Good News to Report - Richie Maybury is recuperating well at his Ormand Beach, Florida home following surgery at the V.A. hosptial there early last week. Richie had undergone emergency gastric surgery there back in March and this most recent procedure is the final step in his recuperation. Rich says he's feeling much better and expects to be back in this area by next month. He hopes to be at the October HFRA meeting.
One of the best things about being a retiree is getting a phone call from an old friend and former colleague you haven't heard from in years.
Last Monday Jack Calamo visited Station 4, where he was greeted warmly by friendly firefighters, some of whom were still in grammar school when Jack was a company officer there. After a tour of the newly renovated station, they gave Jack my phone number. The call made my day. At 5:10 we met at the Dunkin Donuts and didn't leave till well after 8. Our time there was well spent sharing plenty of good memories and, of course, a lot of laughs. A wonder they didn't throw us out.
Jack retired in 1996. He and his wife Peg now grow and sell blueberries at their Penhook, Virginia farm. Recent health issues have been a concern for Jack, but he is looking and feeling much better now and aims to stay that way. He hopes that a future hometown visit will coincide with a quarterly HFRA meeting.
DGJ - Posted 8/8/14
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In the 1970 photo below, Jack Calamo is in the front row standing immediately to the right of Dep. Chief Daniel Hume. He was one of fifteen recruits who joined the department three months before the changeover to a 42-hour workweek. Jack was among Hamden's first four paramedics in 1976 and was promoted to lieutenant in 1984.
Class of July 1970 (L-R): Dep. Chief Hume, Jeff Stoehr, Jack Calamo, Dennis Cosgrove (rear), Frank Dorman, Steve Hitchcock, Ray Chase, Bob Kenney, Tom Mikolinski, Bill Coppola, Tony D'Agostino, Bill Giaquinto, Howie Hurlburt, Jr. (hidden), Jim Hagerty, John Corbett and Bob Kelo.
Website fan Mel Kooper, of Tampa, Florida sent this iPhone photo following his family's recent trip to the Jack Daniel's Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee. This World War I era American LaFrance pumper, once assigned to the Jack Daniel's "Fire Brigade," helped to protect the facility in those halcyon days before the Volstead Act took effect - and probably for some time after Prohibition ended in 1933. NOTE: Lynchburg is located in Moore County, which remains "dry" to this day.
American LaFrance pumper at the Jack Daniel's Distillery's "Fire Brigade" in Lynchburg, Tennessee (Photo by Mel Kooper)
About Jack Daniel's location in a dry county, Mr. Kooper noted, "The factory has figured out how to sell you a bottle of Jack Daniel's. In the gift shop they sell you the 'collectible bottle' and give you the whiskey. They will also engrave your name on the bottle for you. If you are real thirsty and a bottle isn't enough, you can buy a whole barrel." The barrel, and its contents bottled for you, goes for somewhere in the $14,000 range - delivered to your favorite package store. (Liver transplant is extra.)
Wednesday, August 8, 1962 - The New Haven Register (Courtesy of Chan Brainard)
A very young recruit Bob "Bubby" O'Donnell takes the wheel of Whitneyville's 1928 Maxim, while Lt. Everett Doherty and Co. 3 volunteer Larry Spahr stand with Co. 3 mascot "Belle." Bubby went on to become Hamden Fire Marshal, retiring 40 years after this 1947 photo was taken.
1961 - 1965
Car 30 - 1961 Ford Fairlane
In January 1961, a new white Ford Fairlane two-door sedan costing $2,498.15 was purchased for the exclusive use of the Battalion Chiefs. The designation for this vehicle was "Car 30."
The Battalion Chiefs were stationed at Headquarters. Each night, after some careful maneuvering by the rescue driver, Car 30 was squeezed between the rescue and Engine 4.
After the title of Battalion Chief was changed to Deputy Chief the following November, the words "DEPUTY CHIEF" were painted on the two doors of this vehicle.
In January 1962, Chief Leddy was assigned a brand new white Rambler sedan costing $2,971.50. Apparently the 1956 Pontiac was traded in because it disappeared from department records after the Rambler was purchased.
1965 Mack 750 GPM Pumper
In April 1963, the New Milford Fire Department purchased Hamden's 1941 Diamond-T city service ladder truck for $2,200. This spare ladder truck had been located at Station 5 since the Maxim 75' "Junior" aerial ladder truck was delivered in 1958.
In November 1964, the Board of Fire Commissioners voted to purchase a 1965 Mack 750 g.p.m. pumper that cost $19,21,940. It was Hamden's first full-size commercial body fire apparatus since 1942, It also was Hamden's first red apparatus since the 1954 Maxim was purchased.
Ironically, the next purchases were a new white 1965 Chevrolet sedan for the chief and a new white 1966 Ford station wagon for the deputy chiefs. They cost $2,240 and $2,565 respectively, and would be the last all white vehicles in the Hamden inventory.
The white 1961 Ford sedan previously assigned to the "Deputies" was reassigned Deputy Chief Training Officer Daniel Hume.
The Mack went in service at Headquarters in August 1965, and the 1954 Maxim was transferred to Whitneyville. The 1952 Maxim went to Mt. Carmel. And the 1951 Maxim went to Merritt Street.
The 1942 600 g.p.m. Diamond-T pumper that had been Engine 6 since 1959 was transferred to West Woods Volunteer Fire Co. 9. The old '38 Squad that had been Engine 39 since 1959 became a spare and was moved to the south bay at the Mt. Carmel station.
For the first time, the apparatus assigned to paid companies were all manufactured after WWII.
Hamden Fire Department Apparatus Inventory 1965 Station 2 Engine 1 (Spare) – 1938 Seagrave 600 g.p.m. pumper Engine 2 – 1959 Maxim "Cab-Forward" 750 g.p.m. pumper Ladder 1 – 1958 Maxim 75' "Junior" aerial ladder truck Repair Shop 1952 Dodge D126 Maintenance Truck Car 50 - 1955 Ford 1/2 Ton Pickup Truck (CD) Station 3 Engine 3 – 1954 Maxim 750 g.p.m. pumper Rescue 1 - 1958 International Travel-all Station 4 (Headquarters) Engine 4 – 1965 Mack 750 g.p.m. pumper - Delivered 8/18/65 - $21,940 Rescue 2 - 1960 International Travel-all Car 30 - Dep. Chief - 1961 Ford Fairlane 2-dr. sedan - $2,300 Station 5 Engine 5 – 1952 Maxim 750 g.p.m. pumper Spare – 1938 Diamond-T e/w 150 g.p.m. pump
Station 6 Engine 6 – 1951 Maxim 750 g.p.m. pumper Station 7 Engine 37 – 1939 Diamond-T 500 g.p.m. pumper Engine 47 – 1935 Dodge 150 g.p.m. pumper Station 8 Engine 38 – 1942 Diamond-T 500 g.p.m. pumper Station 9 Engine 39 – 1942 Diamond-T 600 g.p.m. pumper Staff Vehicles Car 40 - Chief - 1965 Chevrolet sedan - Purchased - $2,240 Car 41 - Marshal - 1962 Rambler
JULY 25, 2014
Two New Hamden Firefighters
Chief David Berardesca looked on last Friday morning in the town hall rotunda as Town Clerk Vera Morrison swore in Hamden's newest recruits, Firefighter/EMTs Fernando Feliz and Brian Gagnon.
Firefighter Feliz served five years with the Willimantic Fire Department and is a United States Army Reserve veteran. Firefighter Gagnon served six years with the Mansfield Fire Department and is also a CFA instructor. Both firefighters are assigned to the 2nd platoon under Battalion Chief Bill Fitzmaurice. Ff. Feliz will be assigned to Station 2 and Ff. Gagnon will go to Station 4.
The members of the HFRA congratulate Firefighters Feliz and Gagnon and wish them both long, safe and fulfilling careers with the Hamden Fire Department.
Hamden Firefighters Tackle a Nasty Apartment Fire at Dogwood Hills
Sunday, July 27, 2014
Hamden firefighters responded to the Dogwood Hills Apartments, 200 Evergreen Avenue, around 2:30 Sunday morning for a working structure fire involving a total of nine units, damaging six. A ninety-year old women jumped from her second floor window into the arms of three other residents before fire apparatus arrived.
On arrival, Platoon 2 firefighters were faced with a large amount of fire showing. Using an aggressive interior attack coordfinated with effective ventilation, firefighters were able to make a good stop, preventing what easily could have been a disastrous situation. The elderly woman who was forced to jump before firefighters arrived sustained injuries to her lower body. No other injuries were reported. The Fire Marshal is investigating the cause.
Photo by the Hamden Professional Firefghters Local 2687, I.A.F.F. - CLICK ON PHOTO FOR MORE PHOTOS
August 9th Baseball Fundraiser for Pregnant Firefighter/EMT with ALS
The Website has received word from Hamden CERT Director Bob Freeman that there will be a fundraiser for Amanda Bernier, wife of Chris Bernier, who is member of the Logistics Component of the Connecticut Incident Management Team, West (CT Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security).
Amanda Bernier, a Madison volunteer Firefighter/EMT, is pregnant and was recently diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease).
Donations will go toward medical costs, the renovation of their home to make it more compatible to the medical needs, and a motorized wheelchair for Amanda.
The fundraiser is a Bridgeport Blue Fish Baseball game at The Ballpark at Harbor Yard, Bridgeport. on Saturday, August 9th at 6:00 p.m. Tickets are only $11.
PLEASE NOTE: TICKETS MUST BE PRE-PURCHASED UNDER THE CODE WORD ANGELS.
June 2, 2014 - The guys at Station 3 invited a couple of camera-shy retirees to an impromptu birthday party for B/C Sam Deburra. L-R: Ff. Daryl Osiecki, Ff. Dave Beaton, the Honoree, Lt. Matt Sarracco, Capt. Rick Otlowski, Ff. Paul Anderson and Ff. Doug O'Rourke (CLICK to enlarge)
1976 - Supt. of Alarms & Apparatus Richie Lostritto
c. 1962 - Firefighters Paul Reutenauer and Milner Benham with three of Hamden's Finest at Brooksvale Park.
June 2010 - One of the last photos of one of two matching Pierce Dash pumpers delivered in late 1984. Standard Shift! It was filling in for Engine 3 at the time. A couple of years later the pumper was scrapped along with its twin.
Hamden Civil Defense in 1960
Future Fire Chief Concerned About Public Apathy
The article below, published in the New Haven Journal-Courier, Thursday, August 4, 1960, provided an interesting and somewhat scary Cold War snapshot of the local plans to address civil defense and public safety following an nuclear attack.
Batt. Chief V. Paul Leddy, Hamden Civil Defense Director, candidly expressed his own concern for what he saw as public apathy - a concern that some may see as having changed little in over 50 years.
Fire Department Softball - 1963
Five Hamden guys are in this end of season group shot of the Greater New Haven Firemen's Softball League at Montowese Field. Photo courtesy of John O'Hare, who played well into the 1970s and was the coach for many years.
1) Salvatore "Cookie" Ferraro 2) Art Heriot 3) George Reutenauer 4) John Tramontano and 5) John O'Hare
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JULY 11, 2014
CLICK FOR MORE PHOTOS OF THE 23rd MEETING OF THE HFRA
According to the website of the National Weather Service, an F4 tornado on the Fugita scale is characterized by winds estimated at between 207 and 260 m.p.h. "Well-constructed houses leveled; structures with weak foundations blown away some distance; cars thrown and large missiles generated." (http://www.spc.noaa.gov)
Connecticut isn't much like Oklahoma, or Kansas, or even Ohio, where F4 tornadoes occur now and then. But this week marks the 25th anniversary of the F4 tornado that devastated much of the Newhallville and Whitneyville sections of Hamden on Monday evening, July 10, 1989. The fire, police and public works departments mobilized to address the many emergencies resulting from the devastation, to open up roads, and to re-establish communications, among other things.
The Hamden Fire Department under the direction of Chief John Tramontano had its hands full. The tornado struck around 5:30, when the Platoon 3 day shift was being relieved by the Platoon 1 night shift. Many firefighters working the night shift had difficulty getting to work and many on the day shift could not get home. That really didn't matter much anyway because before long all available fire personnel were being ordered to duty.
At the recent Summer meeting of the HFRA, retired Deputy Fire Chief Clark Hurlburt recalled the afternoon of the tornado. "I'm probably the only guy in the history of the Hamden Fire Department to be ordered in to work by his mother!" Clark's mother, Nancy Hurlburt, was Hamden Town Clerk at the time.
Clark noted that right after the tornado struck Nancy drove through the affected areas trying desperately to find Mayor John Carusone, who was in Newhallville assisting the residents. Once the Mayor was located, the two returned to the Emergency Operations Center in the basement of the town hall. That's when Clark got the call from Mom.
Hamden's 1951 Maxim at Station 9
Whoever first said "extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures" could have been describing Hamden's fire apparatus situation on July 10, 1989.
Clark, who was a lieutenant at the time, reported to Station 9 in West Woods, the closest station to his Bethany home. On arrival he was joined by Lt. Dave Strawhince and Ff. Paul Durkin, who were also ordered in.
Engine 9 was out. Perhaps it was at the house fire on Westminster Street or assisting somewhere in the south end, but Engine 9 was not expected to return to quarters any time soon.
The only available piece of apparatus at Station 9 was the 1951 Maxim, Hamden's first post-WWII apparatus purchase and the pumper previously assigned to Volunteer Co. 9, which had disbanded four months earlier.
Clark said that once they washed all the dust off the ancient pumper they had to jump-start it from Strawhince's Ford pickup truck. It started! Since he was the only one who knew how to drive it, Lt. Hurlburt once again was able to assume the role of driver.
With Lt. Strawhince beside him and Ff. Durkin riding the tailboard, Lt. Hurlburt drove the 1951 Maxim to stand by at Station 4. Wisely, the crew left it running on the ramp.
The night of the tornado was undoubtedly the last time the 1951 Maxim ever saw active service. It was sold the following year. The venerable old Hamden pumper was last seen in 2007, rotting away in a field in Shelton.
Earlier this week, with the 25th anniversary only a few days hence, Channel 30 Meteorologist Ryan Hanrahan contacted the HFRA. "We would love to be able to interview one or two first responders live on the air about their memories . . ."
Hanrahan's request was forwarded to our online members and several phone calls were made. HFD Retirees Harold Mangler, Brian Forsyth and former Asst. C.P. Director Neil Gorfain stepped forward to share their recollections as first responders when interviewed at Rochford Field at precisely 5:40 p.m. on July 10, 2014.
Meteorologist Hanrahan had read about the Hamden Fire Department's response to the tornado and had viewed the day-after video on the HFRA website, which inspired him to contact the Association for potential interviewees. We thank Ryan Hanrahan and Connecticut NBC for helping to preserve our history.
In the days following the tornado, WTNH Action News 8 presented stories about how residents of the Whitneyville-Newhallville areas of Hamden dealt with the severe damage to their properties. One elderly lady whose house was built by her late husband in 1939 was somewhat philosophical and almost optimistic despite the damage to her home.
Two direct hits were the condos at the corner of Newhall and Augur Streets and a brand new condo that was completed only a few months earlier. On July 12, 1989, the Hamden Fire Department was able to provide Action News 8 with "BEFORE" video clips of both of these doomed structures, taped for a training video in October 1988.
WVIT Channel 30 News coverage - Monday, July 10, 1989
Souvenir for Service
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Town Clerk (1987-95) Nancy Hurlburt
The spate of tornados that hit the northeast on July 10, 1989 - there were seventeen in all! - was also an enormous challenge to utility companies.
Shortly after the dust settled, but before the storm was officially declared a tornado, Appaloosa Custom Products of Milford produced special commemorative belt buckles for the utility workers who spent tens of thousands of man-hours to get things back to normal. Complimentary paperweights of the same design were given to town officials. The paperweight that was presented to Town Clerk Nancy Hurlburt is pictured above.
First Anniversary T-Shirt (CLICK to enlarge)
As a 1970s CETA employee, Vic Mitchell served both in the Shop and the Alarm Room. As a Hamden volunteer firefighter for over 40 years, Vic also served with Cos. 5 and 7. Vic brought this brand new, never-worn Hamden tornado first anniversary commemorative T-shirt to the recent retirees meeting. They were sold at a reunion gathering of Whitneyville-Newhallville residents at Rochford Field in July 1990.
Five years ago on the 20th anniversary of the tornado that devastated parts of southern Hamden, WTIC FOX 61 News featured a remembrance during its nightly weather forecast. Meteorologist Joe Furey did not mince words, "In Connecticut history, this is the worst tornado outbreak ever, by far."
Some of the Hamden video in this
FOX 61 presentation was supplied by the HFRA.
Day After the Hamden Tornado Tuesday, July 11, 1989
(originally posted 7/3/2009)
An F4 tornado ripped through southern Hamden, leaving damages in the millions of dollars. The 1989 tornado was an incredible challenge for the department.
While tape rolled, commentary was added occasionally to establish exact locations because many areas were unrecognizable.
Dolores Fortuna (center) flanked by daughter Anna-Marie and husband Tom.
Sears Building Proved a Safe Haven in '89
Dolores Fortuna's memory of the event is a vivid as anyone's. It was approaching five in the afternoon and she was about to leave the Hamden Sears store, where she worked in the accounting department. Her father was supposed to pick her up, but he was still at the H.A. Leed Company on Leeder Hill Drive.
It was getting very dark as Dolores waited for her dad by the plate glass doors. She says that she remembers that the doors and windows were rattling something awful, and she wanted to get out of there fast. Just like everyone else in Hamden that afternoon, Dolores could not have imagined that an F4 tornado would be ripping up the south end of town at that very moment - and the H.A. Leed building was among its many casualties.
Fortunately, noted Dolores, her father was in that part of the Leed building that withstood the estimated 200 m.p.h. winds, although his car was totaled out in the front parking area. As for Dolores, she probably could not have had any better protection than the Sears building. Five years later, it would take a lot more than high winds to bring that baby down.
Originally Posted 8/18/12
March 2013 Display at Peabody Museum - May Still be There
Hamden firefighters of Platoon 3 responded to a fully involved garage fire at 11 Notkins Street last Monday. The garage was destroyed and radiant heat caused some damage to adjacent structures. A couple of retirees showed up and took some photos. CLICK on the photo below.
Yeah, it's Ralph Pascale from Public Works. When leaving the fire on Notkins Street last Monday, we met up with Ralph and his wife, Pasqualina, who were watching the action from their front steps.
Ralph and his public works colleague Tommy, a duo affectionately known around 4's as "Cheech and Chong," were familiar to anyone who worked at Station 4 a few years back - and especially to the staff fire personnel who occupied basement offices at town hall in the 80s.
Ralph, who looks great, has been happily retired since 2000 (which is probably why he looks so good).
Firefighters Kurt Vogt, Larry Bowden, Kevin Martin and Brett Rinehart
Lt. Joe Anderson and Ffs. Larry Bowden and Casey Blake
The 2014 HVFF Fireworks was a complete success thanks to the contributions of many Hamden businesses, individuals and organizations, including the Hamden Professional Firefighters Local 2687 and the Hamden Fire Retirees Association.
JUNE 27, 2014
Hamden's Forgotten Fire Company
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Nearly 50 years ago, Mt. Carmel Volunteer Fire Co. president R.K. Spencer was questioned by a new member: If the Mt. Carmel volunteers were "Company 5," then why did the company's by-laws show a different numerical designation?
President Spencer explained to the young member that many years earlier there were actually two Mt. Carmel fire companies.
Mt. Carmel's “other” fire company had been located further north, in the vicinity of Tuttle Avenue.
The fire company later known as "Company 5" was established first, in November 1911. So when the company applied for incorporation the members wanted that fact to be reflected in the name of their fire company.
On March 28, 1912, the State of Connecticut issued corporation papers to the "Mount Carmel Volunteer Fire Company No. 1, Incorporated," which remains the official name of that fire company to this day.
For over a century, that "No. 1" designation on Mt. Carmel's corporation papers was the smoking gun that suggested another, long forgotten fire company had once existed. Then, several years ago, photocopies of minutes from several 1914 meetings of "The North Hamden Improvement Society" turned up at the Hamden Historical Society. References to members with the titles of "chief" and "captain," as well as references to other Hamden fire companies suggested pay dirt had been struck. But little else was known about this fire company. When was it organized, and by whom? How long did it exist?
Most of these questions were answered recently when local historian Mary Jane McGaffin discovered meeting minutes dating from 1911 to 1926 of an organization that began as the "North Hamden Fire Company" and later adopted the name "North Hamden Improvement Society."
As we sift through these newly found records, the website will feature more stories about the North Hamden Fire Company in future website updates. The first installment is below.
NOTE: Most area residents today probably consider the center of Mt. Carmel as the immediate vicinity of Whitney Avenue and Ives Street. However, a century ago, the area between Mt. Carmel and Tuttle Avenues was known as "Mt. Carmel Center."
The North Hamden Fire Company
According to the minutes, an organizational meeting was held in the office of the Liberty Cartridge Company on Saturday evening, December 2, 1911 "for the purpose of perfecting an organization looking to the betterment of conditions in the northern part of Hamden and Mt. Carmel Center in particular."
Organized just one month after the Mt. Carmel Volunteer Fire Company, then located on Ives Street, Mt. Carmel's newest fire company was initially called the North Hamden Fire Company. The organizers included Judge Willis Cook, A.J. Ralph, Howard Yale, E.M. Funk, and several other prominent citizens of Mt. Carmel Center.
The organizational meeting minutes continued, "Various subjects were discussed and it was decided that at present our greatest need was that of fire protection." Judge Cook made the motion to organize a fire company for the protection of North Hamden.
At the new organization's second meeting, held on December 8, 1911, the following officers were elected: Judge Cook, Chief; A.J. Ralph, Deputy Chief; Robbin Spencer, Captain and F.B. Kimball, Secretary-Treasurer.
This fire company was formed when all Hamden fire companies were fairly autonomous, each having their own nomenclature for its officers. The individual fire companies were brought under the control of the Hamden Fire Department when it was created in 1925.
Within a few months the organization became the North Hamden Improvement Society, with the North Hamden Fire Company remaining as a part of the Society. In addition to providing fire protection, its membership was also concerned with other issues affecting the residents of northern Mount Carmel, including trolley fares, monitoring the condition of the roadways, and obtaining sidewalks, among other things.
In 1915, members organized a rally of Hamden telephone subscribers at the town hall to protest toll charges on calls to New Haven that were imposed by the Southern New England Telephone Company once a new Hamden telephone exchange was established. The Society also embarked on a campaign that proved influential in the eventual cessation of quarrying operations on Sleeping Giant. But the principal purpose of the Society during the 19-teens was to provide at least a modicum of fire protection for the residents of the area.
The members of the North Hamden Improvement Society voted to disband the fire company portion of the organization at the May 7, 1920 meeting, donating their firefighting assets to the Mt. Carmel Volunteer Fire Company No. 1, located one mile south. But the Society continued meeting to monitor and act on other community issues until at least 1926.
Eventually the North Hamden Fire Company will be included with Hamden's other nine volunteer fire companies as further information about its organization, operations, assets and activities is extracted from these newly obtained documents. We'll keep everyone posted.
Mt. Carmel Upper Axle Works building, where the Liberty Cartridge Company located in 1911. It eventually burned down. (Photo courtesy of the Hamden Historical Society)
According to Rachel Hartley's A History of Hamden Connecticut-1786-1936, published in 1943 by the Hamden Historical Society, in 1911 the Liberty Cartridge Company moved into the building that had once housed Mt. Carmel's Upper Axle Works, located on the east side of Whitney Avenue, several hundred feet north of Mt. Carmel Avenue.
Mrs. Hartley wrote, "During the occupancy of the Axle factory by the Liberty Cartridge Company who came there in 1911, the building burned." It is not clear exactly when after 1911 the building did burn. References to the cartridge company are found in the association's minutes as late as 1917.
Hamden Fire Department Apparatus Inventory 1924 Highwood – Dixwell & Morse Highwood Co. 1 organized December 10, 1896 1918 Stewart Chemical Truck - Delivered February 1918 - $1,800 Hand drawn ladder truck Humphrey – 71 Circular Avenue Humphrey Co. 2 incorporated March 1908 1919 Seagrave 750 g.p.m. pumper - Delivered April 1919 - $12,500 Whitneyville – 39 Putnam Avenue Whitneyville Co. 3 organized December 2, 1910 1915 Maxim 500 g.p.m. pumper/chemical truck - Delivered June 1915 - $5,500 1910 Locomobile chemical truck - Donated by WRACo. 1915
Centerville - 2374 Whitney Avenue Centerville Co. 4 incorporated October 6, 1905 Mt. Carmel – Ives Street Mt. Carmel Co. 5 formed November 8, 1911 1918 Stewart Chemical Truck - Delivered 12/24/18 - $1,900
Whitneyville Annex – 21 Merritt Street Merritt Street Co. 6 organized on April 13, 1921 as the Whitneyville Annex Fire Company 1924 Stutz 350 g.p.m. pumper - Delivered 4/24 - $7,150
Mix District – 905 Shepard Avenue Mix District Co. 7 formed November 20, 1924 Hose cart
JUNE 20, 2014
Hamden's Forgotten Fire Company
Astronomers will sometimes speculate about the existence of an unseen heavenly body when a nearby visible heavenly body does something unusual. That scientific phenomenon is an analogy for what might be called "Hamden's forgotten fire company."
An early Hamden volunteer fire company located in a remote part of town was supposedly organized in the second decade of the 20th century. However, except for stories by old-timers and an occasional reference in the early minutes of another fire company, there was no real proof that the mysterious fire company actually existed - only speculation.
Speculation over Hamden's forgotten fire company ended earlier this week when local historian Mary Jane McGaffin contacted two members of the HFRA through the Hamden Historical Society. While looking through some old files, Mrs. McGaffin discovered numerous meeting minutes of the forgotten Hamden fire company, spanning the years 1911 to 1926. Below is a portion from the fire company's organizational meeting.
From the December 2, 1911 organizational meeting. Minutes were taken until at least 1926.
The full story in next Friday's update.
Grave Markers - Once a Tradition
Numerous fire department grave markers representing Hamden fire company Nos. 3, 4, 6 and 7 can be found in Whitneyville Cemetery at the corner of Treadwell Street and Whitney Avenue. At left is the Co. 3 marker by the headstone of career Firefighter Ralph Rosson (1887-1972), who was assigned to and was also a member of Company 3 for many years until his 1957 retirement.
HFRA thanks to Co. 7's Matt Erff and Justin Wetmore for discovering these markers while placing flags over Memorial Day weekend.
Are fire department markers like these found in other Hamden cemeteries? The "H.V.F.A" marker at the grave of E. (Edward) A. Austin, who was a Whitneyville resident, suggests that prior to the official formation of the Hamden Fire Department, there may have been a Hamden Volunteer Firemen's Association.
68 years ago!
The Hamden Chronicle, September 20, 1946 (Courtesy of the Hamden Historical Society)
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FIREWORKS NEXT FRIDAY!
The 35-Piece United States Navy Band Northeast will perform next Friday evening, July 27th, at the 21st Annual Hamden Volunteer Firefighters' Fireworks at Town Center Park. Rain date is Saturday, June 28th.
One of Hamden's longest serving pumpers, this Maxim 600 g.p.m. model, was delivered to Company 5 on January 6, 1930. It served as Engine 5 until 1952, when it was transferred to Station 6. In November 1960, the pumper was traded to O.B. Maxwell for $300 worth of credit. This photograph was snapped by Chan Brainard on State Street opposite Ridge Road around 1954.