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From the Vault: News from the Wednesday, Aug. 1, 1973 edition of the Press & Journal

Posted 7/31/19

Charles Waple, borough fireman, killed in crash of firetruck

Charles “Pete” Waple, 25, well-known borough volunteer fireman, was killed last Thursday afternoon when the Union Hose Company …

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From the Vault: News from the Wednesday, Aug. 1, 1973 edition of the Press & Journal


Charles Waple, borough fireman, killed in crash of firetruck

Charles “Pete” Waple, 25, well-known borough volunteer fireman, was killed last Thursday afternoon when the Union Hose Company truck crashed into a bridge abutment on Route 230, east of Middletown.

Waple was one of four Union firemen on the truck. Treated and released at Hershey Medical Center were Samuel Monismith, 21, of 309 E. Roosevelt Ave., and Thomas J. Wealand, 20, of 309 E. Emaus St., Middletown.

Donald B. Ryan, 45, 625 Pine St., driver of the firetruck, is still a patient at the medical center.

The Union Hose Company’s unit was responding to a mobile home fire at Cedar Cliff Trailer Park in Londonderry Township.

Waple is the first volunteer borough fireman to lose his life in 26 years. The last fatality occurred July 18, 1947, when Harold W. Mansberger drowned in Swatara Creek. He was with a contingent of Rescue Hose Company firemen who had responded to search for the bodies of a father and two sons who drowned when their boat was swept over Iron Mine Dam.

State Trooper Edward Buffington reported Waple was riding on the left rear of the truck which hit a guardrail, knocked down guard posts, struck a bridge abutment and came to rest facing west against a utility pole.

The truck was traveling east when it skidded and went into a spin. The accident occurred about 4 p.m. during a rain storm one-tenth of a mile east of Big M on Route 230, near Deodate Road.

The blaze at the trailer park turned out to be a minor one, burning wire in a television set.

Waple was a 1967 graduate of Middletown Area High School, where he played varsity football. He also played amateur ice hockey with the Hoffman House team of Palmyra. Waple was an employee of Metropolitan Edison Co. here. He married the former Linda McMinn, of Londonderry Township. Two children, Michele, 4, and Bryan, 1 1/2, survive.

LDCOG plans session on regionalized police

Lower Dauphin Council of Governments representatives last week acted to “keep alive” the concept of a regionalized police force.

Although only seven of 15 member municipalities appeared interested in conducting a study, last week’s move by LDCOG took a different approach to the matter. This would call for setting up a meeting of elected officials from all municipalities to hear “the pros and cons” of the issue.

Dr. J.S. Pincus, of Susquehanna Township, although not committing his municipality to the issue, said a meeting in which officials could learn facts would be of positive value. He added that mounting police department costs are starting to price some boroughs and townships out of business.

Chairman Richard Black (Conewago Township) had suggested such a meeting. He told representatives of nine LDCOG municipalities of a meeting he had earlier Thursday with the Governor’s Justice Commission. Black said the body looks with favor on regionalization, even if it’s just three or four municipalities.

A Swatara Township aide decried any further studies by professional consultants. He claimed nothing constructive is offered and the costs are too prohibitive.

Pincus and Richard Updegrove were named co-chairmen of a six-man committee to make arrangements for an Oct. 25 meeting. They represent Susquehanna Township and Steelton, respectively. Others named to the committee are John Kohr, South Hanover Township; Weldon Arehart, Londonderry Township; Glenn E. Peck, Swatara Township; and J.B. Alter, Hummelstown.

All elected officials of boroughs and townships within LDCOG will be urged to attend the October session.

In another agenda item at last week’s meeting, Elmer H. Givler (Middletown), chairman of the Vector Control Committee, reported on the program which has been submitted to the state’s Department of Environmental Resources for approval.

Givler said that agency has asked for additional information, specifically the number of premises within the target areas. The state has provided $82,000 in grants to the Lower Dauphin Council of Governments for vector control activities to correct problems resulting from last year’s Tropical Storm Agnes and the resulting flood.

Vector Control is a program to rid affected areas of rats and mosquitos through baiting and spraying.

Givler also pointed out the need to hire personnel to direct the program. The $82,000 grant will pay salaries for a director and his assistant, one regular employee, and two part-time workers.

Although the state has approved the grant to LDCOG, the actual funding has not been cleared. This action is contingent upon the Department of Environmental Resources’ request for a report showing the number of premises within the affected areas.

LDCOG representatives last week approved a motion calling for a three-member committee to screen applicants for the vector control program. Named were Mr. Nesbit (Susquehanna Township), Donald E. Neiss (Swatara Township) and George Merkel (Middletown).

A survey will also be conducted to locate space for operating the vector program. This entails administrative quarters for the director, and an area for storing equipment and supplies.

15 freight cars derailed in wreck at Royalton

Penn Central’s main lines for passenger and freight trains were blocked here last week when a derailment involving 15 cars of a westbound freight train tore up tracks just south of Royalton’s Burd Street bridge.

The accident was spectacular in nature. Skies were brilliantly illuminated as wires were shattered when derailed cars smashed into steel supporting poles along the tracks. Many thought an airplane had crashed. Royalton residents within the area felt homes tremble.

The wreck occurred at 10 p.m. as the 51-car westbound train moved through Royalton. Fifteen cars were derailed, several damaged beyond repair.

The accident, which brought out all Middletown fire companies and policemen, resulted in no injuries and no fires. But thousands of borough and Royalton citizens hurried to the scene, resulting in large traffic tie-ups. Both the county and Burd Street bridges were closed as police tried to stem the large number of sightseers.

A Penn Central spokesman said the train carried no hazardous materials.

One passenger train, due in Harrisburg from Philadelphia at 11:45 p.m., was halted at Lancaster. Passengers for points between Lancaster and Harrisburg were transferred to buses.

Immediately after the derailment, Penn Central dispatched a large force of workers to start cleanup operations. They worked throughout Thursday night, Friday and Saturday.

By Friday, some service had been restored and all tracks were repaired by Saturday to enable full restoration of passenger and freight service.

Other headlines

• Police nab 2 on marijuana possession

• Mayor Judy calls for strict observance of bicycle rules

• Nuclear power now 5 percent of U.S. total

• New pupils urged to register here Aug. 6-10

• Tritch wins Marinak Open

Hot buys

• Regular ground beef, 95 cents a pound. Nabisco Oreo cream sandwich, 57 cents for 19 ounces. Kraft mayonnaise, quart, 79 cents. Rich’s Coffee, 41 cents for 32 ounces. Evans Thrift Market, 241 Oak Hill Drive, Middletown.

• Boys cut-off dress and play shorts, 97 cents. Women’s and children’s sneakers, $1.66. Men’s knockabout pants, $1.97. Sportcoats for boys, $4.97. Greenberg’s, 4 S. Union St., Middletown.

• Portable RCA black-and-white TV, $88; 23-inch diagonal color TV, with legs, $398. Joe, The Motorists’ Friend, Olmsted Plaza.