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On This Day in History - April 19th, 1995
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By New Kingstown Fire Co.
April 19, 2024

On April 19, 1995 at 09:02 hours the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building took place in Oklahoma City.

Just over an hour later at 10:05, fire crews from Silver Spring Township and surrounding areas were sent to the Hall Mansion off RT114 for a building fire. Engine 233 (1983 GMC/Darley) and Brush 33 (1976 Dodge/Keyser) responded from Co. 33, both units were driver only. Chief 33 (James Hall) responded and reported a large column in the area. E233 arrived at the dirt lane access off RT114 and picked up two firefighters from Co. 33 who responded to the scene and made access back the narrow, dirt, rough road followed by the Brush. Chief 33 reported a working fire in the 165’ tower and surrounding 33,000 square foot “mansion” style residence. E233 dropped the 5” supply line at an on-site pond and proceeded past the involved building taking a position to protect the unburned structures. The fire was well advanced. Crews pulled the 2 ½” preconnect and additional 3” line to extend to the portable master stream to protect a large 50 car garage (yes 50 cars). Due to units that failed to respond, water supply was a serious issue and the 1500 gallon booster tank on E233 was quickly exhausted. Crews were ordered to back out and remove all hose lines as the remaining buildings became involved. Brush 33 worked a large area of grass and overgrown area that was also involved. Additional crews from Mechanicsburg, Hampden, Monroe, and others arrived, as well as Squad 33 (1970 Dodge/Swab) and Tanker 33 (1993 Autocar/Walker). Truck 30 was set up and supplied by E233 and Truck 28 was set up near the tower portion of the structure. After water supply was established, crews battled the spectacular blaze for several hours before it was brought under control at 13:15. The last units cleared the scene at 17:56 hours, just short of 8 hours after dispatch. A small portion of the sprawling complex was saved as crews managed to hold the fire from extending to just one section of the complex. This blaze went to several alarms as daylight crews were taxed, several apparatus failed to respond due to manpower problems or arrived with light crews.

The Hall Mansion was built on a 16.5 acre property in the 1960’s by businessman John P. Hall, former owner of Hall’s Trucking, in a medieval castle style. Mr. Hall went bankrupt and the property including the tower was never finished. The property had recently been sold however the deal was not to be made until the following week. The sale never went through due to the fire. The home at the time was owned by U.S. Bankruptcy Court. The tower had been in the news the prior month when a 22 year old from Mt Holly fell to his death down the tower elevator shaft.

Hose Used:
500’ 1 ¾”
400’ 2 ½”
800’ 3”
1750’ 5”

Manpower – 20 personnel

This fire drew a slew of spectators due to it being close to I81 and RT114. The New Kingstown Fire Co. is looking for pictures of this incident that local residents may have. The Evening Sentinel reported that a neighbor, Shawn Fitzgerald videotaped the fire. If anyone knows his whereabouts, have him contact Chief Curtis Hall at 717-766-4033

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