On this date…50 years ago…on Saturday night August 25, 1973 at 10:21 PM, Box 16 was pulled for the intersection of Pomfret and Spring Garden Streets
By Union Fire Company No.1
August 25, 2023

The Cumberland, Union, and Empire Fire Companies responded.
Assistant Foremen John Sheaffer of the Cumberland Fire Company exited his home on Porter Ave and witnessed the largest glow he ever saw for a fire in town. The whole sky was red in the southeast end of town. The Carlisle Fertilizer Plant was off. The huge building was fully involved. The power and communication lines, poles, and trees lining Spring Garden Street were all burning near the building.
The Cumberland arrived first. The engine was driven by Dick Shughart who was covering temporarily for Fred Keppley who went to the House of Pizza(?) for something to eat. The Cumberland hit the hydrant at Pomfret Street and Spring Garden and layed a single 2.5” line to the scene. Upon stopping at the scene, it was obvious this was a fire requiring a lot of water and the engine was turned around and reversed layed a 2.5” line back to the hydrant. They sleeved the hydrant that was on a 12” main.
The Union engine driven by Charlie Boyles grabbed the hydrant at Spring Garden and High and layed a single 2.5” line to the scene. They parked there for the duration.
The Empire Ladder Truck took up a position near the Union engine.
A “general alarm” was requested for Carlisle which brought the Good Will and Friendship Companies. The Good Will was assigned to lay a second 2.5” line from Spring Garden and High to the Union engine, then return to the hydrant and feed the Union. There were several hose bursts in this lay which caused a water shortage to the Union engine. The Friendship engine was sent to Letort Park and assigned to lay lines to the scene, then draft from the Letort.
I do not recall who was driving the apparatus other than the Cumberland and Union.
The Cumberland’s second engine (Ahrens Fox) was then dispatched to respond to the Letort Park and lay a 3” line to the Union engine. The Fox was driven by John Sheaffer Sr.. The line was charged to the Union engine, but the Union driver had attached the 3” line into the side soft sleeve and failed to open the valve. When the head pressure built up, it blew the soft sleeve off the engine.
The fire was finally contained (similar to a very large barn fire). The Cumberland departed the scene mid-morning after daybreak. They remained on the scene handling hot spots and later washing debris from Spring Garden Street so it could be reopened.
This was the same day as the Cumberland Valley Fireman’s Convention Parade in Chambersburg. Co. 40 participated in this parade. Cumberland County Rescue 18 (Citizens, Enola) was returning from the parade and detoured to the fire and provided additional lighting at the scene.

Pics of the current day location also added.

Borough Fire Chiefs:

Chief 3 Bill Alwood
Chief 3A Mutt Eppley
Chief 3A Mutt Eppley
Chief 3B John Ward
Chief (Foreman) 40 Fred Keppley
Chief (Foreman) 41 Charlie Boyles
Chief (Foreman) 42 Gary Nicholson
Chief (Foreman) 43 David Boyles
Chief (Foreman) 44 Herb Coyle
Cumberland 1970 American LaFrance 1000 GPM
1947 Ahrens Fox 1000 GPM
Union 1961 American LaFrance 1000 GPM
Friendship 1953 Peter Pirsch 750 GPM
Good Will 1963 Mack 1000 GPM
Empire 1953 American LaFrance 75’ Aerial