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From the Vault: News from the Feb. 8, 1952 edition of the Press & Journal

Posted 2/7/18

Four cottages leveled by fire at Stovedale; families routed by oil stove explosion

Ten persons, including five children, were made homeless by the spectacular blaze which threatened the entire …

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From the Vault: News from the Feb. 8, 1952 edition of the Press & Journal

Posted

Four cottages leveled by fire at Stovedale; families routed by oil stove explosion

Ten persons, including five children, were made homeless by the spectacular blaze which threatened the entire village of about 80 cottages.

The fire started in the cottage owned by David Reigle, Hummelstown, and tenanted by Mr. and Mrs. Christ Via and their two children. The second cottage, owned by James E. Ruby, 120 E. Emaus Street, and tenanted by Mr. and Mrs. Addison Weaver and three children, was also destroyed. Mr. Weaver was working at Olmsted Air Force Base at the time the fire broke out.

Other cottages destroyed were tenanted by Mrs. Zola Hykes, owned by J.H. Stump, Hummelstown, and an unoccupied cottage owned by John Srow, East Main Street, Middletown.

Telephone calls summoned the Union and Liberty fire companies from town; also Hummelstown, Hershey, Union Deposit, Bressler, Steelton and Harrisburg. Upon the arrival of the Middletown firemen, a relay hose was laid to the Swatara Creek nearby, and water pumped for about 300 yards.

Earl Gruber, town, one of the Union Hose Company firemen, was credited with saving several other homes from destruction by standing by with a chemical line to drive the flames away from the fifth cottage at the end of the burning row. He is reported suffering, from burns of the arms and face and had to have medical, attention. This cottage was occupied by Donald Tetzloff.

Burgess Ludwig and Red Cross officials of Hummelstown took care of the homeless families, who were quartered with neighbors for the night.

The blaze was not brought under control until about 11:30 p.m.

Health board takes action in epidemic; school absence 25%

The Middletown Board of Health moved to action today against the local wave of illness believed to be caused by a virus infection and sweeping many sections of Dauphin County.

Faced with an apparently increasing epidemic among the school age population of the community of colds, fever and virus infection, the board has taken action to close public assemblies which include large numbers of young people.

To this end the local theater is closed to all those of school age or under, the program of the MCSO is likewise curtailed, and the junior high basketball game for Friday afternoon is postponed. The officers of the churches are asked to curtail their programs for young people.

Likewise it is expected that soda fountains and confectionery stores will limit gatherings of young people.

During the first three days of the week, absence in the high school reached 25 percent and the Feaser Building was equally affected. On Wednesday, when the absence reached almost 300 pupils, hope of abatement without closing was given up.

The school physician and board physician urged closing to halt the spread of the epidemic and urge pupils take all precautions, avoid exposure, get as much rest as possible and stay quietly at home. It is expected that with an improvement in weather conditions and this period of segregation that program activities may return to normal, Monday, Feb. 11.

Gen. Whitten new commander of Middletown base

Air Force Headquarters in Washington, D.C., has announced the appointment of Maj. Gen. Lyman P. Whitten to the post of commanding officer of the Middletown Air Materiel Area, which includes the Olmsted Air Force Base, succeeding Brig. Gen. Thomas B. Mc-Donald, who had been stationed in Middletown since October 1950.

Whitten, who is 54 years old, will come to Middletown on April 21 from his present post as commanding general of the Northwest Command, with headquarters in Newfoundland. No new assignment has been named as yet for McDonald.

The new assignment for Whitten will come almost as a birthday gift. He will be 55 on April 25. He is a native of Malden, Massachusetts, and has been in the service since 1917, entering following his graduation from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Headlines from the edition

• Rampaging Blue Raiders trounce Lemoyne

• Fire destroys newspapers en route to P.O.

• National rose show to be at Hershey

• Approval of federal school grant in doubt

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