The Berg Building
Molly Pitcher Hotel
Bowman Department Store
From the collection of Mervin L. Braught Jr.
A defect in the wiring of a transformer for a large neon sign was blamed by investigators for the fire which swept through Grand View Hotel last evening, causing heavy damage to the structure.
The investigators, Jack Armstrong and Robert McCartney of the State Fire Marshal’s Office, and Robert Knight of the National Fire Underwriters Bureau, estimated the total damage at $15,000. They said the building was damaged to the extent of $5,000 and the contents $10,000.
Fire Chief J. Fred Brown, who was checking the damage with the investigators today, said that a defect was found in the transformer wiring back of the “Grand View Hotel” neon sign. The fire started between the first and second floors just back of the neon sign on the east wall.
One fireman, Ralph Casey, 100 East Chapel Ave., was overcome by smoke in battling the stubborn blaze and was treated at Carlisle Hospital. Four other firemen suffered lacerated hands by broken glass and were treated on the scene by John Steele, driver of the community ambulance.
The hotel was operated by Arthur Nydick and his son-in-law Yale Gordon formerly of Harrisburg, who took over the hostelry about four years ago. Nydick was unable to estimate the loss but stated that he had $100,000 in the investment.
The fire swept from the corner of the building up through partitions to the attic and had gained considerable headway by the time fireman arrived at the blazing structure, which is located on the extreme end of North West Street at the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
The only fire hydrant near the place is located directly across West Street and was used by the Friendship Fire Company. Other companies were forced to lay hose lines for two blocks or more but despite the distances did a quick job in getting water on the fire.
Nydick said there were no guests in the rooms at the time the fire was discovered shortly before 7 o’clock. There were three people finishing their dinners in the grill room.
Nydick said he was in the grill room of the hotel, which had been recently elaborately renovated. He said he smelled smoke and made an investigation of the first floor and the outside of the building without finding anything. When he returned to the inside, he discovered smoke issuing from the east wall.
Nydick said that he called fireman and then went to the hotel office and gathered up valuable papers and money that was in the cash register.
The blaze attracted a throng of spectators who were held back by rope lines set up by fire and local police. During the height of the blaze traffic on the turnpike was slowed down by dense clouds of smoke which were blown across the highway by a strong south wind. An airliner pilot gave his passengers a good look at the fire by circling the plane low over the scene for about five minutes.
The hotel was formerly owned by John Fladger, Carlisle, who purchased it from the the late William N. Hall. Nydick and Gordon, the co-owners, made extensive improvements to the rooms and the lobby during the paws few years.
Improvements to the grill room during the past winter made it modern and attractive.
Note: It has come to my attention that the above picture is from the second fire at the Grandview Hotel in the mid 1950's, not the one mentioned in the article above. This fact is proven by the inclusion of the 1953 American LaFrance ladder truck just left of the center of the photo.