylkill Hose Company. The Liberty
Company was on hand but did not go into service. The building being of frame construction was a mass of flames before the first
firemen arrived. Luckily the nearest buildings were of brick, otherwise a more serious conflagration would have resulted. The work
of the Spring Garden Company was retarded by the bursting of two different sections of "new" hose purchased last year and given
very little service up to this time. Just what caused the fire is uncertain. There had been fire in a stove in the building Monday to
furnish hot water for the weekday washing. This fire had been allowed to burn itself out. It is thought sparks smoldered in the stove
and caused the fire.
|The Call of June 13, 1924
SLIGHT FIRE WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON
A very slight fire at the home of Edward Fisher of Garfield Avenue, Wednesday afternoon about 3:30 o'clock brought out the entire
fire department post haste, half the population and caused all kinds of excitement until the nature of the alarm was learned. Sparks
from a wood fire in an adjoining neighbor's home are believed to have set fire to the roof around the chimney of the Fisher home.
That the low fire in the kitchen stove of the Fisher home should have caused the fire, as was at first thought, appears it have been
impossible. Water from buckets and chemicals were used to extinguish the flames. The alarm was sent in by Mrs. William Wessner
and the firemen informed the location of the fire was on Garfield Avenue, North Ward. Despite this fact when several of the fire
trucks reached the corner of Centre Avenue and Dock Street, they were misled to believe the fire was on Pennsylvania Avenue or
Stanton Street. One fire truck dashed out Centre Avenue, around on Stanton and Pennsylvania Avenue and then found its way to
Garfield Avenue. Along came the Schuylkill Fire truck and they too were directed out Centre Avenue. Dropping a line of hose at the
plug, where had congregated a number of people, hundreds of feet of hose from the plug on Centre Avenue to Stanton Street and
Pennsylvania Avenue were unwound before the error was discovered. While there wasn't so much flame at the fire on Garfield
Avenue, there were enough sparks and rightly so, emanating from the firemen who were fooled as above mentioned to have started
quite a conflagration.
|The Call of August 3, 1923
FIRE THREATENED FARMER'S HOUSE
Fire, shortly after six o'clock Tuesday evening, threatened the destruction of the county property or residence, occupied by James
Webber and family, in North Manheim Township near Spring Garden Junction. The splendid work of the firemen who used chemicals
saved the building but the small kitchen adjoining was completely destroyed. Nearby farmers, some of the patients at the county
institution and town folks who responded as soon as the whistle at the county electric light plant gave the alarm of fire, saved all the
furniture and household goods of Mr. Webber. Hand chemical extinguishers were used to good advantage. Water for replenishing
the chemical engines of the Rainbow and Liberty companies was supplied from a hydrant that is connected with a spring on the
premises. Mr. Webber is the farmer at the Almshouse. The discovery of the fire was made while he and his wife were eating supper.
When discovered, the flames could probably have been extinguished without much damage but Mr. Webber having the use of but
one hand, his arm having been broken over a year ago, and up to this time has not regained the use of the hand, was greatly
handicapped. The fire rapidly spread to the woodwork of a small unused shed adjoining a summer kitchen. This and the summer
kitchen were completely destroyed. The cause of the fire is said to have been due to a three year old grandson of Mr. Webber
setting fire to some paper in the small building.
|The Call of July 4, 1924
BIG FIRE NARROWLY AVERTED HERE
Children celebrating the Fourth with fireworks near the paint shop of Lowrey Fritz on West Main Street, are said and thought to have
caused a fire which destroyed the paint shop and for a time threatened the Berger Garage adjoining on Tuesday evening shortly
before six o'clock. Upon the sounding of the alarm residents by looking skyward were quick to detect the thick black smoke arising
from the scene. The entire fire department was on hand within a few minutes and when it was announced the Berger Garage was on
fire great fears were entertained for a serious conflagration.
Firemen upon arriving found the garage had not as yet caught fire although the burning building was but two or three feet from the
recently constructed addition to the garage. The paint shop however was a roaring furnace. Two streams of water and chemicals
were quickly played upon the Fritz building and the Berger Garage. In a few minutes the fire had been extinguished and the public
breathed a sigh of relief. The roof of the Berger Garage was burned in spots as was some of the woodwork at the cornice. Had this
garage been of frame construction it would like as not have required several hours of the toughest kind of work to extinguish the
flames. The Fritz building was completely destroyed.
One of the remarkable things about the fire was the prompt action in driving every car in the garage to safety on the nearby streets.
Chauffeurs responded willingly and in a few minutes every car, almost one hundred, had been removed from the garage. Mr. Fritz
estimated his loss at between $400 and $500, as a considerable quantity of paint was destroyed. Mr. Fritz was near Landingville at
the time of the fire. He heard the siren fire whistle and saw the black clouds of smoke in the sky. Upon arriving in town he found it
was his own property that had been destroyed. Mr. Fritz has the sympathy of many friends as less then a year ago death called his
wife and helpmate and now this additional ill fortune adds additional hardship to his efforts to rear a family of several young children.
|The Call of April 9, 1926
MATCHES SET FIRE TO BED CLOTHING
While playing with matches on the bed, children of Floyd Maberry of Liberty Street set fire to the bedding while the mother was in the
yard placing the weekly wash on the line. The screams of the youngsters brought the mother to the rescue. An alarm was given and
fire extinguishers from nearby persons extinguished the flames with but slight damage and without serious injury to the youngsters.
About the same time the fire alarm was sent for the Maberry fire, a brush fire was discovered on Goat Hill. For a time it looked like
the nearby dwellings were threatened and two of the fire companies were directed to the spot by pedestrians who noticed the smoke
from the brush fire. The Schuylkill Hose obtained direct information of the location of the fire from the telephone exchange and
drove to the Maberry fire and used fire extinguishers to good effect. The brush fire was extinguished before the arrival of the fire
trucks, the Rainbow Hose Company making the run of fully a mile from their fire house to the fire in good time.
|The Call of July 2, 1926
GAS FILLING STATION DESTROYED BY FIRE
Fire, starting shortly after six o'clock Tuesday evening, completely destroyed the gas filling station of McCullough and Barron on the
Scott farm, a short distance north of town. The large barn together with the dwelling of Harry Hillibush were completely burned to the
ground. The Rainbow Fire Company with their pump and chemical truck were the first of several companies from Pottsville and
Cressona to arrive on the scene. Little work could be done to save the barn or filling station as they were doomed upon arrival of
the local company. Efforts had to be confined to save the property of Terry McGovern known as Ridgeview Inn. This building was
very badly scorched and the window panes broken by the heat which was terrific.
The barn was a frame structure and unoccupied. Being very dry it burned like tinder. The heat from the burning buildings was such
that the traffic on the highway for an hour was impossible. The trunk lines of the Bell Telephone Company were burned down shortly
after the fire started. Temporary communication however was restored as soon as the flames had burned themselves and as soon as
the workmen could get close enough to the destroyed structures to make the repairs. The fire is said to have started in the
kitchenette of Harry Hillibush, who lives with his mother, and who within a year had built the home on a sort of bungalow style. He
was employed and had charge of the gas filling tanks at this place and operated a small store in connection with this work. When the
discovery of the fire was made it had already gained such headway that not a piece of furniture of household goods could be saved.
Every possession excepting the clothing upon his back and that worn by his mother who was absent at the time was lost.
A Durant automobile sold by Guy Moyer to Mr. Freeman but a few days ago and which was at the rear of the barn along the railroad
tracks was destroyed. One automobile in the barn was recovered. The fire is said to have started from a spark thrown by a passing
locomotive. While responding to the special still alarm of fire sent to Schuylkill Haven, the chemical truck of the Rainbow Hose
Company collided with The Call truck, striking it in the rear and taking off several of the wheels.
|The Call of July 2, 1926
FIRE BADLY DAMAGES STANTON MILL
Fire was discovered shortly before two in the morning on Wednesday in the frame building on Haven Street formerly used by J. E.
Stanton for his underwear mill. The flames had gained such headway when the firemen arrived that they could not be confined to any
one portion of the building. As a result the building was badly gutted and the contents mostly sewing and knitting machines,
practically ruined. The flames broke through the weatherboards at several places but the fire was mostly confined to the first floor.
The firemen prevented the fire from eating its way to the second floor although the flooring at some places was badly burned. The
heat from the flames was so intense that the sewing machines on the second floor had been badly damaged. The large knitters on
the first floor have been practically ruined.
Just what caused the fire is uncertain. The building has not been occupied for some time although inspections and examinations of
the same were made frequently by the owner. There is a report that boys during the day had been using firecrackers around the
building and that they had several times been warned and chased away by adults. Whether a smoldering part of a firecracker ignited
the building from the outside or whether a cracker had been thrown inside the building will probably never be known. At least four
streams of water and one of chemical were played on the flames while at their height. The Schuylkill Hose was the first company to
have a stream of water on the blaze, having hooked with the plug at Paxson Avenue and Haven Street. Later their stream was
replaced by the Liberty boys.
|The Call of January 14, 1927
SLIGHT FIRE ON MONDAY MORNING
A slight fire occurred at the butcher shop of Harry Cottler on Coal Street on Monday morning between ten thirty and eleven o'clock.
It did little damage as the flames were confined to or between the heavy sheets of plaster board on the floor of the second floor.
Chemicals were used by the Rainbow Hose Company. The smoke coming from the building was very dense and for a time gave the
appearance of a raging fire within. It is believed the fire started from sparks from one of two wood fires in two rooms on the first
floor which were kept up to dry out the concrete work that is being done in the building. The fire started in the concrete block
addition to the frame section of the building. All the apparatus of the fire department was brought to the scene but not required. The
damage was slight.
|The Call of May 27, 1927
CHIMNEY FIRE CAUSES EXCITEMENT
A slight fire in the chimney in the home of Charles Underdoor of Saint James Street, or the extreme end of this street better known as
the "Eck" on Wednesday evening caused quite a bit of excitement and had the fire trucks chasing over the town. The Liberty fire
truck happened to be back on Saint John Street where plugs were being tested. Coming out of Saint John Street upon the sound of
the alarm sent, many people following it. The Schuylkill Hose Company sent its first truck out Dock Street. Near the Catholic Church it
passed the Rainbow truck coming in town., The second Schuylkill truck was sent up Main Street with the intention of having it sent
out Dock. On Main Street it passed the Rainbow truck coming down Main Street. The Liberty boys went to the scene of the fire but
found a few buckets of water had been sufficient to extinguish the fire. The other truck of the companies also arrived on the scene
|The Call of January 18, 1929
BURNING OVERCOAT BRINGS OUT FIRE DEPARTMENT
A burning overcoat in the hallway of the home of Isaac Huy on Willow Street about quarter to six o'clock Thursday morning, resulted
in an alarm of fire being sent in. The fire was extinguished with little trouble. The Huy home was filled with dense smoke as was also
the home adjoining. Only one of the fire companies, however, arrived at the scene, namely the Rainbow Company. The other two
companies as well as many individuals were hunting the fire on Railroad Street, as this was the information given out to the
employees at the light plant by telephone and box number 33, corner of Liberty and Railroad Streets, was accordingly registered at
the fire houses. The Schuylkill Hose Company had difficulty in getting their truck into service, succeeding in getting it only as far as
the corner of Wilson and Saint John Street. Only after twenty minutes could it be moved from this location. Repairs are, it is
understood, now being made to it.
|The Call of July 19, 1929
FIRE DESTROYED RIDGEVIEW INN FRIDAY MORNING
Fire early Thursday morning completely destroyed the frame dwelling a short distance above Schuylkill Haven and south of Seven
Stars, which for some time has been known as Ridgeview Inn. Fire was discovered by the occupants but not until the entire house
was in flames and the escape of the occupants was made with great danger. The watchman at the Schuylkill Haven Car Shops
reported having heard the screams of the frightened occupants of the Inn and upon looking in the direction from which they came,
saw the building in flames. The Humane and the Good Will Hose Companies of Pottsville responded and played streams of water
upon the several gas tanks adjoining the building as it was entirely too late to save the Inn building proper. Joseph Zacone, the
proprietor, suffered burns to his hands and arms. The cause of the fire is said to have been an exploding oil stove.
|The Call of May 4, 1928
PAINFULLY BURNED WHEN GAS WENT UP
Howard Koenig, working at his car in the garage of William Raudenbush on Becker Street, Sunday morning, was painfully burned
about the face and legs when a large open can of gasoline exploded. Mr. Koenig was underneath his car. The open container of gas
had been used to wash parts of the machine. In some way or other it burst into flames. Mr. Koenig attempted to push the flaming
container of gasoline out of reach of another machine stored in the garage. In trying to do so it upset and spilled the liquid on his
trousers. He was at once enveloped in flames. Persons attracted by the commotion wrapped clothing and blankets about his person
and extinguished the flames but nor before he had been painfully burned. The flaming gasoline set fire to a part of the garage and
an alarm of fire was sent in. The fire siren sounded about the noon hour. All the companies responded but their services were not
required as neighbors had extinguished the flames with little damage to the building.
|The Call of July 13, 1928
OIL STOVE CAUSES FIRE WEDNESDAY
Flames from an oil stove on which the family supper was being prepared, communicating with the woodwork, caused a slight fire in
the basement or summer kitchen of the W. H. Wagner home on Center Avenue, shortly before six o'clock Wednesday evening. Water
used by members of the family and neighbors extinguished the flames but not until the entire house had been filled with smoke and
the walls and ceiling as well as the woodwork damaged. All the companies responded but their services were not required. Fire
Chief Schumacher however ordered the Liberty Company to use chemicals on the walls and ceilings as a preventative against any
smoldering sparks breaking into flame later in the evening.
|The Call of November 9, 1928
PAINFULLY BURNED IN EXPLOSION
Mrs. Jay Rickson of Union Street was painfully burned Monday afternoon when naphtha which she was using to clean dresses
suddenly exploded. The flames shot from an open doorway to the porch on the second floor and luckily were noticed by employees
at the Thomas Knitting Mill. Messrs. Robert Coldren and Foster Fahl quickly responded with fire extinguishers and aided other
persons to extinguish the flames. Mrs. Harry Huling, residing next door, had the presence of mind to trip Mrs. Rickson who in her
excitement was rushing about in her flaming garments. She then rolled her in rugs and extinguished the flames and prevented more
serious and more painful burns. An alarm of fire was sent in and all companies responded but their services were not required. The
Rickson apartments were badly damaged by the flames. Mrs. Rickson was burned deeply on the arms and neck. Her eyebrows and
eyelashes were singed as was also her hair. At this writing she is resting as comfortably as might be expected. Mrs. Rickson was
engaged in cleaning garments with naphtha. A low flame from the gas stove is believed to have ignited the fumes and although Mrs.
Rickson was standing on the back porch in the act of hanging up a garment that had just been cleaned, the explosion and rush of
flame were as one and in an instant the garment she was hanging up had been ignited.
|Below is memorabilia from various events in Schuylkill Haven related to our fire departments.
From left to right: a glass from the Fireman's Day Parade during the 1950 anniversary, a ribbon from a Rainbow Hose
Company truck housing on May 26, 1951 and two ribbons from the 1956 and 1964 Schuylkill County Volunteer Firemen's
|Pottsville Republican of August 21, 1885
SCHUYLKILL HAVEN'S FIRE COMPANY
Schuylkill Haven is now supplied by water works and the young men of the town have organized a fire company and propose getting
a steamer and other suitable apparatus. To raise funds they announce a grand picnic at Island Grove near Connor's Crossing, to be
held on the fifth of next month.
The fire company is officered as follows: John F. Bader, President, Samuel L. Martz, Secretary, Frank Butz, Treasurer. We believe the
company is negotiating for the purchase of one of the steamers belonging to the Good Intent Company of this city.
|Schuylkill Haven, Pennsylvania, July 2, 1885
"The undersigned met on the above date for the purpose of organizing a Fire Company in the Borough of Schuylkill Haven, Schuylkill
County, Pennsylvania. Said Fire Company to be known as the Good Intent Fire Company, Number 1, aforesaid Borough. Our intention
for organizing said Company is to protect property in case of fire, also loss of life which is liable to occur, as well as prevent
accidents which is in our power so to do , to which we fix our signatures."
John F. Bader Julius E. Weiser S. Boussum
Samuel W. Reibsaaman Franklin A. Bubeck Levi E. Sterner
Edward E. Maberry Abraham Huy Samuel Martz
Edward Renninger James J. Lash Frank Eiler
Isaac E. Huey George Rupp Charles W. Ney
This action was brought about after discussing the question of organizing a Fire Company at a picnic held at "Cullie's Woods",
sometime previous. This was the origin of one of the oldest institutions in Schuylkill Haven devoted exclusively to the service of the
public. The first meetings, with John F. Bader, Chairman, Edward E. Maberry, Secretary and Frank Eiler, Treasurer, were held in the
old house abutting Bader's Hotel, now owned and operated by Guy Luckenbill at 412 Dock Street. Realizing that funds were
necessary to carry on this work, it was decided to hold a picnic and dance on September 3, 1885, music to be furnished by the Black
Horse Band. The sum of $7.67 was realized on this affair.
September 13, 1885, a committee was appointed to look into the question of a new carriage and on September 26, the committee
reported that a new could be purchased for $450 from the firm of W. W. Wunder of Reading, Pennsylvania. A committee was
appointed to solicit funds throughout the entire town to pay for this carriage. The sum of $59.75 was realized from the canvass. At
the same time, the name of the Company was changed to the Spring Garden Hose Company of Schuylkill Haven.
October 13, 1885 the Company was officially organized and the following officers were elected: President, John F. Bader; Vice
President, Samuel W. Reibsaaman; Recording Secretary, Edward E. Maberry; Financial secretary, Isaac E. Huey; Treasurer, Charles W.
Ney. Due to the fact that the carriage committee was so royally entertained by the Rainbow Fire Company Number One of Reading,
Pennsylvania on their visit to inspect carriages on October 26, 1885, the name of the Company was changed to the Rainbow Hose
Company Number One in honor of the Reading Company. At this same time a committee was appointed and the first Constitution and
Bylaws of the Rainbow Hose Company were drawn up and on December 2, 1885, a Charter was officially granted to the Rainbow Hose
Company by the Schuylkill County Common Pleas Court.
The new carriage was delivered on Christmas Day, December 25, 1885 and was displayed in front of Metamora Hall on Main Street
where the Company was holding a fair. Needless to say it was the center of attraction for all the citizens of Schuylkill Haven, crowds
gathered around the carriage all day and evening and it was also inspected by many out of town Fire Companies. The carriage was
first housed in the stable of John Bader and was later moved to the rear of the property known as Hotel Deer, owned by Benjamin J.
Luckenbill. It was discovered that this building was not suitable to house such an expensive piece of equipment. Therefore, new
doors, new floors, papering, windows and a tower on the roof were immediately installed. April 24, 1886, a bell was purchased from
the proprietor of the Half Way House for the sum of four dollars and placed on the tower of the temporary Hose House. Three
members were appointed "bell ringers" with the privilege of ringing the bell for practice at any time they felt it necessary. June 12,
1886, the meeting place was changed to a room with a rental of two dollars a month in the Union Hotel, now remodeled and owned by
William Gehrig at the corner of Coal Street and Garfield Avenue.
A drum corps was organized October 4, 1886 with Joseph Tyson as leader and participated in their first parade on October 18, 1886.
This Drum Corp was later changed into a band. In July, 1887, the meeting place was again changed to the third floor of the building at
315 Dock Street. A janitor was appointed to keep the rooms clean at a monthly salary of twenty five cents, his duties did not consist
of cleaning cuspidors and occasionally bills of ten cents were submitted for services rendered, namely, cleaning spittoons. July 28,
1892, a festival was held on Dengler's Field now the site of Christ Lutheran Church. Records show that the demand for clam soup
was so great there was a shortage of milk and a cow had to be brought to the grounds and milked to furnish the necessary milk.
December 5, 1892 at a special meeting, the site of the present original building was purchased for the sum of $900. February 14,
1894, the contract for the present building was awarded and on December 17, 1894 the building was completed at a total cost of $3176.
On January 25, 1894, owing to the many burglaries and rowdyism that were prevalent at this time, a special meeting of the Company
was held. All twenty four members were present and were sworn in by the Chief Burgess for a two month period. Their duty was to
patrol the town during the night and break up the lawlessness. Their pay for this service was to be any contributions that could be
collected from the citizens.
Up to this time the ladies had always given their full support to the Company and in March, 1895, a Ladies' auxiliary was officially
organized. The years from 1895 to 1910 were busy years with the Company holding many bazaars and festivals to raise funds to pay
off their debt.
On June 14, 1910, the Friendship Hook and Ladder Company Number Three merged with the Rainbow Hose Company. After this
merger it was found that the present building was not adequate to accommodate the additional equipment and increased
membership. In June 1911, a contract was awarded to erect an addition to the original building at a cost of $2790. In order to keep up
with modern times, in 1920 the Hook and Ladder truck was motorized at a cost of $2673 and a new pumper was purchased at a cost of
$6735. In this same year the old horse carriage of the Company, which was purchased in 1835, was presented to a Fire Company
recently organized in Wade, Pennsylvania. As a respect of honor, this Company was named Rainbow, thus forming the third
generation of Rainbow Hose Companies, from Reading to Schuylkill Haven to Wade.
During the years from 1920 to 1935 the Company participated in many community activities. Probably the most outstanding being the
175th Anniversary of the Borough in 1925. In 1936 the two trucks were rebuilt and modernized at a cost of $6525. From 1936 to 1950
several block parties were held to raise funds with the purchase of a new truck in mind. In 1951 a new Seagrave Ladder truck and a
new Seagrave Pumper truck were purchased at a cost of $30, 293. With these new trucks, in the years 1951 to 1954, the Company
participated in many parades and won many prizes.
In 1954 the Company purchased the Charles Rose property adjacent to the present building at a cost of $6000. The property was torn
down and used as a parking lot. Also in 1954, the Company purchased the Willow street Playground at a cost of $1200. The men of
the Company restored the playground equipment and added new equipment. In 1955 the Ladies' Auxiliary erected a new fence at the
playground for the protection of the children.
In 1956, the Rainbow Hose Company, along with the other companies in the Borough, was host to the Schuylkill County Firemen's
Association Convention. In February of 1959 a committee was appointed to start raising funds for the 75th Anniversary of the
Company to be held in 1960. In May of 1959 a contract for a new truck building was awarded and the trucks were moved into this new
building on November 20, 1959. The cost of the building was $35,020. The downstairs rooms of the original building have been
remodeled and redecorated by members of the Company and will be the new social rooms for the members. In March, 1960, the
Company purchased the Harry Christ property and that building demolished to provide additional parking space as well as sufficient
space where Company affairs can be held.
July 24 to July 30 the Rainbow Hose Company is happy to be able to celebrate its 75th Anniversary. We feel justifiably proud of our
record during the past seventy five years. We assure the citizens of Schuylkill Haven that we will continue to do our best to carry out
the purposes of organization, as stated at the organization meeting in 1885 by the men who organized our Company, "to protect
property in case of fire, also loss of life which is liable to occur, as well as prevent accidents which is in our power so to do."
|This history of the Rainbow Hose Company was obtained from the 75th Anniversary book
published by the fire company in 1960. There are many interesting facts contained in the article.
|Below is an image from the Bell Telephone company magazine in May 1954. It shows Schuylkill Haven
resident George Bubeck in uniform with an engine of the Rainbow Hose Company and at practice with
the Rainbow Hose Company Drum and Bugle Corps.
Articles on several small fires in 1875 and
1901 plus the Rainbow firemen host a
banquet for the Ladies Auxiliary in 1901.
|Pottsville Republican of October 14, 1886
FARM HOUSE BURNED
This morning between twelve and one o'clock, the farm house belonging to the Saylor estate and occupied by Lucien Reber, on the
Long Run road between Cressona and Schuylkill Haven, was discovered on fire and was burned, together with most of the contents.
The family had been cooking apple butter during the day and it is supposed the fire originated from a spark that had lodged on the
roof, and such rapidity did the flames make that it was with difficulty that the inmates were rescued. Loss will approximate $2000, fully
|The following two early articles relate the borough's problem with
providing water in the fire plugs and the insurance implications.
|Pottsville Republican of October 4, 1887
The action of the Schuylkill Haven Borough Council on Monday evening last in refusing to pay any more water rent was a very unwise
move, as they have no fire engine there and the citizens and property owners will be at the mercy of the flames should a fire occur.
Besides the insurance companies will more than likely materially increase their rates or withdraw their risks.
|Pottsville Republican of October 8, 1887
FIRE PLUG ISSUE CONTINUES
Someone communicated to the different fire insurance companies on this and New York state informing them of the detachment of
service to the borough fire plugs and in consequence leave the town without water supply in case of fire. We property holders are
not at all alarmed, as we are a very careful people, besides our town is more substantially built and not as compactly as most towns
and in case of fire we have the canal running along the whole town backed by a people with heroic temperament, who work like
trojans when occasions of necessity present themselves. The insurance companies that fall in the trap must really be not very
considerate. The rate in our town has always been the same before and since the water was put in and since the water is here we
have been promised by the Schuylkill County Board of Fire Underwriters to have a man come here to lower our rates and many of our
people have dropped their insurance altogether on account of the unequal rating of our town, we must adhere to these rates and in
consequence many would rather carry their own risks. Just think, houses on our front street rated $1.75 per $100 per year. If the
companies desire to lose almost their entire holdings here, let them now insist on a higher rate and we will have plenty of advocates
of a home mutual fire insurance company, which is now, and for some time has been, seriously agitated.
|Pottsville Republican of September 27, 1907
FIRE AT GAS WORKS
Fire early Sunday damaged the gas works of the Schuylkill Haven Gas and Water Company to the extent of several hundred dollars.
The flames were discovered at about six o'clock by a crew of a P and R locomotive and they gave the alarm of the engine whistle,
which was later taken up by the school house bell. All three of the town's fire companies responded promptly and soon had the fire
extinguished. As soon as the firemen finished their work, General manager Aldrich, Superintendents Werner and McKnight had on
the ground the combined forces of the Schuylkill Haven and Pottsville plants with a gang of laborers from the P and R storage yard,
and by three o'clock in the afternoon had the plant running again. The building being of brick, tin covered roof, doors and windows
and window casings and the small amount of oil about the machinery constituted all of the inflammable matter, but the fire was so hot
the Babbitt metal plunger in the oil pump at the foot of the gas generator was welted out of all semblance to its normal shape. The
big gas generators, built of steel and intended to stand terrific heat, were not damaged in the least. The damage was confined to the
woodwork before mentioned, the oil pump, engine and blower belts in pipe connections. Repairs to the building were begun this
morning by contractor Rudy Moyer. The roof will be replaced by a metal one, all floor supports will be of metal, and as soon as they
can be obtained, a flooring of metal plates will be laid.
|Pottsville Republican of March 13, 1908
DR. DECHERT SUFFERS FROM FIRE
Fire on Thursday night gutted the second story of Dr. Dechert's stable, which is located at the rear of the doctor's residence. The fire
was discovered shortly before ten o'clock and so promptly did all three of the fire companies respond to the alarm and so rapidly and
systematically did the firemen work that the fire was confined to the second floor of the building where it originated. The cause of
the fire is believed to be spontaneous combustion from some hay that had been put in there the day before. The hay and the
hostler's room and its furnishings were destroyed and the second story of the stable was badly charred. The damage amounts to
between 4300 and $400. The doctor's fine horses, carriages, harness, etc., were all on the ground floor of the stable and were gotten
out when the fire was discovered. The first floor of the stable suffered only from the water that was poured in on the flames by the
firemen, the damage being slight. Dr. Dechert, who has been seriously ill, was not informed of the loss. The doctor is improving in
health steadily and is able to sit up for an hour each day. His physicians predict his ultimate recovery.
|The Pottsville Republican of July 16, 1908
NEW FIRE COMPANY IS ASSURED – TO HOLD PUBLIC MEETING
As has already appeared in this column, there has been a fire company organized in the South Ward of the town. The special reason
for the creation of the new company is that in their particular section of the town there is no fire apparatus. Between the greater
section and this district and the Rainbow, Schuylkill and Hook and Ladder Companies, there is the Reading Railroad and very
frequently trains block all crossings and on account of the air brakes on the trains they are unable to move , sometimes as long as
ten minutes or more. In the meantime should a fire be in progress, the building would be at the mercy of the flames and might be
altogether too far gone to get control of same when theses companies could get across again. This section below the railroad,
particularly Berne Street and the Long Run Road and the Schuylkill Mountain Road are being built up so rapidly that additional fire
protection is now necessary. The following milk and business places are located in this district: Reed and Leininger, Schuylkill Haven
Rolling Mill, Saul and Zang, Gerber Shoe Company, S. Thomas Knit Mill, Daniel Sharadin Est, Meck and Company, Daniel Phillips
Lumber Yard, Samuel Riney, Daniel Riney, Daniel Bitzer, J. F. Bast, Charles Bittle, Milton Meck Lumber Yard, Thomas Bast, Mrs. Mary
Hoffman, Frank Runkle, H. J. Dohney, Daniel Sharadin Furniture Store, and others. The School Board is now enlarging its school
building to four rooms which will hereafter take care of a great many more of our children and this institution needs the best kind of
protection for we need only to think back a few months to the awful calamity that befell Cleveland, Ohio. The South Ward represents
the second ward of the borough, contains besides the manufacturers and business places, many new and beautiful homes. The new
organization has been met with hearty approval and the movement is being sanctioned by the citizens in general. It is the aim of the
organization to have as many members of the other wards as possible, while the home of the fire company will be in the South Ward,
its assistance and help will be rendered to the extreme parts of the town and for that reason they invite all the residents of Schuylkill
Haven to join their ranks and become associated with them. On Monday night, July 20th at 7:30 there will be a special public meeting
held at the mill of J. F. Bast to consider further details of the organization. The question of purchasing a steamer will be taken up and
arrangements made for same. Everybody is urged to be present at the meeting.
|The Pottsville Republican of July 20, 1908
EXCITEMENT CAUSED BY FIRE
Saturday afternoon at about four o’clock, fire was discovered in the private hallway of the D. M. Wagner furniture store building that
leads to the lodge rooms. The blaze was in a pile of burlap and was caused by someone carelessly throwing down a lighted match.
The blazing burlap was thrown into the street and the Schuylkill Hose Company, which was summoned on a still alarm, extinguished
|The Pottsville Republican of July 24, 1908
FIRE AT HARNESS SHOP
Spontaneous combustion caused a slight fire in Squire C. H. Goas’ harness shop on Saint John Street on Thursday night, and for a
time caused great excitement, as Squire Goas’ building is of frame and adjoins another frame building, which in turn, adjoins the
Hotel Grand. On the other side of the shop, separated by a ten foot driveway, is Adam Moyer’s big livery stable and Keystone Hall,
and to the rear of the shop is another section of the livery stable. The fire was on the second floor, which is used by the Squire for a
work room. The timely discovery of the fire by Adam Moyer and the prompt sounding of the alarm resulted in the extinguishing of the
flames before much damage had been done. Squire Goas’ loss is not over twenty five dollars and the damage to the building, which
is owned by D. D. Yoder, of Reading, will be fully covered by half that amount.
|The Pottsville Republican of August 2, 1909
SCHUYLKILL HOSE COMPANY MEETS
The Schuylkill Haven Fire Department met as required under a recent ordinance passed by Council at Hotel Grand parlors one
evening last week. Daniel S. Byerly, representing the Schuylkill Haven Hose Company, was chosen chairman of the meeting. The
following committee was appointed on Rules and Regulations: Schuylkill Hose Company, W. J. Saylor, F. J. Hesser; Rainbow Hose
Company, Luke Fisher, Ed Maberry; Friendship Hook and Ladder Company, George Gerhart, Charles Weiser; Liberty Hose Company,
George P. Saul, J. H. Filbert. The following are the permanent officers of the department: Chief Engineer Luke Fisher, First Assistant
Frank J. Heim, Second Assistant Benjamin Luckenbill, Third Assistant Samuel Bast. The work of the department was outlined in a
number of speeches and many improvements in fire service are contemplated and will be brought about. A second meeting will be
held this month when the Rules and Regulations will be presented and acted upon and other business transacted.
|Pottsville Republican of August 12, 1909
SLIGHT FIRE AT SCHUYLKILL HAVEN
Late yesterday afternoon the stable of Joseph Meyers, situated in the center of the town and within several feet of Saint Matthew's
Lutheran and Saint John's Reformed Churches was discovered to be on fire. An alarm was immediately sounded, the Schuylkill Hose
Company responding. Had it not been for the heroic work of the bucket brigade, the whole structure together with the adjoining
properties would have been destroyed as the pressure for the hose would not throw a stream three feet long. The fire is supposed
to have been started by hot ashes being thrown against the building. The damage will amount to about twenty five dollars.
|The Call of March 11, 1932
HOTEL GRAND DESTROYED BY FIRE
On Tuesday morning, the Hotel Grand was destroyed by fire resulting in damages of $75000. The post office, Prudential Insurance Co.
and the State Bank of Schuylkill Haven, all with offices in the building suffered serious damage. The fire started at about 2:45 in the
morning spreading quickly. All guests of the hotel got out safely. Nine streams of water were trained on the structure for seven hours
to control the blaze. A separate building to the rear used by the bank and Schwartz's store were slightly damaged as was the Gray
building next door. Post office employees retrieved records and as much mail as possible taking it next door to the Gray building. As
the last employee left the hotel, embers crashed down through the skylight. Lewis Dewald has operated the hotel for the past two
and a half years. The hotel had thirty nine guest rooms and a band hall on the fourth floor. There are plans to rebuild. The building is
completely ruined. It occupied the site of the historic Washington Hotel which was built in the early days of the town. The present
building was erected by Daniel Yoder in 1895 and operated by Preston Souder. It was then sold to Clayton Bubeck who sold it to the
State Bank in 1923. Shollenberger and Yeager operated it by lease after the bank made large improvements.
The Bressler Band lost many of their instruments. The night was cold at zero degrees with a strong wind coating firemen with ice. H.
C. Wilson, a long time resident of the hotel, discovered the fire and alerted the other guests. The train at 2:22 woke him and he
smelled smoke. Many guests gathered personal effects and gathered on St. John Street but some escaped with only the clothes on
their backs. John Deibert saved most of his clothes but forgot his teeth and spectacles. Miss Mary Juris who lived near the bathroom
where the fore began fled in pajamas and a light coat. Wilson managed to save his forty year collection of historical notes and photos
of the town. Fire companies from Pottsville, Cressona and Orwigsburg assisted. The firemen fought to save neighboring buildings
and frequently changed clothes that were freezing from the water on the cold night. St. John Street became a frozen river. Chief of
Police Deibert pulled the alarm which alerted the town.
|Pottsville Republican of September 8, 1932
GARAGE WAS BURNED DOWN
Fire totally destroyed the small garage at the Merton E. Suits home on Fairmount at one o'clock this morning. The barking of his dogs
woke Mr. Suits and he saw the light of his burning garage, then a mass of flames. Oliver Wagner, who lives above, also saw the fire
about the same time and both turned in an alarm. Mr. Suits turned the water from the garden hose on his home only twenty feet
distant until the fire department arrived, when they aided in saving the dwelling. The wind direction was away from the home or
probably the story would have been different. The garage and new Oldsmobile sedan are a total loss. The loss will be over $1000,
partly covered by insurance. The fire companies responded promptly, but could not possibly save the garage. The cause is
unknown. There was no electric wiring in the building.
|Pottsville Republican of March 7, 1957
SPECTACULAR FIRE AT HAVEN MILL
A spectacular $175,000 fire destroyed the Argo knitting mill and bleachery on North Berne Street in Schuylkill Haven today. Flames
shot sixty to seventy feet in the air as an inferno consumed the three story brick structure. Embers were blown over several blocks.
The blaze was almost under control when Therold "Dutch" Bolton, a member of Schuylkill Hose Co. emerged from an alley between
the factory and a home with severe head injuries. It is surmised he was struck by falling debris. The fire started at about 11:00 in the
morning. 75 employees worked the plant which supplied partially finished goods for the new mill at Market and Margaretta Streets. A
machinist from New York was trapped briefly on the second floor until a ladder was used to rescue him. A great deal of material was
saved by employees who threw it out of windows into the street. Firemen ran lines to Stoyer's Dam and were able to save
neighboring homes. The sprinkler system worked but had little effect. Three explosions shook the building presumably from the
ignition of barrels of chemicals. The mill was a total loss but the firemen saved all neighboring houses.
During a conversation with the late Harry Naffin (former Haven resident and owner of Messner and Hess), he related details of the
fire. He and Therold Bolton were on the second floor at the start of the fire. They were calling for water for the line they had at hand.
Harry noted that threw a glass door panel on a stairway to the third floor they could see a blazing fire. Shortly after they moved from
it, the door exploded spreading fire into the dust filled ceiling. Harry and Bolton quickly dropped the hose and ran for their lives. He
also reported large bales of burning cloth rolling out of the back of the mill and falling into the Schuylkill River, floating downstream
|Pottsville Republican of September 25, 1947
TWO DIE IN SCHUYLKILL HAVEN FIRE - DEFECTIVE CHIMNEY IS BLAMED
Robert Bernet, 81, Nellie Sterner, 53, Victims; Double Funeral Saturday
An 81 year old Schuylkill Haven man and a 53 year old housekeeper who tried vainly to rescue him died in a fire which swept the
home of Stanley Bernet at 216 East Union Street, Schuylkill Haven, late Wednesday afternoon. The victims are Robert Bernet, father
of Stanley Bernet and Miss Nellie M. Sterner. Mr. Bernet died of a heart attack in bed on the second floor before firemen could reach
him. Dr. Joseph Matonis, Deputy Coroner said Miss Sterner died of suffocation in the cellar where she had gone apparently to check
a defective furnace which set fire to the house and filled the building with smoke.
Claude Sausser, fire chief of Schuylkill Haven, blamed a blocked chimney for the tragedy. Sausser said that Stanley, who is employed
at the Stoyer garage, built a fire in the stoker operated hot air furnace at noon and then returned to his job. His wife Verna, who is
employed at the Alpha Mills, directly in the rear of the home, also returned to her work after lunch, while Stanley's father, a retired
Pennsylvania railroader went upstairs to take a nap. Miss Sterner who was also employed at the home of Charles N. Meck next door,
was busy at the Meck home. Mrs. Meck said she left the house at 2:30 which is the last time that Miss Sterner was seen alive.
Sausser believes that the housekeeper, smelling smoke, went to the Bernet home shortly afterward and tried in vain to arouse the
elder Bernet and was overcome as she went to the cellar. Smoke was first noticed pouring from the house by employees of the Alpha
Mills who sent in an alarm and Mrs. Bernet rushed to the home, which she tried to enter but was driven out by the fumes. When
firemen arrived, they donned masks and entered the second floor by a ladder, carrying the body of Mr. Bernet Sr. to the street. It
was not known until half an hour later that Miss Sterner was in the house when Edward Bolton of the Rainbow Hose Company
stumbled over her body near the furnace in the cellar. She was pronounced dead by Dr. N. Albert Fegley.
Fire Chief Sausser said an investigation later revealed that the blocked chimney resulted in the doors of the furnace being blown
open and the fire spread to the cellar rafters, thence to the partition between the two homes and up toward the attic. He said that
the damage is extensive. All three fire companies of Schuylkill Haven, the Rainbow, Schuylkill and Liberty responded and put out the
fire with some difficulty and only after the use of masks which permitted them to get at the seat of the blaze. The alarm was turned in
about 3:30. The Stanley Bernets have two children, Nancy and Carl, the latter a seaman now on leave but both were absent from
home at the time of the fire.
A double funeral will be held from the D. M. Bittle Funeral Home on Saturday afternoon with Reverend B. E. Snoddy in charge of the
services. Burial will be in the Union Cemetery. Bernet, born and reared in Pottsville, was a resident of Schuylkill Haven for fifty
years. He was a son of the late George and Louise Krebs Bernet. He was a member of the Trinity United Brethren Evangelical
Church. Surviving are three sons: Aaron, Willis and Stanley, all of Schuylkill Haven and one daughter Mary, wife of Herbert Deibert of
Hamburg; one sister, Mrs. Eugene Fisher, Philadelphia; nine grandchildren; a half brother, Frank Bernet, Reading and four
stepsisters: Mrs. George Maile, Schuylkill Haven, Mrs. Edward Sterner, Pottsville, Mrs. Bertha Kraut, Philadelphia and Mrs. Elmer
Sterner, Port Carbon.
Miss Sterner was born and reared and spent her entire lifetime in Schuylkill Haven. She was a daughter of the late Robert and Mary
Stigman Sterner and was a member of the Trinity United Brethren Evangelical Church.
|Pottsville Republican of February 29, 1892
A Grand Opening - A Great Surprise - Fully Two Thousand People on the Streets
The grand opening of the fair of the Schuylkill Hose Company was a surprise to the many who knew no enterprise. The arrangements
were quietly planned but Peter F. Bauer is entitled to the sole credit for the hard work and without a doubt his earnest appeals,
together with a practical smile which he picked up in Pottsville, while at Rosengarten's, did the business. Captain Helms, who by the
way, belongs to the Rainbow Hose, by accident, met Major Losch in Pottsville, the major having just returned from the Pittsburgh G.
A. R. convention where he was elected a national delegate. The major received the news, took the first train for his Schuylkill Haven
and at once entered into the work. The Humane Hose and Steam Fire Engine Company of Pottsville, was the object of attack, they
being the first visiting fire company. They arrived at 8:00 o'clock and were received by the Schuylkill and Rainbow fire companies,
with a brilliant display of fireworks over the entire route, and while marching and countermarching the scene was indeed magnificent
and old and young were surprised.
AT THE FAIR
The visitors were at once marched into the fair, Metamora Hall, where they received another ovation from the hard working lady
committee, of which Mrs. Willis Bryant is chairman. The visitors were received by Major S. A. Losch in one of his old time speeches
which took the house. John Reber of the Humane responded in a happy, short address, but surprised the major by presenting to his
company, a fine fire horn, which will be described hereafter. The president of the company, Albert W. Felix, received the same, but
the surprise was so sudden, indeed, it was a shock but Al was equal to the occasion, received the call bugle and ordered the guests
to banquet. They proceeded at once to the Central Hotel, where they were entertained with a feast of reason and a flow of soul. H. A.
Hesser and Major S. A. Losch, in connection with proprietor Bauer, worked until midnight to send their guests away pleased. The fair
promises to be a great success and I will note it right along for you. The ladies of this fair are a power judging from the work they are
|Pottsville Republican of June 4, 1892
FIRE AT SCHUYLKILL HAVEN
At 11:30 last night the underwear and stocking factory of Lautenbacher Company was discovered to be on fire. This at a time when
rain was pouring down in torrents. The Rainbow and Schuylkill Hose Companies were quickly at the scene and soon had four streams
playing and at once got the fire under control. The southern end of the manufactory is a perfect wreck as it was here around the fire
room where the fire originated. The entire stock was destroyed, consisting of underwear, hosiery, etc. Loss as of yet is unknown.
Elijah Emerich, the Steward of the County Almshouse, has the principal interest in the establishment.
|Pottsville Republican of May 15, 1899
FIRE AT SCHUYLKILL HAVEN
The flames spread rapidly and communicated to the stable of George Gerber, Esquire. Both stables At 6:30 o'clock last evening, a
stable in the rear of the Reformed Church at Schuylkill Haven caught fire. were entirely destroyed and a portion of the church roof
was burned away. The fire is believed to have been caused by several boys who were playing in the stable and had matches.
|Pottsville Republican of June 25, 1925
ASSISTANT ROAD FOREMAN OF ENGINES BOYER
DROPS DEAD DIRECTING RAILROAD TRAFFIC DURING FIRE
John O. Boyer of Schuylkill Haven, assistant road foreman of engines at the Reading Railway Company, dropped dead in the station at
Schuylkill Haven at 6:30 o'clock Thursday morning while standing at the telephone, directing the movement of trains during the fire at
Schuylkill Haven. He was found a short time later at the phone with the receiver tightly wrapped in his hand. Heart trouble was the
cause of his death. A peculiar coincidence is the fact that his wife dropped dead three years ago on the street, just a block from
where he died this morning. He was a native of Schuylkill Haven and prominent in fraternal organization circles.
Mr. Boyer was born in Schuylkill Haven forty eight years ago and resided there continuously. He was the son of the late Edward and
Sarah Long Boyer of Schuylkill Haven and is the last surviving member of his family. His wife who died suddenly of a heart attack
three years ago, was before her marriage Lillian I. Brownmiller and was a sister of County Commissioner Roy Brownmiller. Two sons
Paul of Schuylkill Haven and Edward, at home, survive. Deceased was a member of Page Lodge of Masons, member of the Consistory
and Shrine and a thirty second degree Mason. He was also a member of Junior American Mechanics, the P. O. S. of A., Knights of
Malta, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, member of the Relief association of the Reading Company. He resided at 226 Dock
|The Call of October 3, 1930
TEN YEAR OLD SAVES MOTHER FROM FIRE
Fire Wednesday morning gutted a portion of the brick cottage of Herbert Schaefer on Edgewood and completely ruined the furniture
in two rooms of the home. The timely discovery of the fire by James, the ten year old son of Mr. and Mrs. Schaefer, who smelled
smoke and came downstairs to investigate, probably saved the lives of other members of the family and his mother, who for the past
several weeks has been confined to bed with illness.
Poor water pressure and delay in discovering the exact location of the fire gave the flames an opportunity to make headway. The fire
alarm was sent in by telephone, therefore, the firemen had to first obtain the information. They were told the fire was in Edgewood.
The Schaefer home is at the end of this part of the town and on a somewhat lower level than the others. The fire therefore, was not
readily discovered, even by residents of Edgewood. Fire companies arriving on the scene connected with a fire plug a hundred
yards or more from the scene of the fire, were disappointed when nothing more than a small muddy stream came from the hose. They
could not throw the water to the windows of the first floor. Water was then run from a booster pump of the Schuylkill Hose Company
and thence pumped onto the flames. Chemicals were also used. The Liberty Company connected with another plug but no water
from the large hose lines was thrown on the fire at the time.
For a time it looked as if the blaze would be a stubborn one to fight but in a short time they were extinguished. The father and owner
of the home, Herbert Schaefer, had filled up the furnace in the cellar and had left for work at the Bausher Dye Works in Hamburg
about six o'clock. Hardly had he arrived at the plant for work when he was given a message that his home was afire. Woodwork near
the furnace ignited and the fire ate its way through the floor into the dining room above the furnace. The furniture in this room and
the adjoining living room front was burned or charred and scorched with the exception of a large living room suite. Fortunately the
door from the dining room to the other part of the house had been closed and the flames did not get into the other rooms. The
Schaefer boy who discovered the fire noticed this door closed and after opening it and being confronted with the flames and smoke,
had the presence of mind to close it. Arousing the other members of the family and neighbors, it was found that the escape from the
second floor through the hallway had been cut off. Neighbors then procured ladders and carried Mrs. Schaefer, who had been
carried and assisted to the roof, to the ground, where she was cared for by persons in the neighborhood. Mr. Schaefer carried
insurance to the amount of four thousand dollars on the home and with three more monthly payments would have had the home, built
several years ago, completely paid for.
|The Call of March 20, 1931
EARLY MORNING FIRE CAUSES LOSS OF $40,000
Fire on Wednesday morning between three and four o'clock, completely destroyed the 150 by 40 foot one story concrete block and
steel building, together with contents, of A. E. Meitzler on Centre Avenue, Schuylkill Haven. Not an item or article could be saved
from the burning structure. The building was occupied by A. E. Meitzler as an auto body and fender works and auto paint shop. Very
modern and a great number of equipment, as well as a large supply of paints, varnishes and supplies used in the paint shop, also
auto equipment, parts and supplies were destroyed. Three automobiles, two Packards and a Buick, were also destroyed. The plant
had been in operation for a number of years and was modern in every respect.
A one story wooden structure to the rear and side of the large building was almost completely destroyed and a frame garage of R. C.
Gehrig, adjoining, was gutted. Mr. Meitzler estimated his loss at between forty and forty five thousand dollars, partly covered by
insurance. Five streams of water and three streams of chemical were poured into the burning building and upon surrounding
structures and despite the terrific heat and danger from exploding paints and oils, the firemen fought stoically and in close proximity
to the flames. Almost at the moment of its discovery, the building was a mass of flames, the fire having started, it is believed, in or
near the portion of the building occupied as the Duco plant. By reason of the very inflammable character of the materials stored
therein, the flames spread rapidly to every part of the building. When firemen arrived, the entire building was a roaring, seething
furnace. The bungalow of R. C. Gehrig, located across an open forty foot lot, was steaming and had it not been for its being covered
with asbestos shingles, would have been burned. The glass in the windows of the home cracked under the intense heat. A large
fern inside the home and close to one of the windows was scorched and a thermometer in the kitchen burst from the heat.
The members of the Gehrig family, consisting of R. C. Gehrig Sr., Mr. and Mrs. R. C. Gehrig Jr. and a one month old son, were the
occupants of the home and were aroused from their slumbers by the roar of the flames and the intermittent popping or explosions.
The apartments and garages of Clayton Bubeck to the rear and side of the Meitzler Plant were scarred from the flames. Occupants of
the apartments were ordered to gather valuables and be prepared to vacate on a moment's notice. The Boyer garage, also a
concrete block structure, to the north of the Meitzler plant and separated by only a space of twelve or fourteen inches, escaped with
damage of but several sections of roof being burned and a number of window glasses being broken. Twenty three cars in the Boyer
Garage were removed in safety.
Two automobiles in the Gehrig garage were removed in safety while the flames were rapidly eating their way toward the structure. All
three fire companies responded rapidly to the alarms. The Rainbow Company was first to have two streams of water playing on the
fire from a plug at the Kimmel Store. The Liberty Company used the plug near the Reider factory building while the Schuylkill
Company pumped from the plug on Garfield Avenue. The fire seemed to be discovered by several persons at almost the same time.
Mrs. C. B. Reed, residing almost directly across from the scene, noticed the glare and heard the explosions and awakened her
husband. His calls of fire quickly aroused others in the neighborhood. John Moyer, residing nearby also, was awakened by the noise
of the waves of heat coming through an open window along side of his bed. Thomas Herritt, residing in the Bubeck apartments,
appears to be the one who pulled the fire alarm from the box at the arch on Garfield Avenue. Bruce Sheesley, also residing in the
Bubeck apartments, jumped in his car standing outside and drove to the Rainbow firehouse. All persons state that when they first
discovered the fire, the building was in full flame. The roar of the flames and the explosions could be heard squares away and the
glare of the flames in the sky attracted many out of town persons who felt an unusually big fire was in progress.
Shortly after the arrival of the firemen, the "thinner drum", containing glycerine and other combustible materials exploded and flames
were shot high into the air and into all parts of the building. The heat was intense and scorched the trees in the vacant lot adjoining,
as well as badly scorching the Gehrig bungalow. Firemen were fortunate in being supplied with a splendid force of water. This
because of the fact that the twelve inch main from the Pottsville dams being on Garfield Avenue and crossing Centre Avenue only
several hundred feet from the Meitzler plant. Mr. Meitzler was not aware of the fire until awakened shortly before four o'clock and
after the plant was almost totally destroyed, by a telephone call from E. B. Pflueger, local insurance agent. It took him only a few
minutes to come from his home on West Columbia Street. Her could give no explanation or cause of the fire. The plant was without a
night watchman, but every precaution was always taken in the operation of the plant to guard against a fire.
As soon as an insurance adjustment is made, Mr. Meitzler intends rebuilding the plant. The concrete block walls are little damaged
excepting on the front of the building where a portion may have to be ripped out. The mass of twisted, fabricated steel from the
building and the twisted machinery and supplies of the plant were viewed during the week by a large number of people. Most every
machine passing through town on Centre Avenue came to a stop nearby and the occupants alighted and viewed the scene. By
splendid work the flames were prevented from completely destroying the portion of the building occupied as the office. While the
flames ate through the partitions and scorched the office equipment, they were prevented from completely consuming the contents
by a stream of water and later by chemicals. A great deal of credit is being given to the members of the local fire companies for their
very quick response and splendid work. It was at once apparent upon arrival of the firemen that the Meitzler structure was doomed.
There was an uncertainty as to what moment the exploding combustible material in the building would send out a stream of flame
over nearby property. This however did not occur. A fairly stiff breeze fanned the flames away from the Boyer garage but took them
in the path of the nearby frame buildings. On many of the house roofs nearby could be seen persons who were prepared to beat out
sparks that were being carried overhead for quite some distance.
Thick, black clouds of smoke topped off the flames that leaped high in the air and appeared to mount higher and higher as more and
more combustible material appeared to be fed it. The roar of the flames, as that of a high waterfall or river, could be heard for some
distance and with it could be heard the frequent explosions. During the fire, different persons were heard to inquire concerning the
large police dog owned by Mr. Meitzler and which was kept in the plant. Fortunately for this animal, he died several weeks ago.
Another comment heard from many persons was that concerning the result of the fire had it occurred several weeks ago when the
water supply was very low. There is no doubt about it, the flames would have communicated to additional nearby buildings and the
extent of the fire may have been very great, despite the fact that the fire trustees of town had made arrangements to pump water
from the creek that crosses Centre Avenue.
A fire on this same avenue and almost directly across the street from the Meitzler plant very badly gutted the Reidler Knitting Mill on
Saturday morning at 1:30 o'clock, August 10th, 1929 and threw out of employment fifty persons. The cause of the Meitzler fire has not
been exactly determined. One cause is that of short circuit wires on a smashed auto that was brought into the shop on Tuesday for
repairs. All records in the office are believed to have escaped damage. Some papers may be scorched but examination of some in
the desks revealed little damage. The roof of the building covering the part occupied as an office was not completely burned away.
|The Call of April 3, 1931
HELD FOR THEFT FROM FIRE RUINS
larceny preferred against them by A. E. Meitzler. The case was the result of the local police officers having discovered the men in
the act of stealing materials and equipment from the fire ruins of the Meitzler works on Centre Avenue. The men were carrying
equipment to their parked auto on Garfield Avenue between eight and nine o'clock Wednesday evening. When confronted by the
officers, the car contained a spreader jack that occupied almost the entire length of a touring car, a blow torch, several jacks and
several vises. While these two men were at the Squire's office awaiting, Mr. Meitzler happened to go out to his place of business
and there discovered another group of men loading up some of the materials from the ruins into a machine. The men offered the
information that, "There must have been a fire here." Meitzler said there was a fire. "We're taking brass and some of this other
material away and expect to sell it to a junk dealer for good money." "Yes!", said Meitzler. "Who gave you permission to take it
away?" "Meitzler did and oh well, he won't care anyway." Mr. Meitzler, however then most emphatically told them he did care and
ordered them from the place.
|The Call of April 17, 1931
SATURDAY EVENING FIRE BRINGS OUT DEPARTMENT
Fire, early Saturday evening was discovered on the second story of an unoccupied portion of the frame Lebanon Paper Box
Company. When the fire was first discovered, flames and thick smoke were shooting out of the windows of the second floor. A
prompt response of the three fire companies, the Liberty being first on the scene, prevented what might have been a serious fire.
The flames were quickly extinguished after three streams of water were played on them for a short time. The fire started round and
about several crates of paper boxes stored in that portion of the building for a number of years. Nothing but these several crates
were stored on this floor. A thick firewall with fire doors prevented the flames from getting into the portion of the building used by
Mr. Scott for the manufacture of boxes.
Examination of the premises shows the flames spread outward and upward from the crates. A portion of the rafters of the roof were
burned as well as the flooring and window frames near where the crates of boxes had been stored. The flooring directly underneath
the location of the crates was not burned, it hardly being scorched. The heat being intense, nearly ninety six panes of glass in the
numerous windows of the second floor were cracked or broken. Firemen, all of whom were attired in their Saturday evening or
Sunday best clothes, certainly must be complimented for their work and willingness to ruin or damage their clothing to fight fire.
|The Call of July 15, 1932
OVERHEATED STOVE CAUSES FIRE HERE
Fire starting about five o'clock Wednesday afternoon, badly gutted contents and the second story of a frame building of James Lash,
located to the rear of South Garfield Avenue, Berger Street. The building is used by Mr. Lash as a garage and storage house for
paints, etc. on the first floor. The second floor is used by Kimber Fenstermacher and Oliver Ditzler as bachelor quarters. Their
furniture, consisting of new kitchen cabinet, new bedroom suite, etc., were entirely destroyed. Smoke was first discovered along
Dock Street and for a time it was so thick that the location of the fire could not be exactly determined. Neighbors, with garden hoses,
were first at work and soon were assisted by Rainbow Hose Company. A stream of water within a few minutes time extinguished the
blaze. Firemen however, were at first unable to get close enough to use chemicals by reason of the intense heat. The inside of the
building is charred and the furniture and contents badly damaged. The cause of the fire is said to have been an overheated stove in
which it is said a fresh fire had been started. Only one of the three companies went into service. The Schuylkill Hose Company had
lines of hose run to the fire but when they came to pump water from the plug at the corner of Broadway, they could not do so.
Examination, according to reports made to this newspaper, were to the effect that this plug, a new one and recently placed, had not
as yet been tested or put into service. The water had not yet been turned into it.
|The Call of October 28, 1932
FIREMEN CALLED OUT SUNDAY
Firemen of Schuylkill Haven were called to fight what threatened to be a stubborn fire, Sunday afternoon about 4:30 o'clock, when a
stable at the rear end of the Pflueger Estate property on Main Street was discovered a mass of flames. Almost as soon as the fire
was discovered, smoke in thick clouds shot skyward and immediately flames too leaped high in the air. Forgetting all about Sunday
attire, firemen soon had several lines of water and also of chemicals on the flames and within twenty minutes, the fire was
pronounced out by Chief Sausser. The building, of one and a half story frame construction, had been used as a storage house and
garage. The autos of Russel Phillips and of Barber Lehman, usually stored in the building were not in it Sunday afternoon. The
flames burned big portions of the roof and the sides of the upper story. The building, it was stated by the owner, will be razed.
During the progress of the fire, the flames leaped across the property line and ignited the side of the Lazos property at the end of
the lot. Chemicals were used to extinguish the flames here. The scene of the fire was very close to the scene of the disastrous fire
several years ago when the Michel property was burned, and Sunday afternoon, until the firemen had the flames under control, there
was some uneasiness lest the flames communicate with the other nearby buildings and result in another serious fire.
|The Call of December 2, 1932
FIRE DEPARTMENT OUT FOR BURNING AUTO
An auto in flames on Saint Peter Street brought out the entire fire department Monday morning, just the time many folks were about
to crawl into bed. It was 12:15 when the fire siren's notes sounded. It was found that the auto of Russel Strause was in flames, and
was on Saint Peter Street, about one hundred feet from the Schuylkill Hose house. Chemicals from a fire extinguisher on the truck of
the Liberty Company served to save the machine from destruction. Mr. Strause states he was pushing the auto of Mr. Wilson, which
became stalled on the Orwigsburg state road. When he reached a point midway between the state road and East Main Street, his car
burst into flames. It way believed the fire was caused by the emergency brake having been on . With the flames coming up through
the floor boards, Mr. Strause drove the car into town and onto Saint Peter Street, expecting to be able to get a fire extinguisher at
the Schuylkill Hose house. This building however, was locked. It was then that the fire alarm box nearby was pulled. The companies
responded in a remarkably short time. The loss to the machine was not very great.
|The Call of February 24, 1933
SOUTH WARD HOME DAMAGED BY FIRE AND WATER
Fire, Thursday afternoon, completely ruined the interior of the two and a half story brick dwelling on the northwest corner of
Columbia and Saint Charles Streets in Schuylkill Haven. The furniture and household goods of Mrs. Minnie Shirey, who with her five
children, occupied the home, was badly damaged, particularly by the tremendous amount of water that had to be poured into the
building to extinguish the flames, which seemed to be between the rafters. The fire was discovered by neighbors who ran into the
home and appraised Mrs. Shirey of the fact that her home was afire. Smoke was issuing from underneath the roof and from an upper
story window. The lower rooms too, rapidly filled with smoke, making it almost impossible for the neighbors who responded to save
much of the furniture. Some of the pieces from the lower floors were saved but that on the upper floors and all of the clothing of the
mother and the children whose ages are two, five, eleven, thirteen and seventeen years, was ruined either by smoke or water.
The furniture in one of the upper rooms, that had just been placed for the use of a daughter of Mrs. Shirey, who was wedded during
the week, was also badly damaged by smoke and water. The three companies responded and with a high wind blowing, no time was
lost in getting four streams of water into the building, as well as several streams of chemical. Even with the large amount of water
and chemical fluid, smoke continued to pour from the upper windows in thick clouds. The Schuylkill Hose had two streams playing on
the fire while the Rainbow and Liberty each had one stream. Chemical hose was used by the companies also.
Perhaps for the first time in a great many years, included in the story of a Schuylkill Haven fire, can be the statement that the water
supply and pressure was more than sufficient. It was unnecessary to use the pumpers, the pressure in the mains being sufficient for
all purposes. Three sections of hose burst for one of the companies and one connection of the Y at the pumper of the Rainbow Hose
Company fell apart. Only the latter perhaps, was due to the water pressure. The bursting of the hose was due more to bad hose, the
occurrence again most forcibly demonstrating the importance and need for drying towers or racks in the fire houses so that the fire
hose can be properly aired and dried after use. It is believed the fire was caused by an overheated chimney. There were in use in
the home, a kitchen range and living room heater, neither of which, however, it was stated, were heated to any degree. The property
was formerly the Benneville Eckert home. It is now owned by the Schuylkill Trust Company. The damage will amount to several
hundred dollars while the loss to the occupants is equally as heavy.
|The Call of September 11, 1931
ALMSHOUSE BARN DESTROYED BY FIRE
Mike Lipco, who has been an inmate at the Schuylkill County Almshouse for four years, is being detained in the Town Hall cell on
suspicion of having deliberately set fire to the barn at the Almshouse, Wednesday evening. He will be given a hearing before Squire
Kline on Friday and unless he confesses to the act, will be remanded to jail to await further developments as the Schuylkill Haven
police have gathered together quite a great deal of evidence that seems to connect him with the crime and is sufficient to hold him
on suspicion. Lipco was noticed coming down Garfield Avenue at three o'clock in the morning by Officer Singer. Singer followed and
overtook him at Connor and inquired of him his name. The name given was sufficient for the officer as it was the name given to the
police by Steward William Powell immediately following the fire. The man had a fallout with the steward on Wednesday and was
ordered off the premises. He was heard to remark quite boldly that "he would get even with the steward."
At the time of his arrest, he was somewhat under the influence of liquor and liquor was taken from his clothing. He denied all
knowledge of the fire but later admitted that while he was sleeping in the Union Cemetery, he happened to get awake and said,
"What's going on?" When taken near to the scene of the fire, he would not look at the ruins but gave it a sly side glance and then
smiled. Investigation soon revealed that he had purchased coal oil at the store of Mrs. John Bubeck at seven o'clock Wednesday
evening. Mrs. Bubeck identified him. First he denied having made the purchase and then admitted he did and that he used it to rub
on his limbs. Witnesses have been procured that claim they saw the fellow running from the barn down into a ditch nearby and then
running along the Lehigh Valley Railroad toward the cemetery. The fire at the barn started at the Schuylkill Haven end of the building,
where there is a doorway that leads to a ladder to the top of the loft. Evidences of oil or gasoline having been used to start the fire,
is said to also have been discovered by those who first reached the scene. The fellow has maintained innocence, but his efforts
have shown that he is pretty well hardened and very sly.
Pete Gallagan, night gatekeeper, sent the fire alarm to the Schuylkill Haven light plant. The whistle at the Almshouse light plant was
tied down and both alarms went off about the same time but not until the entire upper part of the building was in flames. Attention of
employees was directed and efforts given to the saving of the livestock so that no water was poured onto the flames until the arrival
of the fire companies from Schuylkill Haven. Five streams of water were finally turned on the flames but the building and contents
were doomed and it apparently appeared to be just that much wasted effort and water. The terrific heat drove bystanders back to
within a hundred yards or more while the fire was at its height. Several streams were ordered off about ten o'clock but two were
continued until about eleven thirty. At daybreak water was again thrown on the mass that had begun to flare up. This was continued
until 8:30 a.m., when the fire departments of town removed their apparatus. All during the day at frequent intervals water was poured
onto the smoking ruins that frequently burst out into flame, from a line of hose, the property of the Almshouse.
The full six pieces of the Schuylkill Haven Fire Department had been rushed to the scene and all put into service, excepting one.
The Liberty Company worked with chemicals on the pig stable as did also the Friendship Fire Company Number One of Orwigsburg.
The Liberty Company pumped two streams of water from the plug in the yard near the gatekeeper's office. The Rainbow Hose
pumped from another plug and the Schuylkill Hose pumped form the creek at a point near the highway. The creek was dammed up
for this purpose and this work in itself was a very dirty job and very nauseating by reason of the filthy condition of the creek. The
odor from the water thrown from this stream was noticeable all about the premises. The Good Will of Cressona and the Citizen's
Number One of Palo Alto also responded but their pumpers were not put into service.
Hundreds and hundreds of persons were attracted to the scene of the fire. Along the highway, for some distance cars were parked
until ordered moved by the highway patrolmen, who at the time were busy directing traffic near the Fair. The upper end of East Main
Street afforded an excellent point from which to view the flames and even at this great distance the heat of the fire was wafted into
the faces of the spectators. The road to Bowen's Grove was almost completely blocked for a time and the fields adjoining were used
for parking places for hundreds of machines. A large number of the north and southbound traffic passing by the scene stopped for a
period as the fire made a spectacular appearance. Immediately upon learning the location of the fire, twelve or more Scouts from
Troop 2 of Schuylkill Haven went to the scene and assisted in directing traffic.
Long into the night there were few motorists that passed on the road and did not first stop for a time to view the fire from the
highway or from the nearby fields. Temporary quarters for the cows and horses have been established in the large barn on the
opposite side of the road. Thursday afternoon, repairs to the pig stable were begun. The barn destroyed had been rebuilt in 1874
after being completely destroyed by fire. J. H. Minnig, who at the time was the teamster at the institution, relates about the
excitement that then prevailed. The fire occurred at night during the summer. One cow and a calf were burned to death and the
crops were also destroyed.
|The Call of November 13, 1931
FOUR YEARS FOR SETTING FIRE TO ALMSHOUSE BARN
For setting fire to the large barn at the County Almshouse, on the evening of September 9th, Mike Lipko, a former inmate at the
institution, was given four to eight years in jail. The jury that heard the evidence during this week's session of criminal court was out
just about one half hour. The indictment presented was for arson and was brought by County Detective Buono for the
Commonwealth. The evidence against Lipko was gathered and put into shape by Burgess Scott and the police officers of Schuylkill
Haven. Lipko denied all knowledge of the affair.
Evidence submitted, however, proved that he had made threats against Steward Powell of "getting even" for having discharged him
from the institution and that he had purchased coal oil from Mrs. John Bubeck's store and had been refused coal oil at Heister Klahr's
store. Photographs had been taken of the immediate vicinity of the Almshouse barn showing a deep gully or ditch near to and its
very close proximity to a door of the barn from which it was stated he had been seen running and jumping into the ditch. These were
also used as evidence. Evidence was submitted by Steward Powell, by Luke Fisher, by two inmates of the institution, by Mayor Scott,
Officer Singer, Mrs. John Bubeck, Heister Klahr and Reuben Bair.
|The Call of March 24, 1932
TWO SLIGHT FIRES IN LOCAL MILL
Two slight fires last week at the J. F. Bast Knitting Mill of Schuylkill Haven were quite sufficient to provide more than enough
excitement and annoyance for members of this firm. Fortunately, a sprinkler system in the mill extinguished one of the fires and the
timely discovery of the second one prevented what would have been a serious fire. Aside from the excitement incident to the fires
and the loss sustained, is the uncertainty to the cause of the same. This latter fact has the firm somewhat puzzled.
The first one of the fires was discovered last Tuesday morning about 8:30 o'clock when water began to drop from the ceiling.
Employees noting the same reported to the office and an investigation was begun. It was first thought that a water pipe had burst in
a room used for the storing of goods. This room is kept locked. However, when the door was unlocked, a rush of water greeted the
men. Smoke also poured from the room. The sprinkler system had done its work and had extinguished a blaze in a large quantity of
finished goods. The sprinkler system was still poring water down upon the area affected. This was first shut off and windows facing
on the Schuylkill River, but fifty or more feet above its level, were opened. The fire had been completely extinguished, but large
quantities of silk on large rolls, silk yarns, silk tapes, and threads had been soaked with water. A conservative estimate of the
damage was given at $6000.
Tuesday morning, when Mr. Bast arrived at the mill, the night watchman reported having quite a scare early in the morning, making
the remark that during the heavy electrical storm of Tuesday morning, the mill seemed to be surrounded by a ball of fire. This
preceded a heavy crash of thunder. Only one electric socket, suspended from the ceiling, was in the storage room. The lamp had
not been kept in the light socket. Examination showed the fire started at a point underneath the electric light socket.
Thursday morning's discovery of a fire between the weather boards of the frame section of the mill was even more fortunate. Mr.
William Schweigert in going to a certain part of the basement, noticed the smoke. Other men called could not at first discover the
cause. For some time they continued their investigation without result and then one noticed flames licking their way up between a
partition. Fire extinguishers were used freely with good result. Had the fire not been discovered and the flames gained headway in
the frame partition, a more serious fire would have resulted. No explanation of the cause of the second slight fire can be figured out
by the members of the firm.
|The Call of September 29, 1933
TRIED TO GET CHEWING GUM FROM FIRE ALARM BOX
The entire fire department of the town was called into service shortly before one o'clock Tuesday afternoon but fortunately the alarm
of fire was a false one. The alarm was sent in from Box 18, the corner of Jacques and Broadway or near the Buechley Lumber Yard.
Several false fire alarms have been sent in during the past several years and in no case was the party apprehended , but in this case
it was different and the defender appears to have been an innocent youngster doing his second year in school.
Fire Chief Claude Sausser happened to be passing the Schuylkill Hose house on Tuesday and heard the alarm registering in the fire
house. He noted the location and quickly getting the light chemical truck out, drove to the location and arrived just about the time
the fire whistle began to sound the alarm for the second time. He noticed a group of children in the vicinity and making an
investigation, soon learned the name of the child. The youngster, not realizing what he had done, innocently told the story of how
older children had told him that with his penny he could get chewing gum from the fire alarm box. Not being able to find the
customary slot on the fire box that is on the chewing gum machines, he was told if he would pull the lever he would get a stick of gum
free. He promptly did as told but no gum came from the machine.
For the protection of the general public, parents could well give their children a talking to about the practice of tampering or even
touching fire alarm boxes. They might also impress upon them the gravity of the offense and the danger in sending in fire alarms "to
see the fire engines go by," as is frequently done in large cities.
|The Call of February 2, 1934
THREE ALARMS OF FIRE HERE IN SIX HOURS
Schuylkill Haven had three alarms of fire Tuesday within a period of six hours. Fortunately, by reason of the discovery in good time
and the prompt arrival of the firemen, the loss was not very great in any one of the fires. The first alarm was sounded shortly after
five o'clock in the afternoon when fire was discovered at the home of Reverend John Reber on Market Street. It was caused by an
overheated terra cotta pipe from the furnace in the cellar. The pipe had been built close against the joists and the washboard and
had ignited in the stairway. Chemicals were used and the flames extinguished without any great amount of damage. Considerable
excitement, for a time, was caused as much smoke was seen to be coming from the building. At seven o'clock on the same evening,
the fire department was again sent for and chemicals from one of the pieces of apparatus was used to extinguish flames in the same
residence. Fire, which evidently had been smoldering from the overheated furnace pipe broke out in a closet on the second floor.
Not any great amount of damage was done.
About 11:30 o'clock, the third alarm of fire was blown, as flames had been discovered leaping from the building of the Schuylkill
Haven Provision Company on Margaretta Street. The fire had been discovered by two employees. Messrs. Moyer and Ketner, who
were at work in the building. The alarm was sent in by them and upon the arrival of the department, chemicals were used. Until the
arrival of the department, the fire had been fought with extinguishers and a bucket brigade. For a time it looked as if the entire
frame structure would be burned. Hose lines were immediately laid but the flames were soon under control by the use of chemicals.
The fire, it is believed, was caused by an overheated chimney constructed of cinder block. The chimney passed between two
sections of the office and very close to woodwork in the partition. This became ignited and spread rapidly. Office furniture and
equipment was damaged to considerable extent.
|The Call of April 20, 1934
CHIMNEY FIRE HERE MONDAY
Fire in the chimney, Monday afternoon, did considerable damage to the home on Haven Street occupied by Attorney Luther Bashore
and family. The discovery was made about two o'clock and when firemen responded, they found thick smoke curling out from
underneath the roof on all sides. The entire house was filled with smoke and it looked as if the entire house was afire. Nevertheless
there was no sign of flames. Not until firemen chopped through the wall on the first floor were flames found. Chemicals were used
but the fire had evidently been burning for some time and it required quite a time before firemen were sent home. Despite the fact
that the fire alarm ward whistle sounded the South ward, firemen were prompt to arrive at the scene which was in the East Ward. The
floors and walls were badly soaked with chemicals and walls had to be torn open at a number of places to make sure all fire had been
extinguished. Hose lines were laid and were in readiness for use and water sent through one of the lines for a few minutes that the
result that a section of hose of the Schuylkill's burst. Fortunately, the rear of the home did not have as steep a pitch as the front part
of the house. This saved three firemen who were on top of the roof, probably severe injuries, as they slid off, and only were enabled
to stop their progress when they reached the rear portion of the roof.
|The Call of January 3, 1936
FIRE DESTROYS AUTO EARLY SATURDAY MORNING
Fire, last Saturday morning at four thirty o'clock, was discovered in the garage of Henry Hummel on Coal Street and brought the
entire fire department to the scene. Smoke in thick and heavy clouds was rolling from the building and flames could be seen
confined to one corner near the rear of the building. Breaking through a pane of glass, the flames were detected as confined to one
particular spot and this was at once noticed to be an automobile. Chemicals and booster pressure water lines were used to good
effect. The rear door of the garage was finally forced open and firemen braved the smoke and pulled out the car which was still afire
and belching forth volumes of smoke. The side of the building and the ceiling were burned somewhat and large areas scorched.
The machine, a second hand Pontiac, was almost completely ruined. It is believed the fire started in the car and it is understood the
same had been placed in the garage for the night but a few hours earlier. In addition to the damage to this machine and the building,
a Pontiac of Homer Zimmerman, stored in the garage, was badly damaged. The same will have to be repainted, the top and inside of
the car also must be given a complete overhauling. The auto of Miss Edna Klahr, also stored in this building, was damaged but not to
any great extent. The fire was discovered by Elmer Moyer, who resides nearby, who being awakened by one of his children, noticed
the reflection in the garage. He turned in an alarm. The building is a large frame one and was some years ago occupied by a garage
by George Stump and later by Henry Hummel. Hummel now occupies a large brick garage on Centre Avenue and uses the frame
building for occasional storage purposes.
|The Call of January 24, 1936
OVERHEATED FLUE CAUSED FIRE THURSDAY MORNING
Fire, Thursday morning, about eight o'clock, in the home of Franklin Felty of North Berne Street, resulted in the destruction of all of
the wearing apparel of the entire family of four, damage to carpets and furniture and several rooms of the home. The fire was caused
by an overheated flue from the hot air furnace in the cellar. The flue extended from the furnace to the upper rooms of the home
through a partition. This flue became hot and ignited the woodwork surrounding it. The wall in the kitchen was damaged and some
of the furniture. In the closet on the second floor near top the flue, all of the clothing was destroyed. Ceiling, walls and woodwork in
the second story rooms were damaged. Furniture in the living room on the first floor was also damaged. Mr. Felty stated to The Call
man that all of the clothing, excepting that which they were wearing for both him and his wife and two children, had been destroyed.
It was stated that the draft on the furnace had been set up in the morning between four and five o'clock. At the time the fire was
discovered Mr. Felty was in bed and was awakened by the smoke. The wife was at work and the maid was busy downstairs and had
not noticed the smoke.
Mr. and Mrs. Felty began housekeeping last summer with practically all new furniture, much of which is ruined. The Liberty Fire
Company was the first company to respond. Chemicals were used with telling effect and although the flames had broken through the
weather boarding on the outside and smoke poured from the windows. Firemen and the public were somewhat "at sea" by reason of
the fire siren not being blown and only the three blasts indicating fire in the South Ward. This is explained by the fact that the fire
siren was found to be frozen. The first alarm was sent in to the light plant by telephone and when the men at the plant attempted to
use the siren, they found they could not. The ward signals were then sounded. Later, the alarm was sent in from a box in the
neighborhood and the ward signals again sounded. Fire trucks experienced quite some difficulty in getting to the scene of the fire
by reason of the drifted condition of the streets from the high winds of Wednesday night and Thursday morning.
Fortunately for the entire section of Berne Street and the fire department, the fire was discovered before it had made any great
headway and fortunate too, was the fact that the fire had not broken out during the midst of the very high wind during the early
morning hours. For a time, concern was felt by the next door neighbors of the Felty home, for the reason that the body of Mrs.
Freeman Boyer laid cold in death in the Shollenberger home. An odd coincidence in connection with the fire is that in front of the
Felty home, corner of Caldwell and Berne Streets, is a fire plug. Inquiry regarding whether it would have been possible to obtain
water from the plug or any other fire plug in town, brought the information that it should be possible to do so because it is not felt
that the water in the service line to the plugs, three to four feet underground, is frozen. This of course, would hold good only in case
all of the plugs are in perfect condition so that all surplus water drains from the plugs.
|The Call of June 5, 1936
FIRE DESTROYED GARAGE SUNDAY
On Sunday afternoon, fire completely destroyed a small, frame, unoccupied garage, owned by Edwin Lindermuth at the rear of Paxson
Avenue near Haven Street. The flames leaped high and across a narrow alley and ignited the weatherboards of the home of George
Cripple. Both Mr. and Mrs. Cripple suffered considerably from shock. The flames threatened destruction of this house before the
arrival of the fire department. Several streams of water were put on the blaze but the garage was almost burned down before the
arrival of the department. Paint on several homes nearby was badly scorched and shrubbery and grapevines in the yards of nearby
residents were destroyed. The fire also ate out a section of the grass plot of A. R. Maberry and in his garden, shrubbery was
destroyed and some grapevines. A large elm tree on the Haven Street side of the Maberry lot was badly scorched by the heat and
several window glasses in the rear of this home cracked from the heat. A large iron pipe flag pole was bent and dropped to the
ground from the heat. At the Cripple home, the flames were just about beginning to eat their way through the weatherboards at the
top of the front part of the house facing the fire. A corner of the cornice on the house of Jim Confehr had ignited from the flames but
was discovered in time.
The heat was intense and from the flaming garage arose thick clouds of black smoke that could be seen all over town. The tardiness
in the arrival of the fire department was due to no negligence on the part of the firemen. The alarm was sent in first from box Number
17 at the corner of Dock Street and Paxson Avenue. The siren on the light plant was not blown for fully eight minutes after this was
done. Had it not been for the fact that a telephone message was sent direct to the light plant, the whistle might not have been blown
at all. Investigation showed the fire alarm system was not in the best of working condition. At the light plant, the inside electric siren
blew and called the men at the plant to the board. On the tape however, only single punches were recorded. This indicated a test,
as it was told to The Call man. At the Rainbow Hose Company fire house, the ticker showed the alarm was sent in from boxes 21, 12
and 17 and investigation shows that the alarm had been sent in from these three different boxes, being Main and Grant Streets,
Haven and Hess Streets, and Dock Street and Paxson Avenue. At both the Schuylkill and the Liberty fire houses, the ticker showed
the alarm had been sent in from box 17 at Dock Street and Paxson Avenue. Not any of these alarms were registered at the electric
light plant. It is understood the fire alarm system is tested weekly. However, it certainly was in bad shape on Sunday afternoon. The
loss to the properties will total several hundred dollars. The cause of the fire has not been determined, although it is stated it might
have been started by youngsters who were playing in the same.
|The Call of May 28, 1937
FIRE DESTROYS HOME DURING HEAVY STORM
Thursday afternoon, Schuylkill Haven was visited by one of the hardest and most severe electrical storms in years. Rain descended
in torrents and the electric flashes were frequent and sharp and accompanied by deafening peals of thunder. Lightning struck at
five different parts of the town, one resulting in complete destruction of a home. The first alarm was sent in for fire at the home of
Mrs. Frank Heim of saint John and Union Streets. Lightning struck on top of the roof near a roof opening. Smoke was seen coming
from the roof. Fire Chief Claude Sausser, upon investigating, found fire in the woodwork between the uppermost floor and roof of
the building. Water was used and the flames quickly extinguished.
As the firemen were responding to the Heim fire, another alarm was sent in. This was from the extreme northern end of the town,
Willow Lake. When firemen arrived, they found the bungalow of Mr. Paul Ney, close to the Mellon Skating Rink, in flames. The
structure was completely destroyed, together with all the contents including all furniture and clothing. A stream of water was used by
the Rainbow Hose Company but the building was too far gone when discovered to save it. The bungalow was located between the
carousel building and another large bungalow at Willow Lake. The husband is employed at the Reider Shoe Factory. The family had
recently purchased new furniture. Not an article of furniture was saved. The wife had gone to her mother's home during the storm
and the only clothing, therefore that the family has is that which they wore at the time.
The American Legion last evening took action to accept contributions of cash money or clothing for this family. At the Legion
meeting, quite a bit of cash was contributed and Friday morning, more cash was received. Persons who wish to help contributing
clothing, furniture or cash, should please notify W. V. Young or Fred Burkert. The Ney family carried no insurance and are therefore
worthy of the charity of the public.
Lightning also struck at the home of Harvey Heim. The bolt hit the chimney but fortunately did not do any great damage. The five
kilowatt transformer on Willow Street was struck and ignited and completely destroyed. Electric service was shut off for a time until
another connection could be made. Lightning also struck in at the Refowich Theatre and blew out the large main switch.
|The Call of June 25, 1937
TIMELY DISCOVERY OF FIRE SAVES FIRE HOUSE
Saturday morning, shortly before the six o'clock whistle blew, the members of the Schuylkill Fire Company were required to put out a
fire in their own fire house on Saint Peter Street. And by the way, had this fire not been discovered just in the nick of time, adjoining
frame dwellings and garages would surely have been ignited and there would have been an honest to goodness fire in town. The
fire was discovered by a Mr. Hinkle, who sent in the siren alarm connected at the fire house. This siren aroused people in the
neighborhood and firemen nearby. Fire Chief Claude Sausser, living in the vicinity, was one of the first to respond. He thought sure
the fire apparatus housed on the first floor would be destroyed immediately, so he quickly drove the same out of the fire house. Ray
Hummel sent in the alarm and brought the entire fire department to the scene. Water from booster tanks and chemicals were used
with good effect and the flames extinguished but not before a considerable amount of damage had been done.
The fire evidently started in an old couch sitting in a corner of the social rooms on the second floor. This was entirely destroyed.
One window frame was burned out entirely. All of the woodwork in the room was blistered. The linoleum and carpet was burned in
spots. All of the glass in a number of windows on the second floor was broken from the heat. The glass in the pictures on the walls
was broken. The papering is all discolored and the woodwork on the walls is all blistered. Some idea of the intense heat can be
obtained when it is known that the heavy wood of a corner of a pool table had already ignited. The fire evidently had been burning or
smoldering for some time and when discovered, clouds of smoke rolled from the building. The loss will amount to several hundred
|The Call of July 16, 1937
SLIGHT FIRE AT KAUFMAN'S DAIRY
Fire, a few minutes after midnight Wednesday, was discovered at Kaufman's dairy. Someone sent in the fire alarm and the entire fire
department responded. Water from the Rainbow Company's booster tank was used and in a few minutes was all over. And then the
public began to arrive in automobiles and on foot and in a few minutes time there was an unusually large crowd of persons on hand.
Streets for squares about were filled and somewhat blocked with autos. And then it began to rain and what a ducking a large number
of persons, who came unprepared for rain, received. Mr. Kaufman states the fire started in a small room where milk bottle caps were
stored. Several cases of these were destroyed. The flames communicated to the woodwork and were working up through an air
shaft. He estimates the damage at $250.
|The Call of December 10, 1937
EARLY THURSDAY MORNING FIRE HERE
Fire, Thursday morning about eight o'clock, did damage to the contents of the State Liquor store and the Schwartz Money Back Store,
both in the Gabul Luongo building on Saint John Street, two doors south of the Call. The cause of the fire was an overheated heating
plant in the basement and directly under the rear of the liquor store. The flames ate their way through the flooring after having
burned off several rafters. Smoke poured from the rear end of the building in thick clouds and also through the second story of the
building occupied as apartments. The family of the owner, Gabul Luongo, residing directly above the Liquor Store, to the rear of the
building, was appraised of the fire by one of the employees. Mr. Luongo has been on the sick list for the past few days. His wife has
been practically an invalid for the past several years. She was quickly removed from the building and taken to the home of her
stepson in Orwigsburg. Furniture and clothing in the apartments of Mrs. Mae Fetter, Mr. and Mrs. Christ Kantner and Mr. and Mrs.
Louis Rizzuto, also residing in the building, were damaged somewhat by the heavy smoke that got into them. The entire stock of the
Schwartz store was damaged by smoke.
Some of the stock in the State Liquor Store, that was standing directly at or near to the hottest part of the fire, exploded. A number of
cases of wet goods were broken and contents spilled about when they slipped from their storage shelving as the result of the
cardboard packages becoming water soaked. New labels will have to be placed on a number of bottles of various liquors, the
originals having been loosened by the water that got on them. This stock will have to be returned. An inventory of the stock of this
store had been completed and new goods for the Christmas trade had been received. While the amount of stock ordinarily carried at
this store totals but $4000 to $5000, the stock on hand Thursday morning inventoried close to $10,000. Two lines of hose were quickly
put into service upon the arrival of the fire companies, both being directed through the cellar windows to the seat of the fire.
|The Call of December 24, 1937
WEDNESDAY EVENING FIRE DOES DAMAGE OF $500
The fire siren at the electric light plant struck fear into the hearts of many who had left their homes to do Christmas shopping and
other business, Wednesday evening about six o'clock, and sent the local fire department hurrying to the scene of the fire in the
North Ward. Neighbors discovered fire and smoke coming from the roof of the brick and frame dwelling of Mrs. George Ehly at 301
Haven Street and occupied for a number of years by Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Stank and family. Almost instantly the roof was a mass of
flames. The dwelling is located directly to the rear of the Ehly Bakery and the North Ward school building. The fire spread so rapidly
that it appeared for a short time as if another very serious fire had its beginning but the fire laddies of the Rainbow Hose Company
got their fire apparatus on the scene and had a hose line playing on the blaze even before the general alarm siren was sounded, it is
said, and after the arrival of other apparatus and firemen, and a desperate struggle, the fire was brought under control with a
minimum amount of damage. In the meantime, firemen together with others cleared the home of all furniture and thus prevented any
loss from this angle.
Mr. and Mrs. Stank were profuse in their praise and thanks to the firemen for their prompt and efficient action. The cause of the fire
can be traced to only one thing, the supposition that a spark from a passing locomotive or from a nearby chimney wafted onto the
roof, which is of wood shingles, smoldered and later was fanned into flame from the winds. Mrs. Stank had just a few minutes before
finished her task of completely cleaning for the Christmas holidays and Mr. Stank was asleep in an upstairs bedroom at the time the
fore was discovered. During the late evening, firemen from the Rainbow Hose Company placed a canvas covering over the
destroyed portion of the roof to protect it from the elements until repairs can be made. The owner estimates her loss at about $500
to the roof and water damage to the plastering.
|The Call of December 31, 1937
TUESDAY EVENING FIRE QUICKLY UNDER CONTROL
Schuylkill Haven's fourth fire in twenty four days, Tuesday evening, was through good judgement on the part of the fire department,
extinguished without and great loss from fire or water. The fire was discovered about 6:30 o'clock in the warehouse of the Felix
property on Saint John Street, now occupied by the furniture store of Hunsicker and Lentz. It was found that the fire was contained
entirely to the corner of the second story of one of two adjoining buildings used as warehouses. It was directly over the rear part of
the building used as a store room. Three lines of fire hose were quickly laid but not put into service. There was a great deal of
smoke pouring from the building.
Fire Chief Sausser headed several of the firemen who first made an examination to find out just where the fire was located. Streams
of water from the booster tanks were used and in a short time the fire was under control and soon entirely extinguished. The fact
that smoke continued to pour out of the upper portion of the building for some time gave many persons the idea that there was
considerable fire and that it was not under control. This was not the case as the firemen shortly after their arrival and the discovery
of the exact location of the fire, had the matter fully in hand. The fire seemed to have started in a small elevator platform, the same
being stationed on the second floor. The woodwork of the elevator and some of the flooring and rafters of the roof were burned.
Only a small part of the furniture stored near the elevator shaft was burned. And with the careful use of water only a small amount of
water came through into the first floor of the furniture store. Fire loss adjusters who made an examination Wednesday praised the
local fire department for the splendid manner in which the fire was fought and in preventing great damage from the use of water.
|The Call of September 30, 1938
FIRE DID $1500 DAMAGE SUNDAY EVENING
Fire Sunday evening did damage to the furniture of Ebert Jones and others in the Knauss Apartments, formerly the Coleman
Apartments on Saint Peter Street. Its timely discovery prevented what might have been a serious fire. It was discovered shortly after
six o'clock. Upon the arrival of the firemen, smoke was coming from the rear windows of the Jones apartment on the second floor of
the building. Water from the booster pumps was used after the high ladders had been put into position. The fire seemed to have
started in a closet in the kitchen but had burned through the ceiling to the floor above. Other rooms in this apartment were damaged
by fire and smoke as was the furniture. The water soaked through to the apartments on the first floor occupied by Morris Hettinger
and Isaac Kempner and damaged furniture as well as the walls and ceiling. The Kempner family was not at home and had an
unpleasant surprise upon their arrival in town and upon opening their apartment several days later. The apartments in this building
had recently been given a complete overhauling. The damage to apartment and furniture may total $2000.
There was some delay in notifying the fire department of the fire. A nearby neighbor, smelling smoke, investigated and made the
discovery. Hurrying to a nearby fire alarm box, he sent in the alarm but there was no response through the fire alarm whistle at the
plant. The alarm however, at the fire houses, was sounded and the fire companies were on their way to the fire before the fire siren
sent its screeching tones over the town. The alarm was sent in from another box in the vicinity. Examination of the alarm box
nearest the scene of the fire showed that a small spring in the mechanism had been broken.
|The Call of March 15, 1940
SIX YEAR OLD PUTS OUT FIRE
Tuesday afternoon around four o'clock, George Seiler Jr., six year old son of Mr. and Mrs. George Seiler of Saint John Street,
overturned a box of matches while fixing a kite in the kitchen. While replacing the matches in the box, one became ignited and set
fire to the cottage curtain at the window. The window shade and the roller to which it was attached also burned. The child, who was
alone in the house at the time, beat the flames with a broom and when the fire spread to the wallpaper on the ceiling and he could
not reach it with a broom, he threw water on the ceiling. After the fire was extinguished, the boy went out on the front porch and
cried. Neighbors, who heard him, investigated and found the kitchen still filled with smoke.
|The Call of January 24, 1941
THREE ESCAPE BURNING TRUCK
One man was slightly injured about 7:15 on Monday evening when the engine of an eight and a half ton coal truck, in which he was
riding with two other men, burst into flames on Route 122 opposite the entrance to the Schuylkill County Institutional District. James
Burton, colored, of Millsboro, Delaware, received slight injuries of the right arm and left knee when he leaped from the cab of the
truck. After being treated at the Schuylkill County Hospital, he was discharged. Charles E. Allen of Nassau, Delaware, driver of the
truck and Charles Cirwitian, fourteen, of Milton, Delaware, both colored, also jumped from the truck but escaped injury.
An investigation was made by the Pottsville motor police who found that the truck was moving south when the motor suddenly burst
into flames which quickly spread to the cab. Charles Cirwitian, seated in the middle, leaped to safety first, followed by the other two,
the driver leaving the post last. The driverless truck, abandoned at the crest of the hill, caromed downgrade for about six hundred
feet and then crashed headon into a concrete bridge at the right hand side of the highway, spilling the eight and a half tons of coal
onto the highway, creek and field. The Schuylkill Fire Company of Schuylkill Haven responded to an alarm an extinguished the
flames. Damage to the truck from the flames and impact was estimated at three hundred dollars. The truck, owned by Martha
McMillan of Millsboro, was towed to the Harvey Moyer Garage in Schuylkill Haven.
|The Call of April 11, 1941
FAUST GARAGE, APARTMENTS GUTTED BY FIRE; EXPECT LOSSES TO REACH $23,000
Cars and Trucks Saved in Early Morning Fire Eleven Families Lose All of Furniture
Fire of undetermined origin, early Saturday morning, entirely destroyed the interior of the Faust garage and apartment building
located at the corner of West Union Street and Tennis Avenue. The loss, which has not been fully determined because of the number
of families involved, is estimated at $23,000, with $11,000 loss on the building and $12,000 on the furniture stored. The entire
household furnishings of Mr. and Mrs. Patrick Flynn, who rented one of the two apartments was destroyed, with the exception of
a few kitchen pieces and a vacuum cleaner which was damaged by water. Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd Underkoffler, who had intended moving
into the apartment on the day of the fire, had a number of small articles destroyed. Ten families had furniture stored in the lower
floors of the building, all of which was consumed. Five trucks owned by Mr. Faust and six cars were removed from the burning
structure. The last to be taken, a large moving van, was on fire when Mr. Faust, unable to see because of the smoke, drove it
through the side of the garage.
The fire was discovered at six o'clock by Joseph Roeder of Hoover Street. He called his wife and she spread the alarm. Ralph
Jacoby, who noticed the fire at about the same time, aroused the Fausts and the people in the neighborhood. The Flynns awoke to
find the building filled with smoke and had to leave before anything could be saved. Mrs. Flynn, who returned to her home only a few
weeks ago after recovering from a nervous breakdown, had to be taken from the building. Mr. and Mrs. Flynn are staying at the
home of her sister in Saint Clair for the present. Mr. Flynn is employed at the Hollywood Theatre in Pottsville. Mr. and Mrs.
Underkoffler, who had all their furniture loaded preparatory to moving into the apartment, stored the furniture until they are able to
find an apartment or house in Schuylkill Haven. Mr. Underkoffler is employed as compositor and pressman at The Call. For the
present they are staying at the home of W. K. Knecht, publisher, in Tower City. The three companies in town responded to the alarm.
One truck was delayed for a short time at the railroad crossing by a coal train but only a short time elapsed before the town's
firefighting apparatus was in operation.
The following persons had furniture stored in the building: Richard Brown of Schuylkill Haven, Mrs. Rennert of Pottsville, Mrs. Portz
of Palmyra, Mrs. Chester Moyer of Ohio, Mr. Speacht of Williamsport, Mrs. Kantner of Schuylkill Haven, Grace Evangelical
Congregational Church, Mrs. Roebuck of Baltimore, Mrs. Berger of Norristown and Miss Mary Winters of Orwigsburg.
|The Call of December 4, 1942
FIRE LAST NIGHT RUINS HOME OF DANIEL SCHAEFFER
Fire of undetermined origin gutted the interior of the home of Daniel Schaeffer and family, 472 Columbia Street, on Thursday
evening. The alarm was sent in at 7:40 and all the Schuylkill Haven fire companies responded. George Staller, who resides in the
near vicinity, saw smoke and went to turn in a still alarm when the general alarm was sounded. Firemen had difficulty in fighting the
fire because the smoke was so dense in the interior that they could see nothing in front of them. They entered by crawling on their
hands and knees. The Schaeffer family was not at home at the time. They had left the house half an hour before to attend church.
They returned and helped firemen to get some church money and other money out of the home. The fire started in the kitchen at a
cabinet and worked through the partitions. The room above the rear of the house was practically ruined and most of the remainder
of the inside was gutted and suffered heavy smoke damage. The porch was also destroyed and the floor of the kitchen was burned
through. The smoke penetrated heavily into the Heckman home next door, causing parts of the woodwork to turn brown. Among the
items destroyed was a trunk of souvenirs collected by Carmen Schaeffer, a son in the U. S. Navy, on his journeys to foreign lands.
The fire was under control by 8:50, although firemen remained at the scene until 9:30 o'clock. Mr. Schaeffer is the janitor at the local
|The Call of April 2, 1943
FIRE DESTROYS TWO AUTOS
A Chevrolet sedan, operated by a Pottsville man, was completely ruined by fire at 1: 10 o'clock Sunday morning on Centre Avenue in
Schuylkill Haven while traveling to Pottsville. The driver did not discover that the car was burning until he arrived at Centre Avenue,
although he seemed to smell smoke all the way from Orwigsburg. The cause is unknown, the assumption being that probably
someone accidentally threw a match into the car, intending to throw it on the street. All fire companies responded, the Rainbow Hose
Company using their hose. All that is left of the car is the framework and tires. The Schuylkill Hose Company responded to a call on
Thursday afternoon about 5:15 when a sedan burned at the site of George Keller's farm at Long Run.
|The Call of May 26, 1944
ESCAPED SERIOUS INJURY IN EXPLOSION
Mrs. Walter Freeman of Parkway near Union Street, suffered sever burns of the face, shoulder and arms when a serious accident
occurred in her home last Friday near 7:30 o'clock. In some way the water supplying the kitchen range was shut off and with the
stove closed, considerable heat was developed. There was a pressure possibly of several hundred pounds in the water and when
Mrs. Freeman was in the kitchen, it suddenly exploded with a loud report. Parts f the stove were blown apart and hot coal was
showered all over the kitchen and in the dining room. Pieces of metal were stuck in the walls by force of the blast. Mrs. Freeman
was luckily far enough away to escape injury from pieces of metal but she was showered with hot coal and severely burned. She also
suffered from shock. Neighbors ran to her assistance and put out the flames. The first aid squad of the fire department, led by Fire
Chief Claude Sausser, gave first aid until Dr. T. C. Rutter arrived. She is recovering nicely. There was not much damage to the
building or the contents. The range, however, is a complete loss and the furniture in the kitchen and dining room was damaged by
fire and chemicals.
|The Call of June 30, 1944
MIDNIGHT FIRE DAMAGES HOME
A serious fire occurred around midnight on Saturday evening at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Alvin E. Gilfillan at 408 Saint John Street.
The family was not at home and the neighbors, noticing smoke, sent in an alarm and all fire companies responded. By the time the
companies arrived, the kitchen was a mass of flames and a heavy stream of water had to be used in order to save the building. All
the household goods in the kitchen were destroyed and the rugs and furniture of the entire first floor were badly damaged. The
cause of the fire is unknown. The residence, which is owned by Mrs. Ethel Coryell, is considerably damaged.
|The Call of August 17, 1945
BOYS START FIRE AT BOWLING ALLEYS
A slight fire was discovered Monday morning at the bowling alley after an investigation was made by Claude Sausser when the janitor
Harry Berger reported smelling smoke. Mr. Sausser discovered the outside door to be on fire, cotton waste having been lit and
stuck under the door. This was smoldering from about 6:30 Sunday evening until Monday morning near eleven o'clock. Children
confessed having done this and were reprimanded as a great deal of damage could have resulted had it not been discovered when
|The Call of December 28, 1945
FIRE CAUSED BY FAULTY LIGHTS ON CHRISTMAS TREE
A serious fire took place on Monday afternoon at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Francis Hochguertel of 241 Paxson Avenue when a
Christmas tree and decorations in the living room caught on fire due to a short circuit in a tree light cord. Mrs. Hochguertel was
trimming a tree which had white cotton on it imitating snow. The cotton was supposed to have been fireproofed. When the light cord
was connected there was a flash of fire and in a second the entire tree was a mass of flames. The flames spread to other parts of the
room. Mrs. Hochguertel had to act quickly to save her own life and that of her baby who was playing on the living room floor.
Chester Reider, who lives next door, heard her call for help and he and Mr. Hochguertel succeeded in extinguishing the flames with
buckets of water but not before the living room was badly damaged. The home is owned by James Staller of Orchard Avenue. A
general fire alarm was sounded and the companies responded. A false general alarm had been sounded on Sunday afternoon which
had brought the companies out also.
|The Call of October 14, 1946
WATER AND SMOKE DAMAGE TO HOME CAUSES HARDSHIP
Considerable water and some smoke damage was caused at the home occupied by the Harry Neidlinger family on Saint Peter Street
on Monday about 2:55 p. m. when a fire of unknown origin was discovered. The fire was confined between the rafters and the roof
but being hard to get at, it was some time before it could be extinguished, which caused the water damage. The local companies
responded and used chemicals but had to also use a hose stream. The building is owned by Mrs. Suzannah McAllister of Pottsville
and is covered by insurance but the fire left the Neidlinger family in distress and the local red Cross and neighbors gave them
|The Call of October 14, 1946
STOLEN TRUCK FIRE EARLY SUNDAY STIRS UP EXCITEMENT
Quite a bit of excitement prevailed in town early on Sunday morning about five o'clock when a stolen Army truck overturned as it
struck a pile of ground on Grant Street and caught on fire. A general alarm was sounded and all companies responded but the
damage was not very great. The floor boards in the back of the truck had burned. The truck was owned by Anthony Cuchiara and was
used by his brother, Jerry, who stays at the Central Hotel, where the truck was parked when stolen. All cars were stopped and a
thorough search was made for the culprit but to no avail. All doctor's offices were checked in case the man had been injured but to
date he has not been located.
|The Call of January 10, 1947
ORCHARD AVENUE COUPLE RESCUED FROM BURNING HOUSE
An early Saturday morning caused damage to the amount of about $1000 at the home of Mr. and Mrs. William Behm at 413 Orchard
Avenue. The fire, which started in the cellar of the two and a half story frame home, spread to the kitchen above and burned through
the side of the house before it was checked. Mr. and Mrs. Behm, who were alone in the home, were rescued from their second floor
bedroom by their son in law Edward Kunkle and neighbors. Mr. and Mrs. Behm were awakened about 3:30 a. m. by smoke and upon
opening the bedroom door to the hallway, a dense cloud of smoke filled the passageway. They entered a bedroom window and called
for help. Their daughter, Mrs. Kunkle, who lives a half block away, was awakened by her infant child a short time before and heard
the shouting. She finally recognized her father's voice, after first thinking the noise was made by celebrating pedestrians. Michael
Bojack, living next door to the Behm house, also heard the cries for help and turned in the fire alarm. Kunkle, awakened by his wife,
secured a ladder and assisted by neighbors, rescued Mr. and Mrs. Behm.
Earl Shollenberger, living opposite the Behm home, also helped to prevent the spread of the flames by using a hand fire
extinguisher on the flames before firemen arrived. An inspection of the damage revealed the electrical board controlling the
furnace stoker was burned away. The kitchen floor and kitchen furnishings was badly damaged. The loss is covered by insurance.
When the flames broke through the side of the house, burning a hole several feet square in size, the reflection was visible
throughout the town. Local firemen responded to the general alarm and fought the blaze until five o'clock. Mr. and Mrs. Behm are
living temporarily with their son in law and daughter, Mr. and Mrs. Kunkle, until the damage to their home is repaired.
|The Call of January 17, 1947
FIREMEN RESPOND QUICKLY TO CHRISTMAS TREE FLASH FIRE
The living room of the home of Mrs. Harry McGoey and her son in law and daughter, Mr. and Mrs. Ray Zimmerman on Haven
Street,was badly damaged on Saturday afternoon about 5:35 o'clock by fire. A short circuit is believed to have caused the blaze. The
children of Mr. and Mrs. Zimmerman were playing in the room when suddenly there was a flash at the Christmas tree which was
standing in the alcove of the room and the tree and the entire room seemed to be filled with fire. It followed along the
Christmas decorations and dropped down on the woodwork, papering, chairs, book racks, toys, windows, curtains and blinds and the
wall rafters were burning. Neighbors assisted in extinguishing the flames until the fire company arrived on the scene. A small
stream of water was used and fire extinguishers and in a short time the fire was extinguished. The windows were broken and the
walls and furniture were badly damaged. The home was also filled with smoke. The damage is estimated at several hundred dollars.
|The Call of May 2, 1947
FIRE AT RIEGEL HOME CAUSES $1500 DAMAGE, DOG DIES
Damage estimated at $1500 was caused by fire at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Alvin Riegel on Moorenoll Street in Columbia Heights
shortly before noon on Monday. According to Fire Chief Claude Sausser, the fire started a corner of the cellar where Mr. Riegel has
his work bench and tools and burned through the ceiling to the kitchen directly above. Actual fire damage was limited to the one
section of the cellar, the kitchen and small pantry. Dense smoke filled the house and made fire fighting difficult but firemen with the
aid of gas masks took in a chemical booster hose and soon had the blaze under control. A small pet dog in the cellar was suffocated.
It was found with its nose in the drain pipe.
No one was home at the time of the fire. Both Mr. and Mrs. Riegel were at their places of employment, Mr. Riegel with Capital Bakers
and Mrs. Riegel at Meck's Mill. A son, Alvin, practicing in track at school, ran home with Frank Keith Jr., a neighbor and arrived home
fifteen minutes earlier than usual. He discovered the house filled with smoke.
|The Call of May 9, 1947
FIRE AT MCGUIRE HOME IS FOURTH HERE IN NINE DAYS
Answering the fourth alarm in nine days, the local fire department fought a stubborn fire in the home of John J. McGuire on Centre
Avenue on Sunday night around ten o'clock. Thought to have been started by defective wiring, the fire broke out on the third floor
where two of the young McGuire boys sleep. No one was on the third floor at the time. The family was in the living room listening to
the radio when smoke was detected and the fire discovered. The furnishings on the upper floor were burning. An alarm was turned
in and all the fire fighting equipment of the three companies responded. Firemen took a chemical hose into the building. Burning
bed clothing and other furnishings were thrown from third story windows. The flames, however, had found their way to the roof and
firemen worked for more than an hour before the fire was completely extinguished. Firemen working with axes and hooks had to
remove boards from both the inside and outside of the house to get at the fire in the roof.
Damage estimated at $1000 was caused by the fire in the third story and smoke and water down through the rest of the house. The
McGuire home at 31 Centre Avenue is opposite the First Reformed Church. Fire police detoured traffic on Lincoln Street around the
fire and back again to Centre Avenue. Firemen and police are to be commended for the fine work they did in holding the loss to a
minimum and directing traffic around the busy Centre Avenue section where the fire occurred. The three previous fires occurred on
three consecutive days; the auto crash at the Orwigsburg "Y" on the 26th, the auto burning on Main Street on the 27th and the Riegel
home burning on the 28th of April..
|The Call of January 16, 1948
LOCAL YOUTH INVENTS FIRE ALARM
Numerous Fatal Fires Cause Ronald Young To Construct Alarm; Signal Put on the Market
Inspired by the numerous fatal and near fatal fires in this area recently, a nineteen year old young man of town decided to do
something to prevent such fatalities and after working for several months on his idea, designed and made an alarm that will warn the
occupants of a building when a fire occurs. The young inventor is Ronald Q. Young, son of Mr. and Mrs. William V. Young of Paxson
Avenue, who has a patent pending for his invention. The alarms are being manufactured and are now being offered for sale. One of
Ronnie's first sales in town was for four to one businessman.
The idea for the alarm came to the young inventor after a fire in which a life was lost in a nearby community. Working with an old
thermostat that had been used originally on the refrigeration system at Mr. Young's Schuylkill Haven Provision Company, he changed
its workings to suit his purpose and coupled it with an alarm bell. He continued to work on the idea for months, changing and
improving it continually until finally he had the alarm perfected. Application was made for a patent and it was learned that there was
no alarm of this type on the market. To demonstrate the fire detector and alarm , Ronnie constructed a demonstration kit that
consists of a box with the alarm on one side and a heating unit on the other. A thermometer shows the rise in temperature when the
heating unit is plugged in. When the mercury reaches 125 degrees, the alarm goes off with a loud clanging noise that will wake the
soundest sleeper. The alarm is simple to install. It needs merely to be plugged into a light socket nearest the oil burner, furnace or
stove, in stairways or hallways, or anywhere in a home or business place where there is a danger of fire breaking out. At the
temperature at which the alarm is sounded is well below the kindling point of wood or any other material to be found in homes, the
signaling device will operate before the fire gets a start.
Actual flames are not required to set off the alarm. The device, if located near a furnace or stove, will turn in an alarm if the burner
becomes overheated. The detector is all on one unit on a panel board with a cord that may be plugged in a regular receptacle. The
assembled unit is placed in the home where the fire is most likely to occur. The alarm sells for $29.95 complete, a small investment
for protection of loved ones. Ronald has already given demonstration to home owners in town who had heard about the signaling
device, although little had been said around town about the alarm and few people knew about it. All who have seen it, including
some prominent fire insurance men, have assured the young inventor that he has a practical alarm for the safeguarding of a home or
business place and predict a ready acceptance of his product. Ronald was graduated from the local high school in 1946 an since
that time has been working with h is father in the meats and provision business.
|The Call of January 23, 1948
EXPLOSION IN OLD WELL ROCKS COLUMBIA STREET
An explosion set off in an abandoned well by a gasoline torch rocked the Columbia Street section near the Berne Street intersection
on Wednesday about 5:30 p. m., but fortunately did no other damage than break window panes in nearby houses. The explosion,
which occurred in a well located between the homes of Arthur Heim and Howard Reber at 409 and 413 west Columbia street,
shattered windows on the east side of the Reber home and on the west side of the Heim home. The pump was blown into the air and
landed on the Heim roof. A heavy iron plate that had covered the well opening was thrown high in the air by the force of the
explosion and came down along side the garage at the end of the lot. A large two by twelve plank about four feet long and small
parts of the pump were thrown across the street to land in front of the Earl Stoyer garage.
A water line running from the Heim home to the Reber home and passing close to the well froze in the sub zero temperature on
Wednesday morning. Paul Heim, son of Mr. and Mrs. Heim, endeavored to thaw the pipe by using a gasoline torch. Mr. Reber
returned from work and was going to assist with the work but his wife insisted that he eat supper first. Her plea probably saved her
husband's life as well as that of Heim, for after Mr. Reber had started to eat, Heim lay aside the torch and went into the Reber home to
talk to Mr. Reber. Less than two minutes after he entered the house, the explosion shook the neighborhood and shattered the
windows. The first impression was that an airplane had crashed into the house but when they went outside, they soon saw the
smoking well and the damage that had resulted. Neighbors and passersby who witnessed the explosion said it resembled pictures of
the mushrooming cloud of smoke that resulted from the atomic bomb at Bikini. The exact cause of the explosion is not known. It is
supposed that gas formed in the well and was set off by the torch. Had Heim not entered the Reber home, he would probably have
been killed by the explosion.
|The Call of July 16, 1948
FIREMEN GIVE CHASE AFTER FALSE ALARM IN VAIN
A false alarm turned in at the alarm box near the Dock and Haven Street intersection early Tuesday morning brought out the town's
fire trucks and resulted in an exciting hunt for the persons turning in the alarm. The alarm was sounded at 3:15 in the morning and
several residents of the area saw the young men who turned it in jump into a truck and drive away, jumping up over the curb at the
arch in their hurry to get away. Witnesses state that the men were noticeably under the influence of something stronger than water.
One of them is said to have lit a cigarette and tossed the match on the truck. They decided to call out the fire trucks to make sure it
was extinguished. The town's firer fighters brought out the apparatus and arrived on the scene shortly after the false alarmers had
left. The witnesses informed the fire fighters of what had happened and gave a good description of the men and the truck.
The firemen, thoroughly aroused over being called out at such an hour for a false alarm, started in pursuit. A light rain had been
falling and it was easy to follow the dual wheel tracks of the truck. The trail led up Centre Avenue to Garfield Avenue, turned to the
left at Willow Lake and came out on the old highway to Pottsville, past the Cotton Club and onto the main highway. Here the highway
was dry and the tracks could not be seen. One group of searchers, including Chief Burgess Harner, continued on into Pottsville and
there in front of a restaurant found a truck fitting the description furnished buy the witnesses in Schuylkill Haven. The motor was
hot. Going inside, they found three young men, two of whom fitted the description given. Pottsville police were called. One of the
young men apprehended gave a false name and address and one of the Pottsville police who lived near the address given realized it
was false and finally got the right name and address. He had been picked up by the Pottsville police for another offense some time
ago. The chief burgess was without credentials. Although suspicion pointed strongly to the men apprehended, no definite proof was
available. Since that time no further action has been taken.
|The Call of March 10, 1950
FIRE IN OIL TRUCK QUICKLY EXTINGUISHED
A fire in the oil delivery truck of the Losch Boiler Sales Company late Wednesday afternoon was quickly brought under control by the
driver of the truck, John Roeder, before it gained any headway to threaten the inflammable load. The truck was parked just beyond
the railroad crossing on West Union Street. Roeder was unable to start the truck and opened the compartment behind the cab to
check the battery cable. When he opened the cover, dense smoke poured out, followed by flames. He quickly secured the foam fire
extinguisher on the truck and played it into the compartment. A call was sent in to the Liberty Fire Company which soon arrived on
the scene with its new truck. By this time, however, Roeder had extinguished the fire with only slight damage to the oil truck.
|The Call of March 17, 1950
$12,000 FIRE AT COAL OPERATION
Damage amounting to approximately $12,000 was caused when the tool and supply house and office of M. and M. Coal Company,
known as the Landingville Storage Yards, situated about one and one half miles north of Landingville, along the railroad, was burned
to the ground on Wednesday morning. The men were working at the time and the fire was discovered about 7:30 in the morning. The
Liberty Fire Company of Schuylkill Haven responded to the alarm and extinguished the fire, which was burning briskly, after a several
hours battle. The building was one story high and was situated about twenty feet away from the main breaker, which also began
burning. Little damage was caused to the breaker. All of the building's contents including the supplies, tools and men's clothing
were destroyed. The origin of the fire is unknown.
|The Call of November 24, 1950
FLAMES COMPLETELY DESTROY PARKWAY RESTAURANT
FIRE TRUCKS CALLED OUT TWICE
The Parkway, Schuylkill Haven's largest restaurant, banquet hall and dance floor was completely destroyed by fire early Saturday
morning, with a total loss estimated at $50,000. The destruction resulted from two alarms of fire, the first at 12:30 and the second at
7:00 a. m. The first alarm was turned in when fire was discovered in the kitchen shortly before the restaurant was to be closed for the
night. All fire companies responded to the alarm and after some difficulty was experienced in getting water on the fire finally
succeeded in getting the fire under control and supposedly extinguished about 2:30 a. m. About 7:00 a. m. the fire again broke out
and the structure was almost completely destroyed. Only the badly burned center structure which originally housed an apartment on
the second floor remained upright.
Arthur Fehr, owner of the restaurant, was sitting at the counter with Lewis Nunemacher, drinking a cup of coffee before closing,
when Clair Miller of Liberty Street yelled in the door to the men and two waitresses who were still on duty that the kitchen was on
fire. In passing the restaurant, he noticed flames coming from the kitchen window. An alarm was turned in. Within a few minutes,
before Miller and the persons in the restaurant could do anything about the fire, the flames spread from the kitchen to the wood
panelled dining and dance hall at the rear of the building.
The three local fire companies responded and battled the stubborn blaze for more than two hours before getting it under control.
The asbestos shingles on the outside of the building proved to be a great protection to the service station and garage along side the
restaurant but made fire fighting difficult in the building itself. The Earl S. Williams garage on the east side was only slightly scorched
and the William Campbell service station on the west side showed very little evidence of the fire next door.
During the first fire, the kitchen and dining hall were badly burned out, while the front part was only partially damaged by fire smoke
and water. Shortly before 7:00 a. m. smoke began pouring from the building and an investigation showed that the basement was on
fire. By the time the alarm was sent in and the fire companies returned to the scene, the rounded section enclosed by glass block on
the west side was a roaring inferno. The fire is believed to have started the second time in that section of the basement where
paper napkins and ice cream cartons were stored. The standing walls in which the fire were burning hindered the fighting of the fire
and finally a bulldozer loader of the Berlanti Company, which has office and storage facilities nearby, was used to push in one side of
The blaze was not conquered until the building was practically destroyed. Firemen remained at the scene until noon time. The
restaurant is a complete loss, estimated at $50,000. Also destroyed in the fire was equipment owned by Bobby Berger's orchestra,
property of the Business and Professional Women's Club and the Lions Club. Berger, who lives at 62 Railroad Street in Cressona,
estimated the orchestra loss at $1600. The players had completed an engagement at the high school and had brought their
equipment back to the Parkway for their regular engagement for the Saturday night dance. Gale Moyer of Cressona suffered the
greatest loss when his complete set of drums was destroyed. The orchestra also lost a set of musical reeds, music stands, amplifying
system, orchestrations and other musical paraphernalia. The Lion's Club loss amounted to $500 including a communications system,
banners, flags, identification buttons, racks, song books and other articles which were used regularly at the meetings each week.
The large lion used on floats was also a victim of the fire. The Business and Professional Women's Club loss includes chairs, books,
candles and a metal cabinet containing old records. The only things saved were the gavel and the 200th anniversary banner.
In fighting the fire, three firemen were injured. Miller, who discovered the fire, in attempting to fight the fire was overcome by
smoke. He was found unconscious and taken to the police barracks where he was treated by Dr. T. B. Tihansky. Wilson Quinter and
Carl Fey were treated by Dr. Joseph Matonis for lacerations and cuts. Quinter injured his foot when he stepped on a nail and Fey cut
a tendon in his hand on glass. The firemen, fighting the fire in near freezing weather, were furnished hot coffee supplied by Robert
Brown of the Schuylkill Institutional District, who went to the almshouse and returned with two large containers of coffee and cups.
At the second fire, Danny Ditzler, Frank Lewis and a number of other men served sandwiches and coffee, while others went to the A &
P store where they secured bread and meat for sandwiches for the firemen. Fire Chief Claude A. Sausser stated that the fire
originated in the kitchen but that the exact cause of it is unknown. The loss is fairly well covered by insurance.
The Parkway, an important part of the community, was owned by Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Fehr of Friedensburg since 1948. Mrs. Fehr is
the former Grace Guldin, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Guldin. The large one story main structure was erected by Amos M.
Strause and Harry Beck in 1941. They operated it until 1945 when it was sold to Clyde and Verlin Dewald. The Dewald brothers
conducted the business until 1948 when it was purchased by the Fehrs. Shortly before it was sold, Clyde Dewald was appointed
acting postmaster following the sudden death of J. H. Brownmiller. In the more than nine years the Parkway was in operation it was
used extensively for banquets by local groups and many county organizations. It was a favorite entertainment place for the young
people on Saturday nights when well conducted dances were held. The burning of the Parkway was a loss to the community.
|The Call of November 24, 1950
YOUNG PEOPLE LOSE SATURDAY DANCES
Destruction of the Parkway restaurant by fire removed last Saturday from the community a wholesome place of recreation and
entertainment for the high school crowd. The regular Saturday night dances were an important part of the social life of these young
people. Because no intoxicating drinks were sold at the Parkway and because the well conducted dances closed at a reasonable
hour, parents were pleased to have their sons and daughters go there for their Saturday night enjoyment. Since the fire, much
discussion has been heard about the need for having such a place for the young people to congregate and have a good time in a
wholesome environment. As yet, no definite action has been taken by any organization or individuals. Here is an opportunity for
service to the community.
|The Call of December 1, 1950
RUFUS SCHWENK HOME DAMAGED
Damage to the extent of about $1500 was caused at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Rufus Schwenk, 440 West Columbia Street on Tuesday
evening when fire broke out in the basement of the home and spread through the partitions to the upper floors. The fire was
discovered shortly after five o'clock in the afternoon when Mrs. Schwenk and daughter Betty were sitting in the living room. Miss
Schwenk heard the crackling of fire and noticed the flames and smoke coming from a register. She turned in an alarm and the fire
companies of town responded immediately, with the Liberty truck already at the home before the alarm stopped sounding. The blaze,
starting at the furnace flue in the basement went up through the partitions of the house to the first, second and attic floors. The
nature of the fire made it difficult to fight and firemen finally cut holes in the roof at the partitions and poured water down through the
walls until the blaze was extinguished. The trucks remained until 8:30 until certain that the fire was out. Most of the damage to the
home was caused by smoke and water in the front two rooms on the first and second floors.
|The Call of December 22, 1950
SPRINKLER SYSTEM PREVENTS FIRE AT REIDER SHOE COMPANY
An effective sprinkler system prevented a serious fire at the Reider Shoe Company factory early Wednesday morning when it
extinguished a fire before it gained headway but caused considerable damage by water to finished stock. The fire began in the
cutting room on the third floor in a can of shavings and cuttings alongside a cutting table. The leather being cut is saturated in
linseed oil and it is believed that the spontaneous combustion started the scraps burning in the can. A hole about three by five feet
was burned in the floor and the burning mass dropped to the second floor where it was extinguished when the sprinkler system on
this floor went into operation. An alarm bell operated by water pressure flowing through the sprinkler system when it is in operation
Mrs. Barney Rodgers, who lives near the factory, heard the alarm ringing around three o'clock in the morning. When it continued to
ring, she called Robert Reider who came to the factory building to investigate. Upon entering the door he smelled smoke and going
into the building discovered the still smoldering fire. He grabbed a fire extinguisher and put out the smoldering fire around the hole
in the third floor. The sprinkler system had completely extinguished the blaze on the second floor. Water was all over the second
floor and had run into the last room located at the rear. Directly beneath this room was the stock room which was soaked with water.
Most of the damage caused by the fire occurred in this room.
|The Call of January 5, 1951
TOWN'S SECOND DISASTROUS FIRE CAUSES $25,000 LOSS AT YODER'S HALL TUESDAY
The second disastrous fire of the winter season struck Schuylkill Haven on Tuesday evening when Yoder's hall on West Main Street
blazed spectacularly through the entire upper story and rear of the building to cause a loss estimated at $25,000. Starting from an
unknown cause in the rear of the building, the fire swept rapidly through the frame building and entered partitions where it was
difficult to fight. Firemen battled the stubborn blaze for an hour and a half before it was brought under control. The Liberty trucks
remained at the scene until eleven o'clock in the evening, extinguishing the final sparks. The Yoder building, one of the oldest
structures in town, housed the furniture repair shop of Robert Yoder, the owner, who resided in a basement apartment behind the
shop along with a housekeeper, Mrs. Stella Ryan; an apartment occupied by William Schumacher and housekeeper Margaret Gettling;
an apartment occupied by Misses Alice and Lizzie Eichert; an apartment occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Jasper Nicholson and son James,
age four; the Pensyl Flower Shop operated by Norman Pensyl of Hamburg, on the first floor front and the large hall on the second
floor used by Faith Tabernacle. The fire damage was confined to the apartments at the rear of the building and the large second floor
hall and roof. The other apartments and the flower shop were badly damaged by water and smoke.
The fire was discovered shortly after 5:00 p. m. by the Nicholson family. They were eating supper in the basement room of their
apartment at the rear of the building when they smelled smoke. Opening the door leading to the upstairs rooms of their apartment,
they were met by smoke and flames. A still alarm was turned in by telephone and the Liberty Hose Company responded. Nicholson
made an attempt to remove household articles and received second degree burns of the face and right hand. He had a narrow
escape when he was apparently overcome while attempting to mount the stairway leading to the second floor and was forced down
by smoke and flames. He was found lying on the floor by firemen but upon being removed from the building, was quickly revived.
Shouts of the Nicholson family were heard by Mr. Yoder who was working in his shop in the basement. When he investigated, the
fire was well underway and the Liberty fire truck was on the scene. A general alarm was sounded and the other fire companies came
with their equipment. As the alarm was sounded, large clouds of dense smoke billowed above the building and appraised the people
of town of the seriousness of the fire as well as its location. The conflagration attracted several hundred people who crowded the
narrow Tennis Avenue which runs alongside the Yoder building and hampered firemen running with hose lines and ladders. The
smoke cleared somewhat as the flames broke through the many windows of the upper floor and as the blaze inside the rooms at the
rear and the entire upper story were extinguished, the fire ran through the partitions. Fire Chief Claude A. Sausser stated that the
cause of the fire has not yet been definitely determined. Townspeople commended the firemen for their quick response and valiant
efforts in keeping the fire confined to the rear and upper floor of the building and for keeping it from spreading to adjoining
The William Shaw family, living at 124 West Main Street, next door to the burning building, began removing furniture and other
possessions to safety at the height of the fire. Their home was spared and they were able to move the furnishings back into the
building. Some of the furniture and possessions in the Schumacher and Eichert apartments were also removed but a large part of
their belongings were lost or badly damaged by water. The Eichert sisters went to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Earl A. Graver at 139
West Main Street. The other families made homeless by the fire went to the homes of friends and relatives. Edward G. Fox, disaster
chairman of the Southern Schuylkill Chapter of the American Red Cross, reported that Red Cross workers called on the families who
were effected by the fire to arrange to meet their emergency needs. The chapter will also assist the families where necessary in
rehabilitating them after they find living quarters.
Firemen who were called away from their suppers to fight the fire were grateful to the people living in that area who served hot
coffee and sandwiches. Nelson Faust, manager of the A & P Supermarket, provided meat and bread for sandwiches made and
distributed by Mr. and Mrs. Edward Thompson, Mrs. Robert Painter, Mrs. William Quinter, Betty Gilbert and Mrs. Russell Strause. Hot
coffee was made and distributed by the Liberty Hose Company Auxiliary. Mr. Yoder stated that the building was only partially covered
by insurance. No insurance was carried on the contents.
The Pensyl Flower Shop that afternoon had received a large shipment of flowers costing $300 to be made up for the Frank Fisher
funeral at Orwigsburg. The flowers were taken from the building and given away because they would soon perish in the freezing
temperatures. Many of the flowers remained in the building and were destroyed by smoke and water. Mr. Pensyl, who only opened
his store several months ago, was able to save his kneeling bench, candelabra and palms. He is continuing to operate his business
from the Baussum greenhouse along the Schuylkill Haven Orwigsburg pike.
The burning of the Yoder building was the second major fire disaster in town this winter and both were in the same section. In
November, the Parkway restaurant was completely destroyed by fire for a $50,000 loss. Another major fire in that section was averted
when the sprinkler system at the Reider Shoe Company put out an early morning fire before it could gain any headway.
The Yoder building has had a large variety of uses during the many years since it was constructed, it was recalled today by town
residents. Many years ago it housed the undertaking parlors of Daniel Sharadin, who later converted it into a movie theater. Later,
Frank Reider established his shoe factory there and in more recent years the first floor served as a banquet hall, the only one of its
kind in town. It had a seating capacity of between 100 and 150 persons. At one time the building was owned by the Red Men's Hall. It
was acquired by Yoder about fifteen years ago and since then has been known as Yoder's hall, the second floor occupied by Faith
Tabernacle. It also served as a lodge hall and meeting room for various town groups in years past.
|The Call of September 5, 1952
SPECTACULAR BLAZE DESTROYS LARGE BARN AT HILL FARM
Fire swept through the old Hill Farm barn located on the hilltop at the western end of town and at its height presented a spectacular,
solid mass of flame to be seen for miles around. Within a matter of minutes the empty barn was reduced to a shell with only the
studding and roof rafters remaining. The fire was contained to sides and roof while the floor and the lower sides remained almost
intact. Cause of the fire is unknown. Refrigeration equipment stored in the under part of the barn was removed while the burning
rafters crashed down on the floor above. The refrigeration unit, which was to be installed in the new addition being built to the Hill
Farm Dairy structure across the street, had recently been brought from Indiana by the Schwartz brothers, operators of the dairy, and
was being stored in the old barn until installation. Quick action on the part of firemen saved an adjoining small building used for
storage and two large silos. All companies responded to the alarm. The barn was owned by Walter F. Mullen, insurance realtor, who
recently purchased it along with a large plot of ground which he intends to make a real estate development. The original plan of Mr.
Mullen, when the property was acquired, was to tear down the barn to make way for the residential section. It was later decided to
convert the large barn to an apartment building with five units. Work is scheduled to begin on Monday for the excavation of the first
home to be built upon the new real estate development. It will be a two bedroom bungalow.
|The Call of November 14, 1952
TWO BURNED IN FURNACE EXPLOSION
A furnace explosion at the Farel Y. Becker garage and appliance store on Haven Street Wednesday evening caused two employees
to be hospitalized for burns of the hands, arms and face. The two men, Richard Nagle and Robert Zimmerman, went to the basement
about 6:30 p. m. to fix the fire for the night. When the furnace door was opened, there followed an explosion which blew all the doors
and pipes off the furnace and shook the entire building. The two men were burned on the hands, arms and face by the explosion of
the accumulated coal gas. Miss Mildred Becker and another employee of the Farel Becker firm took the two men to the Good
Samaritan Hospital. Zimmerman is expected to return home today but Nagle will remain for further treatment of his burns.
PERSONAL NOTE: Richard Nagle, mentioned above, was my late father. I heard this story from him but with more detail. He and his
friend "Curly" Zimmerman, both seventeen, were friends with Mr. Beckers sons, Farel and Pat. They worked for the garage. They did
indeed go to the building to start the fire. However, the cause of the explosion is known to me. In their haste to finish their job and
go out for the evening, they decided a little kerosene on the fire would help get it started quicker, resulting in the deafening
|The Call of June 26, 1953
$75,000 FIRE LEVELS WIENER WAREHOUSE, GARAGES AND DAMAGES PARKWAY HOMES
A spectacular fire in the mid afternoon heat on Monday, raged through the large frame warehouse of Joseph Wiener and Sons on
Railroad Street, jumped to nearby garages at the rear of Parkway and within an hour and a half caused damage amounting to an
estimated $75,000. The fire was first discovered at 2:05 p. m. The alarm was the first test of the new fire sirens installed at the three
fire companies of town. The Liberty and the Schuylkill companies had the automatic hookup but the Rainbow's, because a relay had
not yet been obtained, was manually operated. When firemen from the three companies arrived at the scene, the center of the
shingled frame building was blazing. Flames were shooting out of the windows. Smoke was billowing out the upper windows and
through the roof which was also breaking into flames. Pumpers were needed to boost pressure from the fire plugs to play streams of
water upon the fire. Heat from the burning structure was intense. Spectators standing across the railroad tracks and against the
buildings on the other side were forced to move when the fire reached its height. Heroic firemen moved in close to fight the fire.
Through the excellent work of the firemen from the three Schuylkill haven companies and the Cressona Fire Company directed by
Fire Chief Claude A. Sausser, the fire was confined to the warehouse, the garages adjoining it on the south and to four garages
across the alley to the rear of Parkway. Fortunately the windows in the Win-Ann Manufacturing Company located next to the Wiener
warehouse did not break and protected the interior of the building from the intense heat. The 250 employees of the Win-Ann left the
building shortly after the fire was discovered. Some of the male employees went to the roof and put out small fires started by flying
burning material which landed on the roof. It is believed the fire started by spontaneous combustion.
Gerald and Leon Weiner, brothers who operate the salvage business, had left the building to return to their homes in Pottsville
before the blaze started. A truck left parked in front of the building was badly damaged by the heat and frequently the tires and
woodwork broke into flame. Firemen turned the hose momentarily from the blaze to the truck to extinguish the fire. Utility poles
running along Railroad Street also caught fire at numerous times. Three hundred feet of cable owned by the TV Cable Corporation
was destroyed and cable service interrupted until replacement could be made about 5:00 p. m. after the fire was extinguished.
The heat of the fire was demonstrated when Warren "Cap" Leeser, attempting to get on the roof of his home on Parkway, opened a
third story window. The terrific heat rushed in, scorched the wallpaper and blistered the paint on a door inside the room. Paint was
blistered and shingles scorched on the Russell Werner home and Klahr apartments on Saint John Street. All the homes in the
Parkway block between Union and Columbia street were damaged by the heat.
Four garages at the rear of these homes were destroyed by the fire. These were at the rear of the homes of Austin Faust, Herman
Dewald, Robert Shenk and John Reber. All the garages were vacant except the one of Austin Faust. The car in his garage was
moved before the flames reached the building. The homes on Parkway which had damage to paint and to shingles on roof and siding
were: the Quinter building occupied by Vincent Stramara and Warren Berger, Norman Neuin, Austin Faust, Herman Dewald, Robert
Shenk, John Reber, Robert Reber, Frank Reber, Warren Leeser, Edward Palsgrove and Oscar Groatman. A pigeon loft at the rear of
the Faust garage was also damaged and twelve of Sammy Faust's pigeons roasted. Forty pigeons were removed unharmed. Totally
destroyed were the garages owned by Edgar Palsgrove adjoining the Weiner building. The Weiner warehouse, which is used to
store waste cotton and nylon rags, was the former Thomas Knitting Mill. The building and contents loss is estimated at $50,000.
The heat of the fire although not breaking the plate glass windows in the other Weiner building, the former Loos feed store and
warehouse, damaged them so that they will have to be replaced. Tar was melted out of the roof shingles.
Nine firemen were burned in fighting the fire. These men, manning the hoses, received the full blast of the terrific heat. They were
treated by Drs. Conrad and Matonis and by individuals who secured ointment for burns. John Bayliff of the Rainbow Hose Company
and Eddie Hoy of the Liberty Hose Company, suffered second degree burns of the arms and face. Others suffering burns on the arms
were: Kimber Fenstermacher, Isaac Gehrig, Earl Witmer, of the Rainbow Hose Company; Jake Hamerly and Adam Tobias of the Liberty
Hose Company; Austin Faust of the Schuylkill Hose Company and Jack Steidle, an electrician working for M. Luther Fidler, who was
working near the scene and assisted in fighting the fire.
William Kissinger, watchman on duty in the Reading Company tower on Union Street, was forced to leave the tower because of the
great heat. He had relieved Harold Trout who was on duty when the fire started. During the fire, grateful firemen were served cold
drinks by Mrs. Harriet Fertig and Mrs. Leonard Unger.
|The Call of October 16, 1953
FIRE DESTROYS GARAGES, SHED; PERILS EAST WARD SOCIAL CLUB
Two garages and a shed were destroyed and the East Ward Social Club was threatened with destruction when a fire broke out
Tuesday afternoon about 1:15 o'clock. The two garages were at the rear of 408 and 410 East Main Street. Mary Yeager occupies the
home at 408 and the home at 410 is unoccupied at the present time. The shed was at the rear of the Howard Oswald home at 406 East
Main Street. All of the Schuylkill Haven fire companies responded to the alarm. The garages and shed were completely destroyed
and the back and one side of the East Ward Social Club were scorched by the flames and intense heat. Two small windows at the
back of the club were broken. Damage was estimated at between $1,500 and $1,800 and the cause of the blaze was undetermined.
|The Call of January 21, 1951
BOWEN HOME, BREAKER DAMAGED BY FIRE
What started out as a chimney fire caused damage estimated at $2,500 to the home of Samuel Bowen on the Schuylkill Haven
Adamsdale Road on Monday about noon. The Liberty Hose Company was first called to the scene and was later aided by the
Schuylkill Hose Company. The fire is believed to have been caused by an overheated chimney which set fire to wall partitions on the
first and second floor. Walls of two rooms were damaged. Firemen and neighbors helped the occupants of the home remove
furniture and furnishings. The home is occupied by Samuel Bowen, his son-in-law and daughter, Mr. and Mrs. Wilson Stump and his
granddaughter, Mrs. Robert Eiler and her husband and family.
Approximately $5,000 worth of electrical equipment was destroyed in a fire at the Lobh Coal company on Parkway last Thursday
morning at 11:25 o'clock. Prompt action on the part of local fire companies saved the damage from being greater. The blaze was
extinguished in about one half hours time. The fire started in some of the electrical equipment located in the breaker. The breaker,
owned by Fisher Associates of Pottsville, employs about twenty five men from this area. Patrick Dowling of New Philadelphia is
|The Call of March 11, 1954
THREE AUTO FIRES CAUSE EXCITEMENT, LITTLE DAMAGE
Three automobile fires caused considerable excitement but little damage the forepart of the week. On Monday afternoon, Dan
Schaeffer finished his work at the post office and went for his car which is parked in one of the frame garages at the rear of the P. T.
Hoy property on Saint John Street. He found the car filled with smoke. The front seat and the door upholstery were smoldering and
began burning when the car doors were opened. The fact that the car windows were all closed prevented a more serious fire
because the car had been parked in the garage for over an hour.
The second fire occurred on Tuesday on Saint John Street, only a short distance away from the scene of the first fire. Mr. and Mrs.
Carl Studenroth, new residents of Orwigsburg, R. D., parked their car on Saint John Street while Mrs. Studenroth kept a dental
appointment at the office of Dr. Nelson A. Lessig. Angelo "Chick" Barbetta, who has charge of the Haven Appliance and Television
store, discovered the Studenroth car on fire when smoke began pouring out from under the hood. A blanket which had been thrown
over the motor and evidently forgotten was burning.
The third automobile fire came Tuesday night when gas in and around the carburetor of the car driven by Mrs. Harold Kauterman on
High Street caught fire. Henry Harner and Mrs. Dorothy Nagle, using baking powder, extinguished the flames, with no damage being
caused to the car.
|The Call of March 25, 1954
$10,000 FIRE AT VFW POST
A fire which was discovered at about 7:58 o'clock caused damage to the Veterans of Foreign Wars home estimated at between
$10,000 and $12,000. Elmer Wildermuth, while on his way to work, saw smoke pouring from the building and sent in an alarm. All of
the local fire companies responded and fought the blaze for about three hours. Firemen had a difficult time but were able to keep
the fire confined to the kitchen and dining room. The kitchen, where the fire evidently started, was almost completely gutted and the
dining room was damaged from the blistering heat and smoke. However the front part of the building is still in use. Kenneth Strause,
V. F. W. steward and his wife live in an apartment in the building but were not at home when the fire broke out.
|The Pottsville Republican of June 23, 1955
BURNING AUTO SOUNDS OWN HORN TO CALL FIREMEN
A burning auto sounded its own horn to help summon firemen to the Highway Motors used car lot between Schuylkill Haven and
Orwigsburg early today. Then it obligingly moved out of line so that other autos would not take fire also. F. H. Costenbader, a
neighbor, was awakened at 1:45 a. m. by the blowing of the horn and the barking of a dog. He called Schuylkill Haven firemen but an
unidentified person had already called them. Fire Chief Claude Sausser went with the Rainbow Company to the scene. When they
arrived the car had moved approximately twenty five feet out of line. Sausser believes the blaze caused a short circuit which made
the horn blow and caused the vehicle, which was probably in gear, to move. It was destroyed.
|The Call of March 29, 1956
$18,000 FIRE RUINS INTERIOR OF KREMER AND DAUBENSPECK HOMES ON PARKWAY
Fire yesterday afternoon shortly after one o'clock completely gutted the double block homes owned by George "Jack" Kremer and
Harold Daubenspeck at 217-219 Parkway. Damage to the dwellings, furnishings and clothing was estimated by Fire Chief Claude A.
Sausser at $18,000. The fire is reported to have started on the Kremer side of the dwelling in the basement near the furnace. It
followed a partition dividing the two homes and reaching the floor level branched out on both sides, following the floor joists which
ran from one side of the building to the other. It then went up through the partitions to the second floor and the attic.
Workers at the Walkin Shoe Company across the street saw the smoke coming from the double block and turned in the alarm. No one
was at home at either place. Both Kremer and Daubenspeck had been home at noon time. Kremer threw two shovels of coal on the
furnace and had it damped when he left at 12:45. He went to Bud's pool room where he was summoned when the fire was discovered
about 1:10. Daubenspeck left his home about 12:50 to go to work at Shollenbergers trucking firm. He is a member of the Schuylkill
Hose Company and of the local fire police. When he heard the sirens, he went outside to learn where the fire was. He saw smoke
coming from the direction of the Winn Ann Manufacturing Company and started for the scene. When he arrived at Parkway he
discovered it was his own home that was burning.
When firemen arrived on the scene, there was smoke pouring from the building but it was impossible to determine where the fire
was burning. After laying hose lines and having the firemen ready to apply water, Fire Chief Sausser ordered the building ventilated
by opening windows. As soon as the smoke was allowed to escape and fresh air enter, the building began to blaze. Fighting was
difficult because the blaze was confined to the partitions, ceilings and walls. Large quantities of water had to be used and much of
the damage to the furnishings was caused by smoke and water. Firemen and neighbors carried out some of the furniture and
personal effects but moist of the contents was badly damaged. Daubenspeck entered the building with a gas mask but because of a
faulty fit, the dense smoke entered the mask and he was almost overcome. He was seen staggering in the building and was led to
safety and given treatment in the ambulance.
Mrs. Kremer, who suffered from high blood pressure and shock, had to be removed to the Pottsville Hospital in the community
ambulance. She is still a patient at the hospital. Mrs. Kremer is the former Ella Oliver. She and Mr. Kremer, a widower, were married
about a month ago. She was working at the nearby Winn-Ann Manufacturing Company when the fire was discovered. Kremer
entered the building to recover some cash, insurance papers and other valuables in an upstairs room. As he opened the door he
was met by a gust of hot, dense smoke. He fought his way to a partly opened window where he was seen by firemen who put up a
ladder and enabled him to descend to safety. The two and a half story shingled structure was occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Daubenspeck
and children, Bob, 16 and Grace Ann, 13 and Mr. and Mrs. Kremer and daughter Carol. Both families had insurance on their property.
|The Call of August 2, 1956
EARLY MORNING FIRE AT ALPHA MILLS CAUSES HEAVY LOSS BY WATER AND SMOKE
A spectacular fire early this morning which at its height sent flames shooting forty feet in the air, oddly caused little fire damage but
considerable water and smoke damage at the Alpha Mill on Margaretta Street. The fire originated about 12:35 a. m. in the penthouse
containing the elevator motor and rigging on top of the three story factory building. Flames were confined to that small building but
a strong draft from the elevator shaft sent the flames shooting into the sky. Heavy oil soaked timbers in burning caused heavy
smoke to permeate the entire building and to make fire fighting difficult. The fire is believed to have started in the elevator motor.
The night watchman, Charles Brown of Friedensburg, was working in the new addition to the south side of the main building. He
smelled smoke and went to investigate. He opened the elevator door and saw flames shooting down from the elevator motor above.
The burning penthouse set off the sprinkler directly beneath it. An automatic alarm bell that operates with the sprinklers sounded
and was heard by Mrs. George Wildermuth, next door, and Stanley Bernet, who lives nearby on Union Street. The town's three fire
companies responded with all equipment to a general alarm.
Barton Biever, operator of the Alpha Mills, stated he was unable to estimate the loss. Damage by fire was limited to the elevator, the
penthouse that contained the motor and rigging and part of the roof where the fire had started to spread. Most of the damage was
caused by water from two sprinkler heads which sprayed the ceiling and thus prevented the spread of the fire. The large volume of
water released by the sprinklers ran down through the second, first and basement floors. The water dripped down on table
machines, knitted yarn, partly finished garments and complete units. Other knitted goods were ruined by smoke.
Fire Chief Claude A. Sausser immediately put two large hose lines playing water over the roof while ladders were put up along the
building to get hose lines on the roof. The fire was quickly put under control but firemen made certain that all burning and
smoldering timbers were safe before leaving the scene. Two of the Schuylkill Hose Company trucks remained at the fire until later in
the morning. Most of the water damage was caused on the second, first and basement floors. The elevator was at the second floor,
so all water coming down the shaft rushed out on this floor. Sausser put twelve firemen to sweeping the water toward the elevator
shaft where it dropped down to the pit where it was pumped out. Factory employees who arrived on the scene also helped in getting
the water off the floors. This morning only a few of the 130 Alpha Mills employees had to be sent home. Part of the mill was able to
continue operation. Other employees began cleaning machinery and removing damaged stock. The rolls of knitted yarn were taken
to the Schuylkill Haven Bleach and Dye Works. The cut garments were taken to Troy Laundry.
The sprinkler system was the hero of the fire. Without the sprinklers and the alarm that worked with it, the fire would have gained
considerable headway before it was discovered and would have destroyed most of the factory. Two members of the Rainbow Fire
Company suffered severe injuries while fighting the blaze. Charles Fenstermacher received a deep gash in the right arm and Jimmy
Costanzo, while helping to take a portable pump into the basement, sustained a sever cut on the head. Both men required immediate
services of a doctor.
|The Call of August 9, 1956
OPERATION WASHOUT FOR ALPHA MILLS GARMENTS
Backyards on Margaretta and adjoining streets presented a riot of color last weekend as fifty seven families hung out 24,000 Alpha
Mill garments to dry on their wash lines. A colorful display of briefs, snuggies, childrens' creepers, crawlers, sweaters and T-shirts
hung on lines. These garments were in nine different colors: pink, blue, maize, white, red , navy, orchid, mint and dark green.
Operation Washout began on Thursday when Mrs. George Wildermuth offered the use of her wash lines to dry out the finished
garments which were soaked with water in the early morning fire at the Alpha Mill. As neighbors saw the garments being put on the
Wildermuth line, they came to the factory and offered the use of their lines. In all, fifty seven families volunteered their yards for the
big drying operation.
On Thursday and Friday 2,000 dozen garments were strung on lines in the neighborhood and completely dried. In addition, between
40,000 and 50,000 pounds of rolled knit goods were dried and refinished at the Schuylkill Haven Bleach and Dye Works. The
snuggies, briefs and childrens items are damaged and will be turned over to the insurance company. They were dried out to prevent
further damage to mildew. The factory was back on complete operation several hours after the employees had reported for work on
Thursday and had cleaned up the water damaged machines and knitted goods.
|The Call of September 13, 1956
BOILING TAR CAUSES FIRE
A fire reported to have started form tar boiling over on a kitchen stove caused an estimated $6,000 damage to the home of Michael
Chrin at 408 East Main Street on Friday and threatened the adjoining home before firemen were able to bring it under control.
According to Mr. Chrin, he had been heating the tar on the gas stove in the kitchen and had turned off the stove to go get his wife to
steady the ladder while he carried the tar to the roof. When he returned to the kitchen shortly after 5:00 p. m., he was met by a
sudden flame shooting across the room. He immediately turned in an alarm and the local fire companies responded.
Firemen found that the gas flame was still burning. It is not known whether the jet failed to close or whether Chrin had not turned off
the gas properly. The fire spread to the partitions and went up to the second floor and roof. Dense smoke from the tar and the
partition fire made fighting difficult. The firemen donned gas masks to get close to the fire and cut a hole in the roof so that water
could be played upon the blaze. The home of Howard Oswald on the east side of the Chrin residence was threatened. Shingles on
the side were blistered but water from the hoses protected the home. The Chrin family moved to Schuylkill Haven almost two years
ago. Mr. Chrin is presently unemployed and was engaged in making improvements to his property. During the past several months
the interior was painted, a porch was added on the back and the front porch was painted and improved.
|The Call of September 26, 1957
FIRE DAMAGES ZWEIZIG HOME ON WILLOW STREET
A fire of undetermined origin broke out in the Robert Zweizig home on Willow Street yesterday afternoon about four o'clock. The fire
started in a closet in the upper front bedroom. It spread between the ceiling and the roof. Because of the location of the fire in the
house it was hard to combat. Neither of the parents were home at the time of the fire. The children along with their uncle were
playing in the yard. The fire was discovered by Mrs. Emily Luckenbill who was going home from work at the time. The Zweizigs will be
unable to live in the home for five or six weeks until the repairs are finished. They are at present residing with relatives. Damage
was estimated at $2200. Liberty Hose Company, Rainbow Hose Company and Schuylkill Hose Company all responded to the alarm.
|The Call of July 12, 1958
FOOLISH PRANK ALMOST CAUSED BAD GARAGE FIRE
The foolish prank of some unknown person could have resulted in a major conflagration last night. Only the chance discovery by
Mrs. C. W. Heffner of a small fire at a row of garages behind North Berne Street along the river bank prevented a more serious fire.
While walking her small dog last evening about eleven o'clock, Mrs. Heffner saw a small pencil of red light at the garages. Returning
home she procured a flashlight and went back to investigate. As she approached the garages, Rudy Miller, who keeps his car in one
of them, drove up and they both investigated. They found that the garage door was burning. Mr. and Mrs. Miller obtained a bucket
of water and extinguished the blaze. Investigation this morning by local police revealed pieces of a railroad flare near the fire. It is
believed that someone lit the flare and tossed it against the garage door. Had it not been discovered in time, the fire might have
destroyed the garages, owned by Mrs. Rose Semmett, and the cars inside.
|The Call of July 24, 1958
TWO BOYS STOLE FLARES, STARTED FIRE
Two boys responsible for the burning of the garage door on the row of garages behind North Berne Street last week were
apprehended by Police Chief Lorin Honicker. The two boys, who are in their teens, stole the flares from a caboose on the Reading
tracks. They lit the flares and one held his along side the garage door "just to see what would happen." They didn't want to break
into the garage. The boys will be turned over to the county juvenile authorities.
|The Call of June 25, 1959
FIVE CARS, TRUCK, TV SETS, APPLIANCES BURN; FIREMEN SAVE ADJOINING PROPERTIES
A spectacular early morning fire on Tuesday destroyed the Earl Williams garage and the adjoining Howell warehouse on West Main
Street and caused damage estimated at upwards of $50,000. Four cars and a tractor trailer in the Williams garage and the automobile
of Russell Howell in his own building were destroyed. Quick action by persons arriving early on the scene resulted in four cars being
removed from the burning building. Also destroyed in the fire were between 25 and 30 used television sets, some of them belonging
to customers who had brought them in to Cliff Lockard for repairs, used ranges, refrigerators and automatic washers and a new
colored television set. A shipment of new sets, expected to be delivered on Monday and stored in the warehouse, was delayed a day
and escaped being added to the estimated $8,000 loss sustained by Cliff Lockard's TV and Appliance store.
"Wouldn't you know it, every piece in here (the main store room filled with new merchandise in the building spared by fire) is covered
by insurance", said Lockard, "but there is no insurance on any of the used sets." Fortunately, some of the customers whose sets
were brought in for repairs are partially covered by home insurance. Also destroyed were automobile parts valued at $3000 and
owned by L. C. Driesbach, which were stored in the second story of the warehouse. The adjoining welding and machine shop of
Russell Howell, only ten feet from the raging fire was burned on the side and roof, but fast action by local firemen saved it and the
large three story building fronting on Main Street. The machine shop was burned on the one side and roof but most of the damage
inside was caused by water rather than fire.
FIRE DISCOVERED AT 1:05 AM The fire was discovered by Robert "Dunk" Dohner and Charles Kubich about 1:05 in the morning.
Dohner was awakened by the smell of smoke. He first looked around his own property below the railroad tracks and then walked out
front. At that time, Charles Kubich, who works for the Reading Railroad Company and has just come in on the Schuylkill train, walked
by Dohner's and the two looked over to the buildings across the street. "We saw a small patch of fire, about three feet long and
eighteen inches high toward the rear of the warehouse," explained Dohner. "I ran immediately to the fire box and turned in the
alarm. At about the same time Kenneth "Butch" Reed and Kay Seigfried saw the smoke and small flame in the warehouse. By forcing
the garage doors open at the bottom, Reed was able to crawl into the building. Smoke and flame prevented him from battling the fire
and also removing Howell's car.
FOUR CARS SAVED Shortly after the fire sirens sounded, Lee Reber, Harold Bast and Walter Archbald arrived on the scene. Along
with Dohner, they entered the Williams garage and were able to remove four cars. Smoke from the burning building next door
poured into the garage and flames began licking through the partition. They were unable to see the remaining cars parked overnight
in the garage. The cars removed belonged to Arlin and Claude Krause of the Summit Station area, who are drivers for Arrow Carriers,
Mrs. Mamie Schwalm and Walter Archbald. A small truck which was in the service station bay of the garage was also later removed.
The tractor part of a tractor trailer unit, owned by the Edward H. Shollenberger Sons trucking company and valued by Nelson
Shollenberger at $1,000 was destroyed. Other cars in the Williams garage included a 1946 Plymouth owned by Williams, a 1955 Desoto
owned by Paul Zimmerman, a 1953 Chevrolet convertible owned by James Miller of Ashland and a 1956 Pontiac that was being
readied for shipment to Germany. The Pontiac was owned by Master Sergeant and Mrs. Donald J. Heiser. Mrs. Heiser, the former
Dolores Sterner of 317 Dock Street, is awaiting orders to make the trip to Illesheim, Germany to join her husband and was going to
have the car shipped in advance. Russell Howell's car, a 1953 Studebaker, was parked in the rear of the warehouse and was
destroyed. An old car, a 1941 Ford convertible being customized by Glenn Greenawalt and parked in an addition to the machine
shop, directly behind the warehouse, was also destroyed. Tractors of Arrow Carriers stored in the garage escaped because they left
earlier for an all night run.
WILLIAMS SUFFERS MOST LOSS The greatest loss was sustained by Earl Williams, owner of the rambling garage structure. In recent
years the back part of the building was used only for storage of automobiles, while the front section was used as a service station.
Robert Hoy of Friedensburg operated the service station and small repair department for Williams. The building was only partially
covered by insurance.
EXACT CAUSE UNKNOWN The exact cause of the fire is unknown. Fire Chief Paul Hinnershitz conducted an investigation on Tuesday
and determined that the blaze started in the rear of the warehouse in a section used for television repairs. Mrs. Howell told Cliff
Lockard that she heard a cracking sound that seemed to come from that building about 9:00 p. m. Monday during the thunderstorm.
Whether the fire was caused by lightning which started s fire that smoldered for hours before breaking into flame or whether
electrical wiring was to blame has not been determined.
HARVEY HEIM BUILT GARAGE Harvey Heim , one of the community's early automobile dealers, built the original garage on West Main
Street about 45 years ago. At that time he sold the Cutting automobile. Jim Schuckers conducted a coal business and occupied the
barn next door. He eventually bought the garage from Heim and made several additions to the building. Earl Williams acquired the
property in 1928 and built two additions to the front, one 40 by 30 feet and the other 30 by 30 feet. L. C. Driesbach, after selling his
property on Dock Street, moved into the Williams garage and conducted his business there from 1956 to 1958. An extension was built
on the west side to give more working space for an alignment rack and another extension was added to the side to house the furnace
and coal bin. The main structure measured 60 by 100 feet with the two additions across the front adding another 30 feet to the depth.
EXCELLENT FIRE FIGHTING Excellent fire fighting by the three local fire companies, Schuylkill, Liberty and rainbow, aided by the
Yorkville Hose Company and Humane Company of Pottsville, saved the large Howell property, formerly known as the Greenawalt
property and the Howell Welding and Machine Shop on the east and the William Campbell Atlantic Service Station on the west. The
local firemen immediately began playing water on the sides of the Howell properties. Amazingly, the large property which is only
about twelve feet away at the rear corner from the warehouse which was completely destroyed, has only a few scorched shingles on
the side to show for the experience. Fortunately there was no wind blowing at the time of the early morning fire and the flames shot
harmlessly hundreds of feet into the air. A heavy soaking rain earlier in the evening and the steady streams of water on the adjoining
properties saved them.
|The Call of December 24, 1959
BUCKET A DAY STOVE EXPLODES, STARTS FIRE
A leaky water back on the bucket a day stove in the basement of the Frank Shollenberger home at 327 Dock Street was the cause of a
fire Friday night at 9:30. Water dripping on the coals in the stove formed a steam pressure that blew off the lid of the stove. Hot
coals were spewed over the immediate area. Part of the wall was burned and the ceiling badly scorched. Clothing hanging on a line
in the cellar and owned by Richard Schultz, who lives next door, was ignited by the flying coals. Damage has been estimated at $110.
The fire was started by an explosion and both Mr. and Mrs. Shollenberger who were home at the time, thought it was two cars
bumping together out on the street. Mrs. Shollenberger discovered the flames in the cellar. Raymond Lord, a tenant in an upstairs
apartment, fought the fire with a garden hose until the arrival of the Rainbow Hose Company, which had been summoned by Schultz.
The hose company extinguished the blaze. Fire Chief Paul Hinnershitz and Assistant Fire Chiefs John Fenstermacher and Carl Feger
also assisted at the fire.
|The Call of March 30, 1960
FIRE AT KINGS STORE HALTED IN TIME
What might have developed into a serious fire was averted Saturday afternoon when a quick thinking person telephoned an alarm
into Town Hall Saturday afternoon. The call was relayed to the Schuylkill Hose Company who responded immediately to the King's
Store Company Five and Ten at 12 East Main Street. An overheated pipe leading from the stoker had ignited the partition behind the
card counter in the store. When the smoldering was removed it was noticed that the floor boards were heavily charred. In the mean
time, Fire Chief HInnershitz had one truck from the other two companies stand by in case of an emergency. The building is owned by
realtor Gordon D. Reed. Total amount of damage is estimated at $25.00.
|The Call of April 21, 1960
EARLY EASTER MORNING FIRE CAUSE $75,000 DAMAGE TO WEST MAIN STREET PROPERTIES
An early Easter morning fire almost totally destroyed the building occupied by the Reading Restaurant and Angelo's and for a time
threatened to sweep through the entire short West Main Street between Saint John Street and the railroad tracks. The three local
fire companies with the assistance of firemen and equipment from Pottsville, Orwigsburg and Cressona, successfully contained the
fire to the double frame property. The adjoining Palsgrove building on the west was only slightly burned at the roof but had
considerable smoke and water damage amounting to an estimated $1,000. The Kaufman building on the east had smoke damage that
may amount to several hundred dollars.
Fire Chief Paul Hinnershitz estimated the total damage between $50,000 and $75,000. The building occupied by the Reading
Restaurant and Angelo's had a loss that may run to $35,000. Loss of equipment and fixtures of the two businesses may be another
$25,000. All except Angelo Stramara, who operated the Angelo's bar and dining room, had insurance. He estimates his loss at
$14,000. The fire started at the rear of the second floor on the west side of the building. Angelo Stramara, whose home is in
Pottsville but who maintains sleeping quarters above his kitchen, awakened about 6:00 a. m. to see flames. He attempted to battle
the blaze with a fire extinguisher but was forced to flee the burning building only partially clothed. He phoned in an alarm and then
finished dressing at the Reading station. At about the same time, two of F. S. Lewis' employees who were delivering Sunday papers,
discovered the fire. Charles Kubich of 22 East Main Street, who was driving the delivery truck, told Frederick Dasch, a junior high
school student, who was delivering papers, to turn in the alarm.
When Schuylkill Haven firemen arrived on the scene, flames were coming down a stairway from the second floor at Angelo's. Fire
Chief Hinnershitz summoned assistance from surrounding towns. Good water pressure from the mains and lines run from the
pumpers to the Schuylkill River provided adequate water to fight the fire. The firemen were able to confine the blaze to the second
floor of the burning building. The flames burned through the roof but numerous hose lines poured water into the building and
prevented the flames from spreading to the adjoining buildings. Brick construction between the burning building and the adjoining
structures helped prevent the spread of the fire. In addition to the Rainbow, Liberty and Schuylkill Hose Companies of town, the
Yorkville Hose Company and Good Will Hose Company of Pottsville and the Friendship Hose Company of Orwigsburg and Cressona
Fire Company assisted.
The building that burned was purchased about a month ago by the First National Bank and Trust Company from Cevetan Georgevic of
Pottsville. It was occupied by the Reading Restaurant, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Kosmas Zachariades, and Angelos's operated by
Angelo Stramara. The apartment above the Reading Restaurant was vacant. The Zachariades live at the rear of the Parris Lazos
property on East Main Street. The fire closes a restaurant that has been in business for more than forty nine years. The Reading
Restaurant has had Greek proprietors for most of this time. The last owners acquired the business from Mr. and Mrs. Parthenis
"Danny" Zachariades, who in turn acquired it from her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Gus Vranas. For a long period before that, the business
was conducted by Tommy and Charlie Katsaros and before that by the Pettis Brothers.
|The Call of June 16, 1960
CHILDREN IN ATTIC SET FIRE TO HOUSE
What could have been very tragic with the loss of life and considerable property was averted Monday afternoon when neighbors saw
smoke coming from the attic window of the Thomas McCord property at 315 Saint John Street. Neighbors formed a bucket brigade
and had the blaze under control by the time the fire departments arrived. All three companies answered the call. Children who had
entered and were playing in the home are believed responsible for the fire. The house had been vacated quite some time ago and
hasn't been entirely emptied of its contents, the attic section in particular. The fire was confined to the floor area and the necessary
replacement will be made soon. Just about two months ago, the house was entered and thoroughly ransacked.
|The six images below are all from the parade for the 175th Anniversary celebration in September of 1925. The left column shows the
Liberty Fire Company engines preparing for and driving in the parade. The right column shows Rainbow Hose Company engines
preparing for the parade and members marching in the parade.
|The Call of August 4, 1960
RAINBOW HOSE COMPANY MADE GREAT STRIDES SINCE 1885
The giant firemen's parade on Saturday, made colorful by the many new pieces of fire equipment from neighboring communities, the
bands, drum and bugle corps and marching units, was a fitting climax for the Rainbow Hose Company's week long 75th anniversary
celebration. The newly acquired grounds and the recently completed expansion of the Rainbow building on Dock Street adequately
accommodated the visiting firemen. In the past few years the fire company has purchased and torn down the Rose property which
adjoined on the south side and the Christ property which adjoined on the north side. A large addition to house the two large trucks
was finished this past year and the social room, previously located on the second floor of the old building, were moved to the first
floor. The large playground area on Willow Street, also recently approved with the addition of a pavilion and more pieces of
playground equipment also played a big part in the success of the celebration.
When the history of the Rainbow Hose Company is read, the fact that the early founders continued with their plans for starting a fire
company is amazing. It had its start back in 1885 when a group of North Ward men at a picnic talked about the need for a fire company
for that part of town. A meeting was held at an old house along side the present Guy Luckenbill Cafe. The founders decided to hold
a picnic and dance to raise funds for the embryo fire company. The magnificent sum of $7.67 was raised by this means. The founders
appointed a committee to look into the purchase of a fire cart. The committee reported that one could be bought for $450. So the
organizing firemen decided to put on a house to house solicitation. This canvass brought in $59.75. Along about this time most
organizers would have thrown in the towel.
On October 13, 1885, the company was organized as the Good Intent Fire Company Number One. Due to the fact that the carriage
committee was so royally entertained by the Rainbow Hose Company Number One of Reading on their visit to inspect carriages on
October 26, 1885, the name of the local company was changed to the Rainbow Hose Company in honor of the Reading company by
that name. A charter was granted to the Rainbow Hose Company by the county courts. The new carriage was delivered on Christmas
day. It was first housed in the stable of John Bader and then at the rear of the property known as the Hotel Deer, owned by Benjamin
J. Luckenbill. This building was not suitable to house such an expensive piece of equipment. New doors, floors, papering, windows
and a tower on the roof were immediately installed. In April of 1886, a bell was purchased from the Half Way House for four dollars
and placed in the tower. Three members were appointed bellringers with the privilege of ringing the bell for practice at any time they
thought necessary. The founders were an ambitious group. They founded a drum corps in 1886.
When the meeting place was changed to the third floor of a building at 315 Dock Street, a janitor was appointed to keep the rooms
clean at a monthly salary of twenty five cents. Occasionally he submitted bills for an additional ten cents for cleaning spittoons. At a
festival in 1892, the demand for clam soup was so great that there was a shortage of milk. A cow was brought to the grounds and
milked to provide this necessary ingredient. The Ladies Auxiliary dates back to 1895. The women immediately went to work holding
bazaars and festivals to help pay off the debt. By this time the company had bought its present building for $900 and made
renovations at a cost of $3,176. When the Friendship hook and Ladder Company merged with the Rainbows, another addition was
made to the building at a cost of $2,790. In 1920 the hook and ladder truck was motorized to keep up with the times. The old hose
carriage of the company was given to the fire company at Wade. As a thank you the wade firemen named their company the Rainbow
Hose Company. In 1936 the two trucks were rebuilt at a cost of $6,525.
The 1950s were important years in the history of the Rainbow Hose Company. In 1951 a new Seagrave ladder truck was purchased for
$30, 923. In 1954 the company purchased the Charles Rose property for $6,000, tore down the building and used the ground for a
parking lot. Also in that year the company bought the Willow Street playground for $1,200 and added new equipment. The Ladies'
Auxiliary added a new fence for the protection of the children. In 1959 the contract for the new truck was awarded for $35,020. In
March of this tear, the company purchased the Harry Christ property. The building was torn down to provide additional parking space
as well as an area where company affairs could be held. The company has made great progress since its founding 75 years ago. It is
a great asset to the community and its present members are to be commended for carrying on the great work that was started by the
founders back in 1885.
|The Call of August 11, 1960
RHINE HOME HIT BY BOLT OF LIGHTNING
The home of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Rhine of 600 Columbia Street, was struck by a bolt of lightning Tuesday night about 12:20 o'clock.
The bolt struck the chimney, completely demolishing it and traveled down the sewer vent pipe into the cellar area. There the water
pipes broke open, the force of the vacuum of the lightning blew off the furnace door and several windows were broken. The home
of Vincent Hughes, living next door to the Rhines was also struck but only the water meter in the cellar was slightly damaged. Last
fall the Rhine home was hit by lightning and at that time the television set received the full force of the strike.
|The Call of June 8, 1961
GARAGE DESTROYED, YOUNGSTER BURNED
Vincent Dixon Jr., five, son of Mr. and Mrs. Vincent Dixon Sr. of Pottsville Rd#3, is a patient in the Pottsville Hospital where he was
taken early Monday afternoon when he suffered second degree burns of the right leg and hand in a fire that destroyed his father's
garage. Vincent and some other children were playing with matches in gasoline in the Willow Lake garage when the gasoline ignited.
Vincent was badly burned while the other children miraculously escaped injury. The garage, a one story structure, was completely
destroyed, according to Fire Chief Paul Hinnershitz. Mr. Dixon, an employee of Wiener's in Pottsville, repaired cars in his spare time.
A 1957 model Buick in the garage for repairs was destroyed. A corner of the house was damaged. The three local fire companies
responded to the alarm about one in the afternoon.
|The Call of August 10, 1961
UNUSED DWELLING DESTROYED BY FIRE
Firemen were summoned at 3:45 in the morning Friday to 402 Dock Street where an unoccupied frame dwelling was on fire. The fire
had been raging for some time before discovered by a neighbor. The three local fire companies responded to the scene of the fire
which was directly across the street from the Rainbow Hose Company. The dwelling was vacant, although some of the furniture had
been removed as late as midnight the night of the blaze. The front part of the building had been converted into a small store which
was last occupied by Violet's Lunch. The building was formerly the Clayton Koch grocery store. No cause of the fire has been
determined. John Donton of Brommerstown Valley is reported to be the owner of the building. Investigation is being conducted into
the fire by local fire chief Paul Hinnershitz, He called in Assistant Fire Marshal Mike Wisnewski, state police sergeant from the
Reading barracks to conduct the probe into the cause of the fire.
|The Call of August 24, 1961
50-50 TICKETS AND PENCIL LEFT AT FIRE LED POLICE TO ARSONIST, ADMITS THREE FIRES
With the finding of three tickets from the Rainbow Hose Company 50-50 club and a pencil, the cause of three fires in Schuylkill Haven,
involving over $28,000 damage within the past month, was solved. Last week George Sheriff, haven Street, called Fire Chief Paul
Hinnershitz to report that a fire had been started in his unoccupied dwelling at 227 Haven Street but had burned itself out. Upon
investigation the tickets and pencil were found and through the numbers on the tickets they were traced to being in the possession
of William I. McKeone, 33, of 401 Dock Street. McKeone was apprehended by State Police Corporal John Ripka and State Fire Marshal
Michael Wisnewski on Friday and received a hearing before Alderman William Thompson of Pottsville. Fire Chief Hinnershitz helped
state police in the breaking of the case.
McKeone readily admitted setting afire the Pennsy Railroad station about a month ago resulting in $20,000 loss of surplus food. He
also admitted starting the fire at 402 Dock Street. McKeone lived in the rear of the property and reported the 3:45 a. m. fire. $3,500
damage was involved in that fire. When arrested, McKeone revealed he was planning on setting fire to another dwelling in the North
Ward. He was committed to prison without bail last Friday afternoon on three counts of arson. McKeone had previously been
arrested on arson charges and had been returned to Schuylkill County prison from Fairview State Hospital on March 2, 1960, at which
time he was immediately paroled by Judge Charles W. Staudenmeier.
|Miners Journal of March 1, 1872
The brilliant light observable from this borough last evening in the direction of Schuylkill Haven, was the reflection of a fire at
Werner's Locks, a short distance above that place. The fire destroyed a number of old wooden buildings, formerly used as the
painter and blacksmith shops by the Schuylkill Navigation Company. The fire was the work of an incendiary and the loss is estimated
at one thousand dollars.
|Miners Journal of February 17, 1882
AN INCENDIARY TOWN
Schuylkill Haven was all excitement Wednesday night. About nine o'clock in the evening, Grand Army Park, which is located at some
distance from the town, was illuminated by a bright glow. The park is a beautiful spot, naturally, and its beauties had been increased
by the expenditure of much labor and a good deal of money by the members of Jere Helms Post 26 of the G. A. R. Lit up, as it was last
night, the park presented a magnificent appearance. The glow alluded to was caused by a fire which originated either in the dancing
platform or a small house built for the purposes of the Post across the Schuylkill River. The bridge, dancing floor and house were
totally destroyed. The loss is estimated at $650. The fire is supposed to have been the work of an incendiary.
|The Call of February 10, 1894
FIRE! FIRE! - THE P. & R. C. AND I. COMPANY'S STORAGE YARDS ATTACKED BY FLAMES
The screen building at the storage yards, owned by the P. & R. C. and I. Railroad Company, was destroyed by fire Thursday night. H. B.
Zulick, superintendent of the yards, telegraphed to Pottsville for assistance to the home fire company, as it was feared the fire would
spread to adjoining properties, but by the time the Pottsville firemen got to the scene, the home company had the flames under
control. The brave firemen made a gallant fight but were unable to save the screen house from destruction on account of an
accident to the hose. The building had a frontage of fifty feet and was used as a washery in preparing coal for shipment. The
machinery was partly destroyed and the dynamos in an electric light plant at the rear of the screen building were damaged but can be
repaired. These buildings were divided from the coal chutes which contained about 100,000 tons of coal by heavy cribbing but the
firemen had a hard time protecting the coal from the flames. The origin of the fire is a mystery. It started at 8:40 in the evening and
several carpenters who worked at the place up to seven o'clock say they saw no signs of fire. The building will be rebuilt at once.
|The Call of August 27, 1909
LIBERTY HOSE HOUSE
The Liberty Fire Company, will on Saturday afternoon and evening, throw open the doors of their new building on Columbia Street in
the South Ward to the inspection of the public, and the citizens of all parts of town are cordially invited to view it. The building is
thirty by forty feet in size, two stories in height and stands upon a lot 40 by 160 feet, the ground having been the gift of Mrs. W. L.
Bryant. The structure is of concrete blocks, with galvanized iron cornices finished in imitation of concrete. The building stands on a
concrete foundation and the cellar is cemented.
There are but two rooms, an apparatus room on the first floor and a meeting room on the second floor. Both are wainscoted to a
height of four feet and the balance of the side walls and the ceilings are finished in stamped steel and prettily painted. I. H. Becker
was the general contractor and the concrete blocks and ornaments were furnished by Jere Huling and Son. The house is piped for
gas and wired for electric light. There is a washstand in each room and the entire building is heated by steam. The steam plant was
installed by Ray Hoffman. Most of the digging, hauling, foundations, cementing, outside concrete work, filling, plumbing and electric
light work was done by members of the company.
The Liberty boys are to be congratulated upon the success of their efforts to provide the South Ward with an up to date fire
company. The company is equipped with a modern two wheeled hose carriage that carries a big reel of hose and all of the necessary
accessories. Thanks to the kindness of the public and the contributions and strenuous work of the members, the apparatus and
equipment is all paid for and a part of the cost of the building is paid, there remaining a debt of $1,500. This the company hopes to
liquidate in a short time.
In addition to the fact that the building houses a firefighting and property saving organization, the public has another interest in the
structure, owing to the fact that the meeting room has been leased to the school board and will be used during the coming term for
school purposes. With this object in view, the board has installed forty eight handsome, new desks, a desk for the teacher, large
blackboards and other school paraphernalia. With ample light, plenty of heat and good ventilation, this is one of the handsomest,
most comfortable and most healthful school rooms in the town.
|The Call of March 15, 1962
FIRE AT REAGER HOME CAUSES SLIGHT DAMAGE
A smoldering fire in the closet at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Leon Reager, Pear Street, at the rear of Fairmount brought out the town's
firefighting equipment but did only slight damage before firemen extinguished the blaze. Smoke was noticed coming from the home
and an alarm was turned in about 1:30 this afternoon. Assistant Fire Chief Carl Feger stated the fore was probably started by
spontaneous combustion when a rag used to apply wax to the floor burst into flame. The rag, which had been hanging in the closet,
fell to the floor and ignited items on the floor. Because the closet door was closed, the ignited articles smoldered and produced a
large volume of smoke. The firemen, wearing gas masks, broke through a wall to make certain the fire was not burning between
partitions. Damage was slight.
|The Call of May 10, 1962
FIRE DESTROYS TWO GARAGES
Just a week from the day Franklin Eckert of 324 Saint John Street returned home from the hospital where he had been hospitalized
almost five weeks following a stroke, the combination garage and repair shop located in the yard to the rear of his home was
damaged beyond repair by fire and the adjacent garage of Nelson Faust, 400 Saint John Street, was also destroyed. The fire started
around 4:50 p. m. Friday afternoon when sparks from papers being burned in an incinerator got into the Eckert garage. The blaze
quickly spread to the Faust garage. The Eckert four car garage was used mostly for storage of washing machines being repaired by
Eckert. Most of the loss in the fire was washing machines and parts of machines including motors. One car space in the garage was
rented out but no cars were in the garage at the time of the fire. Fire Chief Paul Hinnershitz estimated the Eckert loss at $2500 and
the Faust loss at $500. Shingles on the Loeper home, located next to the Eckert home, were badly scorched. The Rainbow, Schuylkill
and Liberty Companies responded to the general alarm. Eckert, who is confined to his bedroom, is still in serious condition.
|The Call of January 24, 1963
FIRE AND WATER DAMAGE EDNA BARR'S HOME
The back part of the two and a half story home of Edna Barr, 121 High Street, retired school teacher, was badly damaged by fire and
water this morning during a stubborn fire which according to Fire Chief Paul Hinnershitz is believed to have started in the cellar in a
heating coil on a pipe leading into a rear building. The fire followed through into the partitions of the first and second floors.
Miss Barr was awakened by the smell of smoke around 5:45 a. m. She aroused a neighbor, Arthur Fenstermacher, who turned in the
alarm. The three local fire companies responded and upon arrival found the smoke so dense in the house that the firemen had to
use a smoke ejector. The men using Scott air packs which have tanks of air attached, were required to use fourteen before they
could enter the home. The below freezing weather did not help any in fighting the fire. A valve on the fire plug in front of the East
Ward building froze but later was gotten open. The firemen also experienced some difficulty when some of the booster lines froze
after the water had been turned off. The fire was finally brought under control about ten a. m. The home has been so badly damaged
by the fire, the bursting of a water pipe and the burning of the electric wires that Miss Barr will not be able to live in the home until
repairs have been made.
|The Call of February 21, 1963
FIRE AT WILLOW LAKE ON SUNDAY
The Rainbow and Liberty Fire Companies responded to a fire alarm Sunday afternoon around 2:300 o'clock when a fire broke out in
the cellar of the Vincent Dixon residence in Willow Lake. William Wingle, member of the Rainbow Fire Company, and one of the first
to arrive at the scene, found Lawrence Dixon, brother of Vincent, had most of the fire extinguished after using water from a garden
hose on the blaze. An overheated flue was blamed on the fire that burned a rafter. The building was formerly a country school house
for children of North Manheim Township.
|The Call of January 23, 1964
TRAPPED IN BURNING VEHICLE, SAM FAUST BARELY ESCAPES
Samuel Faust, Long Run, suffered burns of the face and severe lacerations of the fingers and elbows during a fire late Saturday
afternoon at which time he was trapped in the cab of a payloader which caught fire in the coal yard of C. W. Faust and Son, rear of
Parkway. Austin Faust and son Sammy were preparing to remove snow with the payloader from in front of the homes of neighbors on
Parkway. They were in the process of putting gasoline into the payloader tank which is located along side the seat on the inside of
the cab, when some of the gasoline fell over the hot engine. Immediately the flames shot up around the cab and Sammy was trapped
inside. Using his elbow to break the cab window, Sammy jumped through the window landing in a pile of ice.
He was treated at the dispensary of the Pottsville Hospital for burns, cuts and shock. It is felt that the fact he was wearing heavy
clothing saved him from fatal injuries when he crashed through the window. In addition to the payloader being badly damaged, the
gas pump caught fire and a new pump had to be installed. The two trucks from the Liberty Fire Company answered the call.
|The Call of June 25, 1964
SALVAGE FIRM CLAIMS LOSS OF $10,000; NO INSURANCE
A fire which blazed through the abandoned coal breaker near the Edgewood section of Schuylkill Haven Tuesday afternoon is being
investigated by the state fire marshal from the Reading barracks. The breaker, known as the Lohb Coal Company breaker, is owned
by Salvador Gaudiano and Brothers Incorporated of Hazleton, a scrap and salvage company. Until bankruptcy, the breaker was
actually owned and operated by Fisher Associates which had been located in Pottsville. J. Harold Fisher is listed as president of the
company. The breaker was sold to Gaudiano Brothers at a private sale in September of last year by William D. Hutchinson, attorney for
Fisher Associates. The salvage company had been working at the site for about two months including Tuesday morning.
MEN LEFT SITE AT 1 P. M. According to Gaudiano, his men left the site about one in the afternoon with a load of salvage. The first
fire alarm was sounded about 1:50 p. m. Although the company had been using a crane and other heavy equipment at the site,
Gaudiano said it had been moved to another job near Lansford. A bulldozer remained near the breaker. The agreement under which
the property was sold to Gaudiano Brothers included tearing down the beaker and other buildings on the property. Gaudiano said he
had already sold the timber, which brings about sixty dollars per thousand pounds in the city. The breaker also contained a number
of motors and shakers, which his men had not yet removed, Gaudiano said. He estimates his loss at $10,000. He said he has no
insurance to cover the loss
There were three separate buildings on the property including the breaker, a preparation plant and a tool shed which all burned in
the blaze. Although the breaker and preparation plant were close together and connected by a chute, the tool shed was located
some distance away from the other buildings. Gaudiano said this was the third breaker in sixteen he owned which was lost by fire.
He said it takes only a match or even a hot piece of metal to start a blaze. He added that his men had been burning some scrap near
the buildings on Tuesday morning.
FIRST CONCERN FOR HOMES The immediate concern for firemen who answered the first alarm Tuesday was for the homes in the
area. Carl Feger, assistant fire chief, who was in charge of operations, said the homes were in danger of catching fire from the heat
radiation generated by the breaker while it was still standing. Many people living on Railroad Street, close to the fire, wet down their
own homes with garden hoses. After the building, which Feger said was considered scrap and of little value, went down, the danger
to homes was lessened and firemen worked on the immediate location to control the flames. The breaker was considered too far
gone to save by the time firemen arrived on the scene. A smaller fire broke out last night but the fire is now being controlled and
allowed to burn out.
LAND HELD IN TRUST Although the buildings were sold for salvage, the land is held in trust by Hutchinson. According to the
attorney, most of the land will be sold to pay off debts incurred by Fisher Associates. He said he didn't think the land would bring
enough to pay off all debts. The breaker, which is located just outside borough limits, had been the basis of many complaints of dust
and dirt by residents while the breaker was in operation. Some of the land, however, is part of the borough. After the breaker had
been established, the borough passed an ordinance prohibiting breakers within the borough limits.
|The Call of July 2, 1964
BREAKER FIRE INVESTIGATION FAILS TO DETERMINE CAUSE
An investigation by Michael Wisniewski, state deputy fire marshal, into the cause of a fire which blazed through the abandoned coal
breaker near the Edgewood section of Schuylkill Haven last Tuesday afternoon, failed to produce any concrete results according to
John Fenstermacher, Schuylkill Haven fore chief and Carl Feger, assistant. Feger said the fire marshal is continuing the
investigation but added there is not much chance of coming up with anything.
The breaker is owned by Salvador Gaudiano and Brothers of Hazleton, a scrap and salvage company. The breaker was sold to the
salvage firm at a private sale in September of last year by William D. Hutchinson, attorney for Fisher Associates which owned the
breaker until bankruptcy. Workers from the salvage company had been working at the breaker, dismantling it for salvage for about
two months before the day of the fire and had only left the site about fifty minutes before the first fire alarm was sounded.
The breaker had been sold to Gaudiano Brothers under an agreement that included tearing down the breaker and other buildings on
the property. Gaudiano said he had already sold the timber that burned. Along with a number of motors and shakers, which
Gaudiano said were still in the breaker and destroyed in the fire, the salvage firm estimated its loss at $10,000. Gaudiano said he has
no insurance to cover the loss of the breaker. Although the breaker is located just outside the borough limits, about one hundred
yards from the nearest home, the first concern of firemen on the scene at the time of the blaze was for the homes in the area. Carl
Feger and Glenn Sattizahn, assistant fire chiefs who directed the fire fighting operations, concentrated on keeping the homes from
catching fire. Firemen said the homes were in danger from heat radiation as long as the breaker was standing.
|The Call of January 7, 1965
FIRE YESTERDAY DESTROYED BEDROOM AT ZERBE HOME
Bedding, box springs, mattresses, clothing and twin beds were burned yesterday afternoon about 5:00 p. m. at the Walter Zerbe home
at 120 Dock Street when a fire of undetermined origin broke out in a bedroom at the Zerbe home. The fire was discovered by the
Zerbe's eleven year old daughter, Debbie, who saw the smoke when she started to go up the stairs to the second floor. She called
her father who had just returned home from work. Zerbe discovered the blazing bedding on the both beds and threw the burning
materials out the window. In doing so the curtains caught fire and these also he threw outside. He tried to extinguish the burning
box springs with water and instructed his daughter to call for the fire companies. The Liberty, Rainbow and Schuylkill companies
responded and had the fire under control within a short time. The fire loss was confined to bedding and bedroom furniture.
|The Call of January 21, 1965
FIRE DESTROYS POSSESSIONS OF DAGLIS FAMILY
A fire of undetermined origin Saturday noon destroyed the furnishings and clothing of the Nicholas Daglis family who were residing at
217 North Margaretta Street to the rear of Saint Ambrose Rectory. The house, badly damaged by the fire, is owned by the Michael
Drotter family of 269 Haven Street. Mrs. Daglis reported the fire probably started in the bedroom on the second floor. She had
cleaned in the upstairs in the morning and after that went downstairs to do the laundry. When she again went to the second floor to
take the baby, Anthony, for his nap, she saw smoke. Mrs. Daglis tried to telephone for the fire department but found the line was
dead. Her ten year old daughter, Harriet, went to the home of a neighbor who called the firemen.
Among the things lost in the fire were twenty pairs of trousers belonging to the boys, which Mrs. Daglis had just brought home from
the cleaners. The Daglis family, which includes five children ranging in age from one to ten years, was temporarily housed at the
Drotter home before moving to a house along Route 61 near the Robert Hall store. Daglis is a chef at the Schuylkill Country Club.
|Miners Journal of April 10, 1852
FIRE IN SCHUYLKILL HAVEN
The weigh scales of the Mine Hill and Schuylkill Haven Railroad Company took fire on Saturday last and burned to the ground. The
scales themselves were not much injured but the building attached was entirely destroyed. The loss is not very great, the books,
papers, etc., remaining unharmed in the safe. The company proposes erecting a better looking and more substantial building on the
ruins. The fire originated from a spark of an engine that had passed a short time before. $500 will probably cover the entire loss.
|The Call of June 14, 1918
FIREWORKS START A BLAZE
A quantity of fireworks in the window of the Umbenhauer variety store on Columbia Street, was the cause of a small fire that caused
considerable excitement in the neighborhood. It is said that a small child was left in charge of the store and had sold to some other
children what is known as a sparkler. This sparkler was ignited in the store and some of the sparks carried to the window wherein
was placed other fireworks. In an instant these fireworks were going off. A bucket brigade was formed and soon extinguished the
flames but not before the curtain was burned and the woodwork charred. Several cool headed persons prevented a general alarm
from being turned in and bringing the department to the scene.
|The Call of February 17, 1966
MANAGER ASSESSES ARGO FIRE DAMAGE AT $10,000
An early morning fire on Tuesday, reported to have been caused by static electricity,damaged the Argo Mills bleachery near Willow
Lake. Plant Manager William Hazmuka estimated the loss at $10,000. Schuylkill Haven's three companies responded to the alarm sent
in at 5:45 a. m. by Guy Miller, an employee of the firm. The heat of the fire set off a sprinkling system in the shearing department.
The condition of the road leading to the bleachery was criticized by Hazmuka. Schuylkill Haven Borough owns land in the area where
its water tanks are located. A common agreement reportedly exists, permitting Argo Mills to use that portion of the road on borough
owned land. An unofficial spokesman, commenting on the criticism, likened it to a neighbor, who on being given permission to walk
through your property, makes demands for a concrete walk. As to the road condition slowing up the fire trucks, one fireman put it
this way, "What can you expect from a dirt road at this time of year? A truck couldn't do fifty but there was no delay."
|The Call of March 17, 1966
FIREMEN AT MEETING WHEN ALARM SOUNDS
Because the Schuylkill Hose Company was holding a meeting when the fire alarm was sounded and firemen were at the scene within
a minute, the original frame building of the Schuylkill Haven Bleach and Dye Works Incorporated on Market Street, its machinery and
cloth being processed were saved from total destruction Thursday night. John R. Bamford, president of the bleachery, estimated
that actual damage by fire to rolls of cloth amounts to $3,000 but no estimate has as yet been made on smoke damage to other
material in the plant. Because of the quick response, firemen held water damage to a minimum using only booster tank hose. The
fire was completely extinguished in ten minutes. A single casualty resulted when Adam Tobias Jr. of Pleasant Row, suffered a cut on
the forehead. He was treated by his family physician.
Bamford stated that an investigation led to the conclusion that a spark from a cutting knife being sharpened ignited lint and a slow
fire in a roll of cloth was smoldering for five or six hours. Workmen on the night shift smelled the odor of burning cloth in the
building. Unable to discover anything burning or to find any smoke, they called Oscar Bolton at his nearby home. Bolton was
investigating when suddenly the smoldering fire burst into flame. He turned in the alarm. All companies responded but the Schuylkill
Hose Company firemen were at the scene only two blocks away within a minute and aided the employees who had grabbed hand fire
extinguishers in halting the blaze. Bamford reported that the loss is covered by insurance.
|The Call of March 31, 1966
PROMPT FIREMEN SAVE BANANA COMPANY WAREHOUSE
The prompt and efficient action of the Schuylkill Haven foremen is credited with saving the warehouse of the Bedway Banana
Company from destruction by fire Sunday evening. The office, completed in November, together with all records and furniture, was
destroyed. Charles Manbeck is said to have discovered the fire which began in the offices. When the firemen arrived about 7:15,
the office was blazing. Mrs. Charles Bedway, owner, stated that about 6:60 p. m., one of her sons had been in the office and at that
time there was no trace of fire. Paul and Charles Bedway Jr. removed the trucks from the garage located between the office and the
warehouse. Because the warehouse is airtight, the bananas were not affected by the smoke and Monday morning the company could
continue to fill orders.
|The Call of July 28, 1966
FIRE DAMAGES MOYER HOME
Fire early Tuesday evening damaged the home of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Moyer, 55 Avenue E. The Moyer family left the home about
7:30 p. m. and did not learn of the fire until their return shortly before nine o'clock. Bruce Klinger, who lives across the street from
the Moyers, noticed the flames inside the house and turned in the alarm at 8:03 p. m. Firemen quickly responded. They broke a
window to reach the fire. Assistant Fire Chief Carl Feger reported that the fire started in the basement at the electrical wiring leading
to an air conditioning unit in the first floor front room. Fire damage was limited to that part of the basement, the floor, side wall,
carpeting and nearby furniture. An electric clock in the room stopped at 8:15 p. m. Another neighbor, Terry Bensinger, broke into a
cellar door to gain entrance and put water on the blaze. Water damage was slight, but the remaining two rooms on the one side of
the first floor were extensively damaged by smoke and soot. The entire house had smoke damage.
|The Call of October 5, 1967
PAINT, SOLVENTS CAUSE MYSTERY DUMP FIRES
The mystery of the dump fires that have plagued Schuylkill haven firemen for the past several weeks has been solved. Firemen and
borough officials discovered that the fires were started by spontaneous combustion from solvents and paints dumped at the
borough landfill by Quartite Creative Industries located along Route 61 east of the borough line. The mystery of the fires was solved
when the fire that produced high shooting flames was found to be in a load of the solvent and paint from cleaning the paint spray
booths, dumped at the landfill late Monday afternoon. The fire broke out about 7:30 p. m.
It was determined that the paint created a high heat when it dried and caused the solvent to burst into flame. As Quartite is outside
the borough limits, the company was notified to discontinue dumping at the landfill. Tuesday night firemen were called out to a fire at
Quartite. The same thing had occurred when this material had been dumped outside the building. A similar fire occurred last Friday.
|The Call of October 19, 1967
LAMAR SHAW CHARGED WITH TURNING IN FALSE ALARMS
Charged with turning in three false fire alarms at half hour intervals early Sunday morning, Lamar Shaw, 38, of 124 West Main Street, if
found guilty in court, could be fined up to $500 or given two years imprisonment, or both, for each offense. Shaw was arrested
shortly after the third alarm was turned in after two firemen stationed near the box saw him sound the general alarm and noted the
license number of the car he was driving.
The general alarms were turned in at three different boxes and brought out all three fire companies each time. The first originated
from a box at the corner of Williams and saint John Streets at 12:15 a. m. The second was from Main Street and Parkway at 12:50 a. m.
The third time the alarm was sent in from the box at the corner of Avenue A and Union Street at 1:15 a. m. Following the second false
alarm, Fire Chief John Fenstermacher stationed two firemen in a car near each box in town. Jan Schaeffer and Earl Jacoby, watching
the box at Avenue A, saw a car park near the box and a man emerge and turn in the alarm. They turned on their lights and obtained
the license number of the car. Shaw was picked up twenty minutes later. Firemen say he had been drinking.
He was brought before Justice of the Peace George Orwig on a preliminary arraignment. He was committed to Schuylkill County
prison and remained their until Sunday evening when bail of $500 was obtained. At a preliminary hearing before Orwig on Tuesday
night, testimony was heard and the case, because it is a misdemeanor, was turned over to the county courts. Schuylkill Haven does
not have an ordinance providing for a penalty for turning in a false fire alarm. The offense, however, is covered by state law which
provides the stiff penalty of a fine up to $500, imprisonment up to two years or both.
|The Call of April 18, 1968
FIRE RUINS WALTERS HOME
Schuylkill Haven firemen answered a general alarm Saturday at 11:40 a. m. at the home of Mrs. Veronica Walters of Willow Lake. Mrs.
Walters was not home when the fire, of undetermined origin, broke out and completely gutted the rear of the six room single house.
A Son, Joseph, 20, was in the vicinity of the home working on his car when the fire was discovered. In an effort to save his dog,
alone in the house, he tried to reach him through the kitchen door. Unable to get there because of the flames, he tried to open a
window in the front of the house. Flames there also kept him from getting to the dog, who died of suffocation. Walters suffered
burns to the back of his neck and was treated at the Pottsville Hospital dispensary. The kitchen and living room were gutted by the
fire. The rest of the house had considerable smoke and water damage, making it unlivable. Firemen had the fire under control in
about an hour but remained on the scene until 2:00 p. m. cleaning up burning embers in the vicinity of the home.
|The Call of December 5, 1968
$12,000 FIRE DAMAGES LIVING QUARTERS AT BART'S STUDIO
The efficient action of firemen and the assistance of neighbors saved Bart's Photography and Art Studios from complete destruction
by fire on Tuesday morning. Mr. and Mrs. Kurth Barth, owners of the studio, were in the downstairs portion of the structure when a
neighbor came in to report smoke coming from the upper portion of the building. The fire with damages estimated at $12,000, is
believed to have started in the kitchen on the second floor. The kitchen and dining areas were almost completely destroyed by
flames. Water damage resulted in the first floor studios and smoke damage is evident throughout the structure.
Friends and neighbors assisted in removing the paintings and fine art items from the first floor and basement of the building. If fire
had reached this area, the loss would have been many thousand dollars higher. About thirty firemen from the three Schuylkill Haven
companies, the Friendship Hose Company of Orwigsburg and the Landingville Hose Company fought the blaze from 9:45 to nearly
11:30 a. m. Adam Faust, assistant fire chief at Orwigsburg, suffered cuts of the thumb and two fingers when a window blew out. He
was treated at the dispensary at the Good Samaritan Hospital. Schuylkill Haven Fire Police and state police were on th escene
directing crowds and traffic along Route 61.
|The Call of January 9, 1969
THREE FIRE ALARMS, ONE FALSE
The Schuylkill Haven fire alarm sounded three times in less than a day's time early this week. Two were legitimate. The third was a
false alarm caused by a short circuit in the fire alarm system. Quick response by the local firemen to a general fire alarm Monday at
4:00 p. m., halted a fire in the Carl Reber garage at the rear of 24 West Main Street and kept it from spreading to adjoining buildings.
Although firemen battled the stubborn blaze for more than two hours before finally getting it under control, damage was estimated at
only $200. The fire is said to have started in the upper portion of the building. A sign on the outside of the building designated it as
a bicycle repair shop, but the building had neither heat nor electricity and was not occupied. Fire Chief John Fenstermacher said
that cause of the fire has not been determined. Adjoining the brick walled structure was the frame building used by Fred C. Reichert
for storage of paints and building material. The firemen kept the fire from spreading to this building and limited the loss to slight
water and smoke damage.
About 8:00 p. m. the firemen from Liberty Fire Company were called out when a wire burned off at the rear of the Hasenauer garage in
the rear of the 400 block of Columbia Street. There was no damage to the garage. The third alarm, caused by the short circuit,
sounded on Tuesday morning.
|The Call of February 5, 1970
$15,000 FIRE DAMAGES IVAN TAYLOR HOME
A fire of undetermined origin caused $15,000 in damages to the Ivan Taylor home on Hickory Street, Schuylkill Haven on Sunday about
8:23 p. m. Fire Chief Carl Feger reports Mr. and Mrs. Taylor and son Chris were at the movies to see the "Molly Maguires" and a
daughter, Beth, 13, was visiting neighbors when the fire broke out. When Beth returned to her home she found the house filled with
smoke. She ran next door to the neighbors, who called the fire department. The three local companies responded to the general
alarm. Firemen removed the overstuffed furniture to the snow covered lawn. It is reported an attempt to have the Taylors paged at
the movies was futile and the family was unaware of the fire until they were finally contacted at a local diner.
The fire was confined to the family room of the modern ranch type home. The one corner of the sofa was completely burned out and
the other overstuffed furniture was said to have burned due to heat radiation. There was extensive damage to the living room as
well as the rest of the home. The Liberty truck remained on the scene until 10:30 p. m.
About three years ago, Mrs. Taylor's sister, who lived in Maizeville, lost her home in a fire which burned out the church adjacent to
her home. The Taylors are staying at the Necho Allen until renovations can be made to their home. The couple also has a daughter
Lisa, who is a freshman at the University of Utah.
|The Call of February 11, 1971
GAS EXPLOSION AT GATEWAY DINER WAITRESS, CUSTOMER CRITICAL, COOK HAS NARROW ESCAPE
Two persons remain in serious condition and several more are listed as fair, all being treated in local hospitals for burns suffered
early Sunday morning in an explosion which blew apart the Gateway Diner on Route 61, north of Schuylkill Haven. State Police Fire
Marshall Edward Gleason said it was a gas explosion which blew off the roof and caused the rear wall of the diner to cave in. Cause
of the blast is still being investigated. Three employees, eight customers and one fireman were injured. Joseph Ferhat, Pottsville,
who operated the diner the past fifteen years, was also admitted to the hospital with chest pains. He was released earlier this week.
In critical condition are Mrs. Geraldine Leskowsky, 33, of 128 West Main Street, Schuylkill Haven, who suffered burns of both legs,
hands, face, neck and left shoulder, Richard Tucci, 33, Schneider's Hotel of Orwigsburg, burns over the entire body. Both are
patients in the Pottsville Hospital. In fair condition are Melvin Hornberger, 32, of 106 North Berne Street, burns of the hands and
face; William Dreher, 30, Schuylkill Haven RD1, burns of the hands and face; Vincent Reichert, 22, Auburn, burns of the hands; David
Temos, 37, East Pen Argyl, burns of the hands and cuts of the leg, all in the Good Samaritan Hospital. Connie Balcavage, 58,
Orwigsburg Hotel, burns of the lower arms, hands and face; Jeanette Gloss, Pottsville, burns of the arms, hands and face, both in the
Pottsville Hospital. Paul Nester, 37, Auburn, who suffered burns of the hands and face, was discharged Monday. Deborah Urffer, 21,
35 East Main Street and Carol Blankenhorn, Schuylkill Haven RD1, both treated for burns of the hands were discharged Sunday
morning. Maurice Umbenhauer, fireman with the Schuylkill Hose Company, Schuylkill Haven, was treated at the Pottsville Hospital for
a puncture wound of the foot sustained when he stepped on a nail.
Mrs. Leskowsky and Mrs. Gloss were waitresses and Balcavage was the cook. According to Balcavage, a native of Minersville, he
was making up orders at the time of the explosion at 4:25 a. m. "There were more customers in the diner than usual for that time on a
Sunday morning," he stated. "I smelled gas and told the waitress that as soon as I had my orders made up, I was going down in to the
basement to check. Bo, am I glad I didn't. I wouldn't be here now," he said.
The blast blew the dishwasher into the grill and blew Balcavage through the wall into the office. He managed to get up and in a daze
walked around looking for the others. He bumped into Mrs. Leskowsky and managed to get her out of the building. "I tried to stand
her up," he said, "but she kept falling down." Mrs. Leskowsky had been standing by the stove when the explosion occurred and
suffered the full effects of the blast. Balcavage, accompanied by a guest at the Gateway Motel located in the rear of the diner, drove
his car around to the front of the diner and went inside into the first booth to try to find any injured. But the dense smoke forced him
back outside. The injured all managed to get outside by themselves and were taken into the state police barracks to await the arrival
of ambulances from Schuylkill Haven and Pottsville.
Temos had parked his propane gas truck in front of th diner and after the explosion ran outside to drive it to safety. The Rainbow,
Liberty and Schuylkill fire trucks responded to the alarm. Firemen report the casing around the external natural gas pipe valve was
clogged with dirt when they got there and had to be dug out. When they arrived they said they saw columns of blue flames coming
up from the corners of the diner towards the highway and from the center of the building.
Balcavage, employed at the diner since July, recalls the accident which occurred the latter part of July when one man was seriously
burned and injured and three others were injured in a 4:15 a. m. accident in front of the diner involving three trucks and one
automobile. Balcavage saw a man in flames running away from the accident.
|The Call of August 5, 1971
FAMILY ESCAPES BURNING HOME GAS EXPLOSION TRIGGERS FIRE
"We thought the hissing we heard was the tire on a truck going flat," was what Mrs. Herbert Kerschner said as she talked about the
events preceding the explosion and fire at the Robert Buck home, 236-238 Columbia Street, Friday about 11:50 p. m. It was truly a
miracle that Mr. and Mrs. Buck and five children, aged five to fourteen years, escaped with only minor injuries when their house
became engulfed in flames following the explosion.
The Kerschners, who live in the home next to the Bucks across Saint James Street, were in their bedroom preparing to go to bed
when they heard the hissing. They listened about ten minutes trying to locate where it was coming from when they saw Buck come
outside and check the gas tanks. A relative, a young boy staying with the Bucks, had smelled the gas and awakened Buck.
Buck had gone back into the house to get a wrench but decided instead to go upstairs and alert the children. He was on the first step
ready to go upstairs when the explosion occurred, lifting the entire house off its foundation and blowing him to the top of the stairs.
At this time, the Kerschners looking out their window saw one of the gas tanks with a trail of flames heading toward their home. The
tank twisted and twirled, landed on the curbing at their home, then into the street where the firemen sprayed it with foam.
DESPITE BROKEN LEG Buck realizing he had a broken leg, crawled from the steps to the front of the home, knocked open a window
through which he put the children out on the roof. Neighbors Jim Evolo, running in his bare feet over the glass covered pavement,
and Wayne "Nipper" Geary ran over and got the children off the roof. Buck was still on the roof when firemen from Liberty Hose
Company across the street, arrived with a ladder and got him down.
When the explosion occurred, Mrs. Buck was downstairs in the living room with the youngest child who was not feeling well. She
was blown through the front door onto the pavement and the child landed in a corner. Mrs. Buck went back in the house to rescue
the child. Firemen from the Liberty, Schuylkill and Rainbow Hose Companies arrived at the scene but were unable to prevent the
flames from destroying the building. Fire Chief Carl Feger said the former two family dwelling which the Bucks had converted into a
single family residence is a total loss. The tinsmith shop of Charles Fenstermacher,adjacent to the Buck home,suffered water damage.
The Schuylkill Haven ambulance took Buck, Mrs. Buck, the youngest child and one of the other boys to the Pottsville Hospital. They
returned from the hospital about 3:00 a. m. at which time neighbors offered to take the family into their homes. The Bucks spent
Friday and Saturday nights with the Kerschners.
The Schuylkill Haven Jaycees rented temporary quarters for the family, an apartment in the North Ward Social Club building on Center
Avenue. On Saturday and Sunday members of the Jaycees and friends assisted the family in moving. Help in the way of clothing,
furniture and household goods was given by many groups and individuals. What is now needed is bedding, towels, washrags and
curtains in addition to money to help the family get a new start. Buck, who is 35, is a truck driver for Mark Yoder.
|The Call of December 4, 1914
FIRE WHISTLE IS A FAILURE
The tests of Saturday evening and Tuesday evening proved beyond a doubt that the present fire alarm whistle is unsuited for fire
alarm purposes. It positively can not be made to work, even though all sorts of methods have been tried. Persons who were on the
job listening for it really didn't think it was the fire alarm whistle. Several railroaders stated that they thought it was a Pennsy freight
stuck in the cut on the outskirts of town. Others claim it sounds like an ordinary fire whistle. Despite the announcement that the
whistle would be tested, the dates and hour being given, many persons became excited when it was blown. Inquiry from neighbors
or the Bell Telephone exchange operator elicited the information that the whistle was being tested and that there was no occasion
Many suggestions have been heard as to an improvement being made in the system. That is, using whistles on different industries.
There are a number of missiles on different local mills and at the P & R car shops that have whistles much louder than the Electric
Light Plant, but the trouble is they do not all have a fireman, engineer or watchman at all periods of the day or night within easy
access to a telephone and the engine room as is the case at the light plant. Therefore we doubt whether a more suitable place could
be secured than its present location. But as for the whistle, it sure should be replaced with a larger one.
The tone of the whistle is never affected on account of an insufficient amount of steam. Steam pressure sufficient to blow half a
dozen steam whistles is always maintained and is necessary to run the engines at the plant. The trouble is that the whistle is not
large enough to take a sufficient amount of steam to produce a good clear and loud tone. The whistle takes a one and a half inch
pipe. To insure it getting all the steam it can take care of a two inch pipe has been connected with it tapered to one and a half inch
diameter, thus making it doubly sure it receives all the steam pressure necessary. The whistle is constricted on the principle of a
trombone. A slide or valve produces the weird or siren tone. When the slide is open its full length the deep tone used as a curfew
whistle is produced. This requires a greater amount of steam than the siren whistle. But a small amount of pressure is required for
the siren and it was never intended by its makers to be used as a fire alarm whistle to arouse a community so widely separated and
covering as large an area as this town. The original tone of the whistle is very weak and the least draft of air wafts the entire tone to
but some sections of town, in the direction in which the wind is blowing. This often has been found to be the case even with the
In comparing the fire alarm whistle of Schuylkill Haven with other nearby towns we believe we have positively the poorest. Take for
instance Cressona. Every time the fire whistle in that town blows it can be distinctly heard in the greater portion of our town,
whether it be in day or at night. Pottsville has a real fire alarm whistle and the same is also generally heard in this town although four
to five miles distant. Orwigsburg and Adamsdale with their several factory whistles call attention to the existence of a fire. Here in
Schuylkill Haven where property of much value is located, property speaking of our factories, if destroyed or damaged will mean
many persons being out of employment for months and perhaps for all time, has but a small siren whistle that can not be heard by
more than one quarter of the population of the town even when it is working at its best.
Outside of the water supply, nothing so important and valuable to the public could be improved on than our fire alarm whistle. Will
our town council take action? That is, take action to procure a more satisfactory whistle, not simply discuss the question and then
vote it down because it may cost some money.
|The Call of May 29, 1914
FIRE SCARE MONDAY
Monday morning about 11:30 o'clock a fire alarm was sent in from the North Ward. Hasty inquiry revealed the fact that the fire was at
Berger's Mill, which immediately caused considerable excitement. However, when the fire companies arrived on the scene they
discovered the fire was at the residence of Daniel Heideway, several doors above Berger's Mill. The fire was confined to the soot in
the chimney and it was unnecessary for the fire companies to render their services. Quite a crowd was attracted to the scene. The
damage was very slight, almost the entire fire department of the town arrived on the scene. Their services were not required.
|The Call of September 10, 1892
FIRE LAST WEEK
In the early dawn of last Saturday about the time that our inhabitants were awakening from the quiet slumber of the night the startling
cry of "fire" rang through our midst with the ringing of bells and the blowing of whistles. Joseph Myers' house had caught on fire.
The Schuylkill Hose Company was immediately upon the scene and in a very short time had the flames under control. The Rainbow
boys were there and deserve great credit for their promptness. The real cause of the fire is unknown. The loss sustained will
amount to about fifty dollars.
|Miners Journal of January 22, 1953
FIRE DAMAGE PREVENTED
Last evening about ten o'clock, an Irishman had kindled a fire in the large stable attached to the Washington Hall hotel, but the light
being seen by someone passing by, the fire was extinguished without doing any damage, which must have been serious had it not
been discovered. The man was sent to Colonel Krebs, the keeper of the prison, who will take good care of him for the present. He
alleges that his intention was merely to warm himself and make his night's lodging.
|The Call of October 25, 1901
BLAZE NARROWLY AVERTED
Last Sunday what would have undoubtedly proved a serious conflagration was narrowly averted. Some little boys while at play in the
alley in the rear of the Ehman residence on Dock Street set fire to a pile of papers. Piled against the Ehman stable was a large
quantity of straw to which the flames had just communicated when Charles Huey and Daniel Wagner, who were passing through the
alley, saw the grave danger and by quick, hard work, extinguished the flames. Had it not been for the fortunate appearance of these
gentlemen on the scene it is probable that we might now be chronicling one oft he worst fires that ever visited Schuylkill Haven.
|The Call of April 12, 1901
BANQUETED THE LADIES
The Rainbow Hose Company last night tendered a banquet to the ladies who so kindly assisted them in their recent fair. The event
took place in the hose house in Spring Garden and was attended by about two hundred people. The opening feature of the program
was an address by A. A. Hesser, in which he recited a brief history of the organization. Later the guests gathered around the festive
board which was loaded with all the delicacies of the season. The luncheon was wholly prepared by the members of the company,
who also acted as waiters at the tables. After the cravings of the inner man had been satisfied, dancing was indulged in and
continued up to a late hour. Roeder's Mandolin and Guitar Club and Eiler's Orchestra furnished the music for the evening. The affair
was pronounced one of the most successful events of this kind ever held in the borough.
|The Call of February 1, 1901
DESTRUCTIVE BLAZE LAST FRIDAY NIGHT
Last Friday evening shortly after six o'clock, the heavens for miles around were illuminated, caused by a fire which completely
destroyed the large barn, pig sty and several other small frame buildings at Adam Imboden's Half Way House, about a mile and a half
east of this place on the road leading to Orwigsburg. The fire started in the barn and the flames, fanned by a stiff breeze, soon
communicated to the other buildings which were rapidly consumed. The livestock was saved but the season's crops from a 200 acre
farm and many farm implements went up in smoke. There were no facilities for fighting the flames, and only the hard work of a small
bucket brigade saved a nearby frame warehouse from destruction. The barn was the property of Thomas Kearns, the well known
Pottsville contractor. The loss will amount to $8,000, which is partly covered by insurance. The origin of the fire is unknown. The
incident caused great excitement here and crowds of townspeople flocked to the scene of the conflagration.
|The Call of August 17, 1900
TIMELY DISCOVERY OF BLAZE
A serious conflagration was narrowly averted in town last evening by the early discovery of the blaze. An electric lamp in Meck and
Coldren's Knitting Mill set fire to a piece of cotton waste, which held the lamp in position near the wooden partition of the building.
The burning goods set the woodwork on fire, which was burning quite lively when discovered by Milton Berger, who was sitting on
the porch of his home opposite the mill. The use of several buckets of water extinguished the blaze. The fire occurred about 6:30
o'clock, while no one was in the building.
|Miners Journal of October 12, 1875
ALMOST A CONFLAGRATION
Last evening about six o'clock a leaf basket, suspended over a large looking glass in the rooms of Henry S. Deibert at Schuylkill
Haven, fell from its place on a lamp. Almost instantly the gauze, leaves, etc., were in a blaze, and had it not been for the presence of
mind of Mr. Deibert and his neighbor, Captain Helms, a severe catastrophe might have happened to our neighboring borough. They
rushed in and succeeded in smothering the fire without much loss to the owner and without causing any alarm.
|Miners Journal of November 13, 1875
FIRE AT SCHUYLKILL HAVEN
The Schuylkill Haven mill has been idle for some time. Yesterday about four o'clock, Mr. Medlar started a fire in one of the smith's
forges for some purpose, and then started up into the town. He hadn't gone a great ways before his attention was directed to the
mill, which appeared to be on fire. And so it was. Sparks had kindled the rafters and quite a fire was raging. Owingh to the prompt
arrival of the chain factory men and the fact that there was a slate roof above, the fire did not go far. The timbers were charred and
some little damage was done by men, who tore off part of the roof to get at the fire.