Franklin County














Station 1 - 29 South Potomac Street

Station 2 - 10 Virginia Avenue



"The Big One"

1900 - 2010



The Wolf Building Fire

March 02,1900 - On a cold and windy Friday, a massive fire tested both volunteer fire companies. A fire in the three story Wolf building destroyed 26-28-30 East Main Street and damaged 23,38,40 and 42. The Silsby Steamer pumped for six hours, and cracked in the boiler that put in in the shop for weeks.



4-36 East Main Street, Waynesboro, as depicted by W. W. Denslow in "Historical Sketch of Franklin County" (1878). The 1900 fire which destroyed the Wolff Block heavily damaged this building. In its reconstructed form, it now houses Zoe's Chocolates.


June 6, 1917 Hail storm - Knott Steamer pumping basement first

block of South Church Street.


December 17,1924  -  58-68 West Main Street - Fire and explosion in the "Sanitary Lunch" This fire took out almost one full block. The Sanitary Lunch and James Babies Shoes and Shoe repair were total losses. The Goodwill Fire Company (Chambersburg) and First Hose (Hagerstown MD) came to assist.


June 02,1928 - Mechanics Steam Fire Engine & Hose Company #1 Take best appearing steamer with the Silby Steam Pumper. At the Eagle Fire Company number  2 (Hanover PA) 25th anniversary.



(South Broad Street)


August 21,1940 at 12:55 in the morning, a fire started from a welder torch spread quickly through The Geiser Manufacturing plant and complex. It destroyed the plant that cover the about four square blocks of Waynesboro. The glow of the fire could be seen for miles. The only building to survive was office on the north west corner of Walnut Street and East Second Street.




January 19, 1930 - The Wayne Building Fire - 94 West Main Street and Potomac Street. The fire was discover near the bake ovens in the Bon Ton Bakery, 14 Business were destroyed in the blaze.

Firemen were hampered by the cold weather and the lack of fire gear. Most of the firemen did not have fire coats or fire helmets. Five residents were rescue by ladders. The borough allowed the firemen to use the trolley cars to keep warm. The owner rebuilt the new four story building with steel and concrete.


The business were: Bon Ton Bakery, FM Reynolds's Music, J.H. Bower, Karns Photographer, Pryor Tire Shop, Conella Clayton, Blair's Drug Store, J.A. Strite, J.C. Blood Shoe Shop, Cleman Lohman Dentist, Krep's Printing, Fraternal Home Insurance, Girl Scouts, Kindergarten, the Baby Clinic and Shockey & Miller.


January 16,1940 the King Warehouse and Apartment building fire.


1946 - The Always There Hook and Ladder Company Number 1, Band and Drill Team in Frederick Maryland with 50 members marching and playing in the band.


1946 - The Always There Hook and Ladder Company Number 1,Drill Team in Greencastle for the "Old Home Week" parade.


March 06, 1948 - Firemen from Blue Ridge Summit, Fort Ritchie and Waynesboro battle a barracks fire on Fort Ritchie.

January 13, 1949 at 4:30 AM - The Brake Pontiac Garage on South Potomac Street was a total loss at an estimated value of $100,000.00. Firemen were almost trapped when a wall blew out.


August 13,1949 car fire in the 300 block of Fairview Avenue (1927 LaFrance)



June 21, 1953 at 3:15 AM - Three houses were destroyed by fire on Mulberry Street in Waynesboro.



Still serving today!


May 09,1954 Sunday - Presbyterian Church of Waynesboro - 105 East Main Street - Basement fire under the alter spread into the walls. Every ladder was used off of the A.T.H. & L. 1927 City Service Truck and hose came off all three of the Mechanics Mack's.


February 13, 1955 - Double fatal house fire at 419 West Fifth Street in Waynesboro. Mr. James Monn and his housekeeper were killed.


( Photo by W.J. Davis - Record Harald )


January 03,1956 at 11:50 PM - West Main Street Emmert Manufacturing - General Alarm Fire - The fire did $80,000.00 damage to building and $10,000.00 damage to the Western Maryland Railroad Building next door. This was first fire for the new ladder truck. Borough Policeman and Mechanics volunteer Ray T. Waltz manning the ladder pipe. It took three hours to bring the fire under control. Over 150 volunteers from Waynesboro manned 5 hose and used three fire hydrants.

August 01,1963 - Fire damages Spangle Mill Bridge


March 19,1965 - A gas stove explosion left 15 people homeless at the corner of South Church Street and Gay Street in Waynesboro.


February 11, 1956 - Merle Benchoff Fire - West Second Street - Donald Ringer
operator on the turntable of the 1955 Mack, the other fireman on the ladder was Alton Potts. In the cab was Jim Sanders. The Ladder truck and firemen were creited with saving the house and the block.


March 27,1965 - On a windy Saturday morning the Rosemount Hotel in Pen Mar burnt to the ground. It was owned by Randolph Debrick. The was started by a space heater in an attached workshop. Firemen were hampered by 50 MPH winds and a lack of water. Firemen from Blue Ridge Summit, Fort Ritchie, Waynesboro, Greencastle and Mont Alto battled the blaze until night fall.



November 21, 1966 about 12:30AM - Hazardous Materials Incident - Train derailment. Two railroad cars loaded with petroleum naphtha exploded and burnt. The car were among the eleven that derailed that morning. The newspaper report that sky was lit up that read a newspaper when the tank car carrying flammable liquid blew up on the Western Maryland Railroad tracks in Waynescastle.

January 25,1968 at 8:10 AM - A hard fought fire at  Mathias Restaurant and Tavern on  Ridge Avenue, lead to the Mechanics' Lieutenant C. Nevin Barnhart rescuing Mr. A.S. Kennel from a burning up stairs apartment. The weather was biter cold about -8F degrees. The department's medal of valor is named after "Barney". He insisted that "Every man there deserves credit. anyone here would have done the same". They drafted water out of the basement and reused on the fire. The building was a total loss. Mathias' was rebuilt and still servicing some of the best food in town.




February 1968 - Anthony Highway South of Waynesboro.





August 1969 - The Colonial Fair Department Store Fire - This building was saved and now has a Mexican restaurant, Beck and Benedict Hardware Store, Gold's Gym, and hosts live blue grass music on the weekends. The color photos were taken by Joe Mackely.


December 07, 1969 at 02:00 hours - Waynesboro Ladder Truck assisted Rescue Hose Company Greencastle at the Sunnyway Foods fire.


December 28,1969 - Explosion and Fire at Archie Varner's Service Station - 302 East Main Street


May 22,1970 - West Main Street at the Owls Club - A quick attack with proper ventilation saved the building.



March 26, 1971 at 5:17 PM - 126 North Church Street in Waynesboro. The dwelling fire was started by a plumber's torch. The last unit cleared the scene at 7:30 PM. No injuries were reported.


July 11, 1972 - A crane is being used to lift a Valley Transit Company truck that over turned at a home construction site at Shriner's Knob, off Mentzer Gap Road. The driver was not hurt but the truck was a total loss due to the hardening of the concrete and the chassis was badly damaged.

Photo by Raymond Thompson.







June  28, 1973 - Sherman's Ladies Ware Department Store - 23 West Main Street - Two unidentified women discovered the blaze about 1:15 PM, while window-shopping. The manager said that he left the store just 15 minutes before the alarm was sounded. The store was regularly close on Thursdays so there was no one in the story at the time of the fire. The firemen were met by flames from both the main store and the back delivery doors. The fire quickly ate through the ceiling into the second and third floor of unoccupied apartments. During a fire inspection a year prier to the fire, Fire Chief Ken Lemmon said that no one was living in the appartments then due to the condition of the building. There was considerable damage to Christian Light Book Store, Kaiser's TV Sales and the newly opened Potpourri Store. Firemen were hampered by the stairwells being boarded up and many of the second and third floor doors being pad locked. It took about three hours to bring the fire under control. About 200 firemen from Mont Alto, Greencastle, Blue Ridge Summit, South Mountain, and Hagerstown Maryland were brought in to battle the blaze. Frick Company, Landis Tool Company, Wayne Tool, Machine Company and Grove Cranes excused the volunteer firemen from shops. Over 15 pieces of fire equipment were on the scene including Western Enterprise's ladder truck and the Franklin County Civil Defense air compressor truck.  Fireman Richard Betts was taken to the Waynesboro Hospital by the ATH&L ambulance for a bad cut to the tip of his thumb. Several firemen were treated for heat exhaustion and a little smoke in the lungs. The PA State Police Fire Marshal was brought in for the investigation. As the story goes, The owner reported that a bird may have flown into the store and drop a cigarette in to a trash can.  The First National Bank of Waynesboro bought the damaged properties for a parking and a addition to the bank.Waynesboro had a engine and men on the scene until late the next morning.




December 22, 1973 - The White Swan Hotel and Tavern fire was a stubborn fire to fight in the cold weather.

The law office of Robert P. Shoemaker was burnt out from a fire that started in the basement. Six firemen were hurt fighting this fire. Tom Smith, Tom Rollins and Ray T. Waltz suffered smoke inhalation. James Valentine cut his finger and Fire Chief Ken Lemmon had a rusty nail puncture his right boot and foot. And one of the fireman did not want his name in the paper. All of the firemen were treated at the Waynesboro Hospital. Rescue Hose Company covered the South Potomac Street station and Mont Alto transferred to Virginia Avenue fire hall. The building was 184 years old at the time of the fire.










Fairview Avenue Elementary School fire

October 04, 1974 - A student set a fire in the coat room shown above. It took the  students and teachers 40 seconds to evacuate the school. The fire got into a common roof, the entire school received damage. The school was razed and students used local churches until the school could be rebuilt. The pull station that sounded the alarm and one of the fire alarm bells is in the day room at South Potomac Street Fire Station.



April 11, 1975 - Barn Fire at the Daniel Petre farm in Five Forks. The hay had to be removed to save the structure. The barn was need a new roof but was for teh most part saved.


July 1976 - Engine 2-3  at the first Pennsylvania Pump Primer Harrisburg PA





The Anthony Wayne Hotel Fire

December 03, 1976  at 2:30 AM- The Anthony Wayne Hotel Fire. Firefighter nearly did not make it out when the roof collapsed, bring the hotel sign crashing on to the forth floor. The crew from the city of Hagerstown was credited with keeping the fire at bay with a back-up line until additional 2 1/2 lines could be brought to the fire floor. This building has been restored ( less half the forth floor) and is now a extended living complex. It also has automatic detection, pull stations and stand pipe for fire protection. The investigators said the fuse (opposite the arrow) caught fire in a fourth floor electrical panel. The fire was under control at 6:30 AM. There was not major injuries to firefighters or residents. The loss was list as $80,000.00. During this fire there was a dwelling fire two houses from Renfrew Park on East Main Street. The 1950 Mack did a U-turn around the Christmas tree in the square and the engine from Blue Ridge Mountain Volunteer Fire Company stopped at the scene to assist.


April 17,1977  at  2:13 AM- First Assistant Chief Ray T. Waltz helps Sue Patterson of Fairview (Quincy Twp) after fire gutted their home. She and her children, Windy 2 years old and Timmy four months, escaped and were not injured.   


July 1977 - Waynesboro Fire Department takes home two second place trophies at the Second PA Pump Primers in Harrisburg. The first was Arena Pumping and the other was in the Bucket Brigade

Kneeling - Terry Huff, Doug Robson, Robert Reynolds. Standing - Ronnie Rohrbaugh, James Poper, Jerry Hartman, Rick Mitchell, George Bailey and Allen Brake.



December 30, 1977 - Fatal house fire at the corner of East Main Street and Walnut Street. Hagerstown City's truck 1 assisted on the call.


March 5, 1978 - 253 South Church Street in Waynesboro - Working dwelling fire six resident were saved by Waynesboro firefighters. A 72 year old woman lost her life in the fire.


August 13, 1978 at 5:03 AM - Fire destroys "Hot Dog Stand" Waynesboro R.D. 2 ( Buchanan Trail East and Cold Springs Road) The fire was set to cover up a break-in. For 30 years the Sprenkle's supplied Waynesboro with the best home made root beer, hot dogs and steamers.


December 23, 1978 at 11:48 - House Fire - Working fire on the second floor. A mother and her two children were displaced. Estimated damage was $6000.00.

March 12,1979 - Fire causes heavy damage to the home of Dennis Bingaman at the intersection of Honodal and Iron Bridge Roads in Washington Township. Greencastle and Leitersburg assisted on the fire.



August 24,1979 at 11:00 PM - as part of the Cumberland Valley Fire Volunteer Fireman's Association's 78th annual convention & WFD's 100th anniversary hosted a Shirt tail parade.



August 25,1979 - CVVFA Grand parade - The Rescue Hose Company - Greencastle PA.  Won the oldest hand pumper and best appearing antique


August 25,1979 - CVVFA Grand parade - Halfway MD won the Best Truck


 WFD's 100th anniversary float


WFD Fundraiser





June 7, 1980 at 16:10 - Hazardous Materials Incident - Box 2-17  just off of Fort Stouffer Road in Quincy Twp. Fourteen cars of a 90 car train came off the tracks carrying coal, paper, steel bars, yellow phosphorus residue and propylene.  Three Waynesboro firefighters were injured when they removed the cover on the phosphorus car. Firefighters Ray T. Waltz Jr (Rusty), Colby F. Decker and William J. Cook were treated at the Waynesboro Hospital for burns. Their gear had to be destroyed. Over two million gallons of water was hauled to the scene from Waynesboro and Greencastle. The incident lasted for three days.

October 6, 1980 - A blaze destroyed the Buchanan Trail East home of Paul Williams


March 1981 - The Progress Fire Company - Susquehanna Township  - Tower 32 - Demos the MACK Aerialscope for the ladder truck replacement committee and town fathers.

August 3, 1981 approximately 10 AM - Barn Fire on the Ridge View Fruit Farm - 11105 Buchanan Trail East. The barn and most of farm equipment was lost, But no livestock was lost. Firefighters from Waynesboro, Blue Ridge Summit and Fort Ritchie were on the scene for over two hours.


August 10, 1981 at 4 PM - Burning trash sparks shed fire - 5803 Tick Ridge Road.




October 1981 - 123 Harrison Avenue at King Street - Garage fire with extension in the house. The fire started from ashes left in a cardboard box.

February 2, 1982 at 4:40 AM - Assisting on the 4 box - Working house fire with burn patients. 12862 Old Route 16 in Washington Township. Two brothers were seriously. Tanker 2-12 had 13 personal on board -

4 in the cab,3 in the hose bed and 6 on the tailboard.


1982 - The Mack Aerial scope first use was at Beck & Benedict's Hardware Store 86 West Main Street.


October 16, 1982 - A Ford Bronco slammed into a parked tractor trailer.


December 30, 1982 - House fire 33 Penn Street in Waynesboro.

Car fire in front of Borough Hall




Vehicle Crash Welty Road in Washington Township

June 20, 1983 at 12:28 PM - Fire in storage building - To the rear of Harold's Gun Shop. First reports were that there was black gun powder in the building. Crew made a quick knock down! It was later discovered that the space was rented out Hull Boating supplies and that boxes stored to close to a light caused the fire. There was no gun powder in the building. Waynesboro firefighters were on the scene just over a hour.


September 1983 - Silo Collapse Wayne Highway on the farm of Jay Fry. One man was killed and another was seriously injured.



September 26, 1985 at 4:14 AM - Paul Stouffer Lawn Mower Shop - Walnut Street and East Second Street.

Fire Chief Terry Reiber said that firefighters faced a number of problem at the fire, first the number of lawn mowers, engines and parts. There were minor explosions from the stored oil, gasoline and the magnesium.

The exposures on the north and south sides of the fire building were scorched. It took 20 minutes to bring the fire under control, but units remained on the scene until 6:15 AM hitting hot spots and cleaning up.


November 1985 - This was the first time the 1964 open cab C-Model Mack was taken off the the paved road. Career Driver Operator  C. Nevin Barnhart was criticized for his actions. He simply replied "There was a job to do, I did it!"

January 25, 1986 just before 10 AM - The Mountain Inn and Bar Fire 14131 Buchanan Trail East in Blue Ridge Summit. An explosion occurred when the owner Sue Wagaman tried to light a kerosene heater. She was treated at the Waynesboro Hospital for smoke inhalation and burns, later transferred to Walter Reed Medical Center


October 04, 1986 - Engine 2-3 and crew traveled to Washington DC and brought home three awards from the Fifth Annual Firefighter's Parade & Muster. First place for Longest Distance Traveled under own power. Second Place for Drafting Contest for a centrifugal pumper, and forth place Best Appearing Antique.


Left to Right - Terry Reiber (Fire Chief), Arley Scott, Don Ringer, Ray Waltz Sr.( Mechanic's President) and Gary Summers


( Photo by Sid Miller )

October 12,1986 at 22:58 hours - Barn Fire on Lyons Road in Washington Township. The barn was owned by Dr. Michael Brown of Waynesboro. The barn was a total loss and there were no injuries. The fire was caused by controlled trash burning on the property earlier that evening. Units were on the scene until after midnight.




August 08, 1987 - Cumberland Valley Volunteer Firemen's Convention - Shirt Parade

8000 to 10,000 people jammed Main Street to watch and get wet !





April 24,1988 - House fire with entrapment - 12080 Poketown Road, Washington Township - Box 2-30. Jody Sander found Mr. Joseph Phenicie and was assisted by Robert Rowe Sr., George "Tinker" Rowe, Ed Biesecker, and Coby Decker.




August 08,1988  about 10:30 AM - Antrim Faith Baptist Church - South Potomac Street. A roofer's torch caused the fire that burnt the roof off of the main chapel. The fire had spread through out the false ceilings before the arrival of the fire department. Aggressive truck work saved many of the church belonging, even some of the pews were saved. The tower and rescue squads crews used almost all of the department's salvage covers. Engine Company Captain Gary Summers was injured when he was struck by part of the roof when it collapsed. He was able to get his crew out of the chapel just before the collapse. He was treated and release from the Waynesboro Hospital. The last unit left at 3:15 PM













November 19, 1988 - Frick Company Office and Pattern Warehouse Building Fire. Four separate fires in two attached building, with many renovations and drop ceiling sent it fire to nine alarms.



March 26, 1989 - Garage Fire on Fairview Avenue


June 11, 1990 at 17:10 hours -100 CV Avenue in Waynesboro - Dumpster fire next to a building - Upon arrival unit found the Frick Research Building on fire. Fire Chief Don Ringer called for a second alarm due to size of the building and that there were hazardous materials in the building. The Freon and ammonia was not in the area of the fire. The fire was under control within 20 minutes.



March 30,1992 - Shortly before 5 PM - 11008 Old Forge Road at the home of Robert Reynolds, life member of the Mechanics Hose Company. The fire that started in the garage caused $15,000.00 damage. There were no injuries.

September 04, 1993 - Tower 2 at ISP Fire - Adams County








August 16, 1994 at 17:30 hours - Plane Crash - 152 South Potomac Street in Waynesboro. Four people were killed when a twin engine 320 Cessna crashed into a house on South Potomac Street. There was two people in the house and two in the plane. There was 150+ Firefighters,15 EMS providers,20 Police Officers, 60 Fire-Police, Local EMA was staffed with seven,4 people from State EMA, 5 from the Franklin County Corner's office, 2 C.I.S.D team members, The NTSB have a three person team, 2 people from FAA and the Lieutenant Governor were on the scene. About 23:30 hours the scene was declared under control, at time the incident became a  accident investigation. The fire department remained on the scene unit 17:30 hours on August 17th. The investigation took over four months and was ruled engine trouble.


December 09, 1994 - Tower 2 operating at the Ollie's Fire on Lincoln Way East.


February 18, 1995 - Saint Paul's United Methodist Church Fire - Second Street Chambersburg - Six million dollar fire loss. Tower 2 operating on side 4.

March 27,1995 at 19:05 hours - Working Fire -"The Bakery"  27 East Main Street in Waynesboro.  Box 2-01. 

The fire was cause by discarded smoking materials in a plastic trash can. The fire was knocked down in less than ten minutes, but still caused $2500.00 damage.



August 17,1996 at 09:10 Hours - Newcomer's Truck Parts - Nunnery Road - Box 2-17 in Quincy Twp.

The building was filled with vehicle upholstery and vehicle parts. An employee was using a cut torch when the vehicle exploded. The employee was uninjured. One firefighter was treated for exhaustion. It was estimated that the height of the fire, over 3000 gallons of water a minute were being used to protect the Office and other warehouse. Ten other local fire departments assisted with the all day operation. Assistant Fire Chief Gary Summers released the last unit at 14:35 Hours.


January 15, 1997 at 04:46 hours - Wayne Highway south of Prices Church Road - The driver of a pick-up hit and was wedged under a 45 foot trailer loaded with lumber. The impact broke the king pin off the fifth wheel.  Washington Township police believe that the accident happened around 3 AM, but was not reported until 4:46. Special request for Rescue Squad 40 from Blue Ridge Summit and a fork lift from Frick Company to unload the trailer was made within minutes of arrival. It took just about a hour to free the driver the was flown by Maryland State Police Helicopter to Washington County Hospital.


June 15, 1997 at 19:56 hours - 721 South Church Street in Waynesboro. This fire was in the home of long time member Mark Dale. Six pets were rescued. The fire was caused by a malfunction in the stove.

January 17, 1997 at 21:00 hours - Working house fire with entrapment - Box 2-70 - 234 South Landis Avenue in Washington Township. The first to arrive was Assistant Chief Gary Summers and reported dark brown smoke puffing from under the door and the front window rattling and that he had a backdraft situation. The building was not opened up until two positive pressure ventilation fans were running and hose lines in place. Windows on the other end of the fire room were open at the same time entry was made, with the back to back fans blowing. As the hose team knock down the fire, the first rescue crew did a right hand search and found the badly burnt body of Mrs. Garver. At the same time the second rescue crew did a left handed search and found Mr. H. Lane Garver. He was transfer to the waiting ambulance and medic 2 crew. He was later transfer to University of Maryland Stock trauma Burn center. When the house was ventilated steam hit the 9 degree weather outside and put coating of ice on the side 4 porch, Truck Company Captain Jody Sanders fall and broke his left leg in two places and was transported to the Waynesboro hospital. He had to have surgery to have pins, screws and plates installed to fix the fractures. The State Police Fire Marshal, Washington Township police ruled that fire accidental. The Franklin County Coroner Ken Piffer Jr. listed the cause of death as asphyxiation and burns. The rescue crews earned the department's medal of valor, while the attack and vent crews earned a unit commendation. Mr. Garver made a full recovery and visited the firefighters at fire station to thank everyone involved.



December 21,1997 - The caretaker's house at the Waynesboro water treatment plant on Rattlesnake Run Road in Quincy Township. The fire was cause by a extension cord.  Crews had a tuff time making the fire floor, until the tower crew opened the house up!



February 11, 1998 - Dwelling Fire - 7903 Lyons Road in Washington Township.




July 16, 1999 - Working house fire with entrappment at North Grant Street and West North Street in Waynesboro. Crews rescue a father and two children from third floor apparatment. The occupents were exit was cut off by the fire and Tower 2's crew made a rescue from the third store window,



May 07, 2004 - Hazardous Materials Incident  - West Main Street in the West Branch of the Anthem Stream.

500 - 700 gallons of a mixture of used motor oil, anti-freeze, and solvents was leaked into the West Branch of the Anthem Stream when some tried to steal a large steel tank from the rear of the old Martin's Tire Shop. The materials were found as far as the Potomac River in Williamsport MD. The Waynesboro EMA, Washington Twp EMA, Franklin County EMA, PA State EMA, PA D.E.P., Washington County MD DNR, the Cumberland County PA and Washington County  Hazardous Material Teams, Waynesboro Ambulance Squad, Engine Companies From Mont Alto, Rescue Hose Company -Greencastle, Leitersburg MD, Smithsburg MD, Maugensville MD assisted on the scene. Because the materials entered  navigable waterway the United State Coast Guard was called for the Incident. It took over 200 feet of oil boom to contain about 75% of the material. The incident lasted over a week, but the fire departments operations was over in just under three days.



May 17, 2003 at 04:18 hours -  2 Alarm House fire with exposures - 500 Block of West Main Street in Waynesboro. Box 2-01 - The original house and the side 4 exposure were damaged beyond repair. A firefighter called a May-Day when his leg went through the floor, He was assisted the Longmeadow's Truck Crew (WC Truck 27) He had only minor injuries. Units cleared the scene just after 08:00 hours.


April 26, 2005 - Tower 2 in Operation at a single family dwelling fire in Blue Ridge Summit's first due on Hearthwood


2005 - Tower 2 first use on a call was on a 4-01 box Pennersville Rd in Washington Twp.



Sept. 24, 2005  House fire - Box 2-01 - 210 Park Street in Waynesboro.







(Photos by Robert Rosensteel Jr.)

October 07, 2005 at  06:30 hours - Dwelling Fire / explosion Box 2-50A - 8010 Mentzer Gap Road


Explosion destroys house - By Jennifer Fitch The Record Herald

TOMSTOWN - As Ronald and Maxine Barnes ate breakfast at 6:30 this morning, they heard a noise that was quickly followed by a large explosion in the basement of their home at 8010 Mentzer Gap Road. When Ronald Barnes opened the basement door, flames singed his hair.
He slammed the door shut and fled with his wife through the back door of their ranch-style home.
Outside, they discovered bricks from the entire back wall blown out onto the lawn and shards of glass scattered on the grass. Flames roared inside the basement and soon spilled out the windows. The window screens had been thrown 40 feet by the blast.

As Waynesboro Volunteer Fire Department crews battled the blaze and the exploding power lines that ran from the house to the main lines along the road, firefighters quickly found themselves short on water. Two hours after the fire started, flames were still spilling from the home as fire officials drew water from a number of hydrants in Waynesboro and called for tanker trucks from Franklin, Adams, Washington and Frederick counties.

Quincy Township, where the house is located, has no public water system, and homeowners rely on wells and cisterns. The lack of rain in recent months has affected water supplies. Firefighters later stopped using water altogether and switched to compressed air foam. The foam causes wood to absorb water twice as fast.

"It was a defensive operation," said Gary Summers, Waynesboro's deputy fire chief and operations officer, detailing how firefighters were prevented from entering the house. They could not enter, he noted, because they did not know the cause of the explosion and because the home no longer safe to enter, due to the blast that damaging load bearing walls.

Officials called for the Pennsylvania State Police fire marshal to investigate the cause of the explosion. By press time, he was still not able to enter the house.

Waynesboro Fire Chief Ron Flegel estimated firefighters would be on the scene until lunchtime.

By 7:30 this morning, flames were shooting from a window high on the home.

When the fire ignited nearby power lines, the lines began to crackle, spark and explode. Firefighters cordoned off the area with caution tape, fearing the electricity would travel through the water they were using to put out the fire and injure the people gathered at the scene.
Allegheny Power crews turned off the electricity to the house at 8:18 a.m. According to Fred Solomon, spokesperson for Allegheny Power, the company received a fax about the fire from Franklin County Emergency Services at 7:15 a.m. Emergency crews alerted them that a problem had occurred and power needed to be turned off. Solomon said they got word to their workers at 7:50 a.m. "The crew got there as fast as they could," he said. In this area, Allegheny Power covers the area from Route 75 to 416, north to the turnpike and east to Gettysburg. Solomon said crews could have been working on a project anywhere in that area.

The Waynesboro Volunteer Fire Department was joined by firefighters from a number of departments, including Greencastle, Emmitsburg, Smithsburg, Leitersburg, Mont Alto, Blue Ridge Summit, Long Meadow and Buchanan Valley.

St. Thomas provided an ambulance as a precaution. The Franklin County Air Unit provided workers to refill firefighters' air packs.

None of the homeowners, neighbors, bystanders or firefighters suffered injuries. Two cats that were inside the home are unaccounted for.



Feb. 24,2006 - Dwelling Fire - Rock Hill Road in Quincy Township






March 04, 2006 about 3:30 AM - 3 Alarm vacant apartment building fire - units were on the scene well into the next afternoon finding hot spots.






May 12, 2006 -  Working dwelling fire - North Broad Street in Waynesboro.



Sept. 02, 2006 - Building fire - Dollar General Store - West Main Street in Waynesboro - Box 2-01





Oct. 22, 2006 - The White Swan Hotel on center square - 2 Alarm fire.




Jan. 23, 2007 at 0527 hours - Warehouse Fire - Mulberry Street just off the Rotary  parking lot. The building owned by Waynesboro Floor Coverings was filled it carpet and service vehicles. The building and its contents was a total loss. The fire was believed to have started in a Ford van. Units were on the scene until 09:40 hours.


When the Waynesboro Floor Covering's warehouse was rebuilt it was designed to reflect a 1900s fire house. As seen in the background.






April 05, 2007 - 300 block of South Church Street in Waynesboro three houses on fire at dispatch. There was four alarm dispatched to the location.



( Photo by Ben Shank )

August 03, 2007 at 20:45 hours - Dwelling Fire - 11702 Terra Cotta Drive in Washington Township - Box 2-40. The home of Dr. F. Rishi was struck by lightning. Engine, Tower and Rescue Squad from Waynesboro responded as well a engine companies from Mont Alto and Long Meadow MD. Crews were on the scene for several hours. There were multiple call during the thunderstorm.




September 07, 2007 at 07:13 Hours- Box 2-30 - The incident was dispatched as a fire with entrapment in an apartment over Arturo's Pizzeria & Restaurant at 5261 Buchanan Trail East, The mother and her two children, however, had not spent the night in the apartment, Fire Chief Ron Flegel said. The fire was caused by an apparent electrical malfunction in a light fixture in a bedroom closet.






May 02, 2008 - Single family dwelling -  Rachael Court Washington County Maryland - Tower 2 first due truck!



July 2008 - Apartment building fire in the unit block of 34 South Church Street in Waynesboro.





July 21, 2008 at 14:34 hours - Apartment building fire - 82 West Main Street in Waynesboro - Box 2-01 - Air temperature was in the 90s and heat index was 100+, Units cleared at 17:30 Hours



(Photo by the Record Herald)


Jan. 16, 2010 at 15:44 hours - Commercial Building fire - Freeland Metal Recycling - 100 East Sixth Street in Waynesboro - Box 2-01 -A  warehouse  that was being used as a metal recycling center was gutted when a worker cutting parts off vehicle ignited three other vehicles inside the building. there was a total of 8 vehicles in the building. Engine 2-1, Engine 2-2 ,Engine-Tanker 2, Tower 2 and the Rescue Squad responded from Waynesboro. The commercial assignment brought Engine Companies from Mont Alto, Blue Ridge Summit and Leitersburg, Ladder Truck from New Franklin and a second ambulance and the Re-Hab unit from Waynesboro Ambulance Squad. The fire was quickly contained, but due to the vehicles that was stacked on top of each other and flowing fuel fire an Airport Crash Truck (Crash 19) was special requested. They used Class-B foam  and dry chemical fire extinguishing agent to knock down the fire and control the vapors. Units were placed in service at 17:38 hours




May 10, 2010 at 19:02 hours - Working out building fire - Monterey Lane - Box 4-01 - One Blue Ridge Summit firefighter was injured at  the working  garage fire with a full second floor above. Waynesboro responded with Engine 2-1 and Tower 2. Units cleared the scene at 21:00 hours.



This page is dedicated to the history that brought the Waynesboro Fire Department to where it is today!


1900 to 2011






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Waynesboro Volunteer Fire Department

Copyright 2007