Nov. 30 A 65-year-old volunteer firefighter suffered severe injuries this morning when he either fell or collapsed to the street from the back of a fire truck, at the scene of a blaze in the borough.
Shippensburg resident Jackson Gerhart, who is well-known for his volunteer work for fire companies in that town and in Chambersburg, was listed in serious condition this afternoon at York Hospital, where he was flown following this mornings accident. A subdued borough Emergency Services Chief John Vandlandingham said this afternoon that he and other firefighters were waiting for more information on Gerharts condition. Lets hope we get good news, he said.
Vandlandingham said Gerhart was volunteering with Junior truck company, which runs out of headquarters in Chambersburg, when he responded to a fire at 541 E. Washington Street shortly after 10 a.m. today. He was assisting with a supply line attaching a hose from the hydrant to the engine when he collapsed or slipped and fell off the tailboard, the chief said. He said that it is not yet clear whether a medical condition caused Gerhart to crumple to the street, or if he accidentally fell off the truck. Vandlandingham said when he arrived at the scene of the fire, he helped give aid to Gerhart until the West Shore Advanced Life Support unit arrived at the scene.
Gerhart, a retired District of Columbia firefighter, is an active member of a volunteer fire company in Shippensburg who also helps out in Chambersburg, according to Vandlandingham. Hes been a volunteer for years and years, the chief said. Hes pretty well known in the area. He added that Gerhart collects antique firefighting memorabilia.
As it turns out, the house fire reported at the East Washington Street address was contained to one room, thanks to quick work by firefighters, according to Vandlandingham. We think it was caused by an iron in an upstairs bedroom, he said.