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Evicting ‘ghosts’ At The Firehouse

September 9, 2018

The ghosts of Hanover Green’s fire house have been evicted ... perhaps. The brick fire station, built in 1915, has been demolished to make way for a new Hanover Twp. Community Ambulance headquarters. It will be the second emergency services structure built in the township in two years, joining the fire department headquarters, which was recently completed on the Sans Souci Parkway. Goodwill Hose Company No. 1 and the ambulance unit shared space in the two-story building on Center Street, not far from the Hanover Green Elementary School on Main Road. Over the years, fire and ambulance personnel have reported unusual, what some might characterize as “ghostly” events. Ray Eichler, a Hanover Twp. firefighter now stationed at headquarters, once was posted at Hanover Green. He said he had a cot set up behind the fire engine and on one occasion, he attempted to get up when the telephone rang and some presence pinned him down momentarily. “I could not get up,’’ Eichler said. Others say they’ve had similar experiences, including current Fire Chief Joe Temerantz. He was seated on a sofa and some force restrained him, he said. Temerantz said another firefighter reported hearing a voice say, “Get the hell out of my building!’’ Ambulance personnel have reported eerie events also, Eichler and Temerantz said. The firefighters said the firehouse doubled as the township jail when it was built and one prisoner hanged himself in his cell. Another man died in a fall down a flight of steps into the basement. Was one or the other a ghostly inhabitant of the fire station? There have been reports of ghost sightings at the Hanover Green Cemetery farther south on Main Road. The cemetery’s northern fence line is on Center Street, across from the fire station bay doors. Native Americans were in the area even after the cemetery was created in 1776. In 1782, Lt. John Jameson, a survivor of the July 3, 1778 Battle of Wyoming, was attacked and killed by Indians in front of the cemetery. Ghostly apparitions have been reported there. A ghost-hunting team was scheduled to spend an overnight in the area last year, but that did not occur. A centerpiece of community life Goodwill Hose Company 1 and five other fire companies in sections of Hanover Twp. have been consolidated into one Hanover fire department. Fire and ambulance equipment has been cleaned out of the Hanover Green structure. John Halliday of Hanover Twp. handled the demolition. At its peak, Goodwill had about 45 active members. One feature of the station was its loud siren, that could be heard in Nanticoke, Eichler said. The siren was saved during demolition and a site, possibly the former Breslau fire station, will be used to display it and historical fire fighting artifacts. “On New Year’s Eve, John ‘Linky’ Linkiewicz would sound the siren at midnight,’’ Eichler said. That became a community tradition. During the Cold War era, children at the Hanover Green School would “duck and cover’’ as the siren wailed during air raid drills, remembers Millie Luba, now Hanover Twp. treasurer and tax collector. “It was loud but we became accustomed to it,’’ she said. The fire department held summer bazaars, dances, dinners and conducted fire fighting and first aid training in the hall. The building was the First Ward polling place for decades. Cub Scout Pack 10 met there and Sunday School classes were held by the chapel still in existence at the Hanover Green Cemetery. Hanover Twp. Community Ambulance Association was created in 1940. Eichler said the first ambulance was a black hearse purchased from McLaughlin Funeral Home, Wilkes-Barre. The unit went through yellow and white ambulances that were basically transportation vehicles. Modern ambulances and trained crews were common by the 1960s and 1970s. Today, the association is a regional advanced life support provider to Hanover Twp., Sugar Notch Borough, Warrior Run Borough and Laurel Run Borough. Additional service is provided to Ashley Borough and “second due’’ coverage to Nanticoke, Newport, Mountain Top, Wilkes-Barre City and Wilkes-Barre Twp. Equipment includes three paramedic-level ambulances, a support unit and a mass casualty trailer. The new 5,500-square-foot headquarters, with a price tag of about $800,000, will have four bays and will be built on the site of the old fire house. Community fundraising has been underway to underwrite the cost. The ambulance association is using the former Preston Hose Company as its temporary headquarters.