Thursday, June 21, 2012

8/11/2010 YouTube Demolition

6/19/2012 News Chronicle Article

Community laughs, cries and basks in satisfaction as new emergency center opens

Flags of the United States and Pennsylvania flank the Vigilant Hose Co. banner during Saturday’s march down Orange Street as the company relocated to its new quarters. (Photo by R.C.’s Photography)

Fire and ambulance personnel march to new headquarters Saturday

Managing Editor
Published: Tuesday, June 19, 2012 11:13 AM EDT
Vigilant Hose Co. and Shippensburg Area EMS are home.

The fire and ambulance companies moved into a sparkling new-state-of-the art $7 million headquarters Saturday amid tears, laughs and deep satisfaction, with several hundred community members sharing in the glow.

Among those attending ceremonies at the now vacant Vigilant Hose Co. station was Tim Costanza, a former company president and former Shippensburg mayor, who reminisced about the history at 129 E. King St.

With a row of aging fire company veterans seated up front – many in wheelchairs – Costanza, now a south Texas resident, waxed nostalgic when he recited a list of past Vigilant heroes like Roy Dubbs, Charles Mouer, Glen Bitner, Tom Murray, Sr., Roger Sleighter, John Snyder and Chief Emeritus Charlie Myers. He triggered community memories with references to the familiar echo of a siren that once sounded with every alarm and a towering evergreen that was ‘the town Christmas tree” for decades. And he lit more subtle recollections with references to brotherhood and camaraderie.

Myers and current President Danny Byers added to the fond memories.

Myers cited a site that hasn’t been seen in recent years, and may be forever gone.

“There was a time when the churches emptied on a Sunday morning if there was a fire,” he said. Men in suits and ties turned out for a fire.”

With tongue in cheek, Byers said there are several things he will miss.

“I’ll miss the hot summer days with no air conditioning and the cold winter days when it was cold in the station,” he said. “I’ll miss the clanging of pipes when the heat was turned on and I’ll miss yelling at the guys for parking on the ramps (the aprons in front of the station doors.)”

Hundreds of solemn faces greeted a final refrain from the siren when the decommissioned Vigilant Hose Co. siren was recharged for a final blast prior to the departure of a march down Orange Street in front of dozens more spectators – a march that ended at the new location at Orange Street and Walnut Bottom Road where ambulances and engines were pushed into the bays in a traditional ceremony.

On hand at the new 36,450-square-foot headquarters were state Sen. Rich Alloway (R-33), state Rep. Rob Kauffman (R-89) and Cumberland County Commissioner Gary Eichelberger.

Vigilant Hose Co. Secretary Megan Silverstrim, who served as mistress of ceremonies at the new station, spoke smoothly through the dedication of the SAEMS portion of the building, but balked with emotion during the Vigilant ceremony.

SAEMS Treasurer, perhaps sensing the building drama, kept his remarks brief.

“I’m overwhelmed by how this came together, and how these two groups worked together,” he said.

Speaking through tears moments later, Silverstrim called the moment “bittersweet”

She said, “I equated this move to moving from a childhood home and thinking it would never be the same, but I was here the pother night and I realized it is the same. The company is defined by its people not a building.”

Chief Clyde Tinner was next up, focusing on a practical benefit of the new firehouse.

“No longer will we sleep next to the trucks and the equipment stored next to the trucks,” Tinner said. “No longer will be buy apparatus built to fit our station. To our younger members, I say, take pride in this and take care of it.”

Mayor Hockersmith lightened the atmosphere in his remarks.

“When I was asked to make some remarks here, I thought of a list of things that we can say ‘isn’t it a good thing that,’” he said.

He led with the observation, “Isn’t it a good thing that the first time there was a fire in our community, people grabbed a bucket and not a bag of marshmallows.”

Moving from the humor, Hockersmith offered a list of “isn’t it a good things,” starting with the installation of a public water system and the move from buckets to firefighting apparatus, and ending with that observation that “the volunteer spirit is alive and well in Shippensburg.”

Original Article

Sunday, June 17, 2012

6/17/2012 ShipNewsNow Article

Symbolic parade to new firehouse sparks emotions

SHIPPENSBURG – As the fire whistle at 129 E. King St. blew one last time, tears of joy and sadness marked the beginning and the end of an era.
Members of the Vigilant Hose Company #1 and Shippensburg Area Emergency Medical Services marched as a unit from their old fire station to their new building at 20 Walnut Bottom Road.
The lyrics to Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain,” read by former mayor and past fire company president Tim Costanza, set the tone for Saturday’s farewell ceremony: “I set fire to the rain. And I threw us into the flames. Where it felt something die. ‘Cause I knew that that was the last time, the last time.”
A fire house is one of the most recognized and revered buildings in any neighborhood, Costanza said.
“Most importantly, the fire house is home for one of the greatest families in the world – the brothers and sisters of the fire service,” he said.
The old station on King Street has served as that home for nearly 170 years and helped establish a bond they all share – the fact that they might not have been the largest fire company, but they were the oldest, Costanza said.
When they began the process of establishing a new fire station, Company President Dan Byers said he questioned whether they were ready for the process.
“I ask that you think of our path to this point and remember our path to the future,” Byers said.
Chief Emeritus Charlie Myers said he came to visit the building one last time at midnight Saturday and saw about a dozen former members sitting outside smoking cigars and remembering their times.
“Now just as our motto states, we’re going to move onward and upward,” Myers said.
At the new station, three separate ribbon cuttings opened and welcomed the new bays for SAEMS, the Vigilant Hose Company and the Shippensburg Emergency Services Building.
The benefits of the new station are many, but mostly, they are the safety improvements, said Company Chief Clyde Tinner.
Additionally, it provides a new space for emergency services, a new building in the town, and a new view for visitors, he said.
“When visitors come to Shippensburg now, they no longer have to drive by a run down motel,” Tinner said. “This will be the first thing they see.”
Tinner challenged the younger members to always take pride in the building and keep it in top condition. If they need a reminder, the pictures hanging in the hallway depicting the company’s past should help.
While it’s sad to say good-bye, it’s nice to move forward, said Company Vice President Kevin Nehf.
“We planned for the for the future as best as we can,” Nehf said. “Welcome home, boys.”
The new station, designed by SGS Architects, is 36,450 square feet and meets Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards, the only fire and EMS station in the state to meet those standards.
The $7.6 million project began in August 2010 with the demolition of an old motel that previously occupied the space. In its place, the new station houses emergency services training and multi-purpose room, bunk facilities, five drive through bays for the fire company, four drive through bays for EMS, locker rooms and a fitness room.
Samantha Cossick can be reached at and 262-4762 or follow her on Twitter at @SCossickPO.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

6/14/2012 News Chronicle Article

Emergency services center set to open

Home sweet (new) home. The Vigilant Hose Co. and Shippensburg Area EMS take possession of their new joint headquarters Saturday in an afternoon ceremony. The $7 million station will relieve crowded conditions and outdated facilities at the separate locations they now occupy. (Photo by Trisha Grace)

Saturday ceremony marks new era for volunteers

Published: Thursday, June 14, 2012 2:35 PM EDT
After 170 years in one place, Vigilant Hose Co. volunteers are “sad to be leaving, but happy to be going” from their cramped, but familiar, home to an expansive new headquarters.

Ambulance personnel from Shippensburg Area EMS are happy to be going along as the two companies partner in their new station at the intersection of Orange Street and Walnut Bottom Road.

A procession of men, women and apparatus marks the official move Saturday when personnel from the two companies march down Orange Street in the most anticipated, and least advertised, parade in local memory.

A departure ceremony is slated for 1 p.m. at the current station in the 100 block of East King Street – a location occupied by the Vigilants since their inception in 1843. A ribbon cutting follows at the new Shippensburg Emergency Services Building at 2 p.m.

Ambulance personnel have been working out of a former residential building a block east of the Vigilant Hose station for several years since the ambulance service split with the CV Hose Co. The quarters is cramped and outdated. Apparatus are parked outdoors with exposure to weather and storage is nearly nonexistent.

The $7 million facility waiting in Shippensburg Township just across the Shippensburg borough border is a palace by comparison. Ironically, it occupies space created when the former University Lodge Motel was damaged heavily by fire.

The community is encouraged to attend this historic event for the two emergency services organizations, that have served the Shippensburg Area for a combined 240 years. The public is invited to tour the new facility Saturday, and visit with responders from both organizations.

VHC and SAEMS Unveil New Building - The Sentinel

June 14, 2012 2:20 pm  •  
Check out the new Community Impact 2012 special section featuring the Shippensburg Emergency Services Building.
Also check out the attached video to get a tour of the new facility, which houses Vigilant Hose Fire Co. and Shippensburg Area EMS.

6/14/2012 Sentinel Insert

Vigilant Hose, Shippensburg Area EMS unveil new building

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Shippensburg Emergency Services Building tour
Shippensburg Emergency Services Building tour
Take a video tour of the new Shippensburg Emergency Services Building, which houses Vigilant Hose Fire Co. and Shippensburg Area EMS.
Check out the new Community Impact 2012 special section featuring the Shippensburg Emergency Services Building.
Also check out the attached video to get a tour of the new facility, which houses Vigilant Hose Fire Co. and Shippensburg Area EMS.

Read more:

Monday, June 11, 2012

6/11/2012 Public Opinion Article

New emergency services building to open Saturday

SHIPPENSBURG — Members of the Vigilant Hose Company and Shippensburg Emergency Medical Services will pick up and move on Saturday in symbolic journey.
The Shippensburg Emergency Services Building at 20 Walnut Bottom Road, Shippensburg, will hold an official grand opening Saturday. (Public Opinion, Markell DeLoatch)
Following a brief ceremony to close the building at 1 p.m., crews and apparatuses will leave from the fire company’s current home at 129 E. King St. They will parade down Orange Street toward the new Shippensburg Area Emergency Services Building at 20 Walnut Bottom Road, a facility that will house the fire company and EMS. Some members will ride the fire trucks and others will walk and carry axes, flags and other items along the symbolic journey.
“We didn’t want us to be just hopping in a fire truck and going down,” said Megan Silverstrim, a spokesperson for the fire company. “Our members will accompany our (apparatuses) to our new home. It’s our symbolic way of picking up and moving on.”
According to Shippensburg Fire Chief Randy O’Donnell, EMS has already began shifting operations to the new building, but will participate with the fire company for opening-day activities.
Continuing with the symbolism will be the fire company’s act of getting its vehicles into the five bays it’s allotted at the new facility.
“Our members will then push the (apparatuses) into the bays. Everybody will have a hand on (an) apparatus,” Silverstrim said.
After the group’s arrival, the flag carried down from the old fire station will be raised onto the flag pole at the new building. Also, three separate ribbon cutting ceremonies will take place: One on the fire company’s side of the building, another on the EMS’s side, and the third in the area that the two will share.
Present will be Mayor Bruce Hockersmith and former Mayor Tim Costanza and officers from both organizations. Speakers will be people who have been involved with the project along the way, including those who realized the need for a new facility 20 years ago, Silverstrim said.
The public is encouraged to attend the opening ceremony at the new facility, and will be welcomed in for tours. According to O’Donnell, maps will be available inside and personnel will be on duty to answer questions.
“There’s just a lot of interest in the building,” he said. “(The public has) seen it be erected in the past years. There’s an interest to see what’s there.”
Tour-takers will have the opportunity to see the facility’s many features.
Besides the areas required for each agency to operate, the 30,000-square-foot, $6.3 million facility includes a training area, study room for volunteers who are in school, a museum that will house the 500-pound station bell, gym and bunk areas among other things.
Guests may also be interested in the several eco-friendly features including a 10,000-gallon rainwater collection system that will be used for emergency vehicles, high efficiency HVAC system, LED lighting and occupancy sensors, and the use of local materials in construction.
“The building was designed to last the community for 100 years,” O’Donnell said.
Expansion of community outreach was at the forefront of the design scheme.
“It’s a much roomier place for people to come in and understand what we do,” Silverstrim said. “It’s truly not just our building, but it’s the community’s building.”
Shippensburg emergency responders will spend Saturday afternoon celebrating the opening of their new workplace, but plans are set to ensure the community does not go without emergency services. Taking over calls during the afternoon for the fire company will be Company 33 out of Cumberland County; the EMS will have another company taking over for them as well, Silverstrim said.
“Our members are free to enjoy the day and enjoy the fruits of their labors,” she added.
The idea for a new facility first brewed nearly 20 years ago, and the actual plan has been underway for a portion of that. The buildings housing the fire company and the EMS were both inadequate for their purposes for a while, so to save time and resources the two organizations decided to join together in the search for a new site.
“We were trying to be responsible with land use, responsible with finances,” Silverstrim said.
Construction began late last year.
Amber South can be reached at, 262-4771, or follow her on Twitter @ShipNewsGirl.