Universal York

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Fire at York County Jail Alarms Inmates

The former York County Jail has stood empty for many years. Every now and then someone suggests a new use for the striking five story brick building, but nothing seems to come of it.
The original stone castle-like prison, built in the 1850s had become crowded and inadequate.
Click here to read my previous post on the Christmas Prison Break from the old not-so-secure prison.
Construction on the monumental multi-story brick addition, which still stands, was in process during the winter of 1908. A fire, caused by construction equipment, caused the locked-up prisoners much anxiety.
The Gazette reports that during the 1908 fire:

“Many were under the impression that they were in danger from the flames and anxious faces peered from the cell windows.”
The Gazette published the report Fire Chief Samuel Kormeny presented to Mayor J. St. Clair McCall:
“Dear Sir–An alarm of fire was turned in this evening at 6:45 o’clock from box No. 25, located at the corner of Chestnut and Pine Street. The fire was located in the new five story brick structure, in the course of erection as the main building of the county jail, at the corner of Chestnut street and Loucks Mill road.
The fire was located on the fifth floor, in the traveling electric crane, among a lot of waste and rubbish. It was caused by a short circuit resulting from neglect to switch off the electric current. There as no damage to the building, but some damage…to the crane….
The alarm was turning in by O.P. Jacobs, engineer at the county almshouse…. The companies responding were the Laurel, Union, Goodwill and Rex. …a chemical stream was sufficient to extinguish the fire.”
The stone section of the old jail was completely torn down a few years ago, but the 1908 brick structure, though moldering away, is still very impressive. Drive down Pine Street and take a look.
Click the links below to read about other York County fires:
Forest Fires Hit York County.
York Woman, Cow, and Horses Saved from fire.
Hanover fires.
Click here to read about brazen escape from first York jail.