At the October quarterly meeting of the Hamden Fire Retirees Association held last Wednesday at the Hamden Elks Lodge, the membership honored three retired Hamden firefighters who passed since last October. Memorial plaques were presented to the families of Firefighter Walter Vining, Firefighter William Davin, and Firefighter Edward Doiron Sr. Their wives, Barbara Vining, Patricia Davin, and Peg Doiron were all admitted as Honorary Members of the association.
HFRA President Bob Mordecai, Tom Doherty and Wendy Vining
Wendy Vining, twin sister of former Hamden Firefighter Walter Vining, receives his memorial plaque from Tom Doherty. Tom and Walt were both firefighters assigned to Station 4 on old Platoon 1, and Walt and Tom were cousins. Walter Vining served on the department from 1966 until 1971. He passed away last December 24th. Wendy accepted the memorial plaque on behalf of Walt's wife, Barbara, who was unable to attend.
Bob Mordecai and John O'Hare
Retiree John O'Hare accepted Bill Davin's memorial plaque on behalf of Bill's wife, Patricia. John and Bill worked together at 3's on Platoon 4 for many years. Bill Davin served on the department from 1965 to 1995, and passed away January 14th.
Bob Mordecai, Peggy Doiron, Gil Spencer, and Chief Edward Doiron Jr., Gainesville [Missouri] Fire Department
Gil Spencer presented Ed Doiron's memorial plaque to Ed's wife, Peg. Gil was Ed's company officer at Station 4 in the 1970s. Edward Doiron served on the department from 1964 to 1993. He passed away on October 4th. Ed's son, Edward Doiron Jr. (right), is chief of the Gainesville Fire Department in southern Missouri.
Big Milestone for "the Rev"
Following HFD Chaplain Rev. Owen Sanderson's benediction at the conclusion of the meeting, HFRA president Bob Mordecai asked "the Rev" to stand by for a special surprise presentation. Rev. Sanderson was presented with a plaque from the HFRA members commemorating the 60th anniversary of his ordination. President Mordecai noted Rev. Sanderson's more than 50 years of dedication to his fellow Hamden career and volunteer firefighters of all faiths.
Now 85, and no longer an active firefighter, Rev. Sanderson was among the few area fire department chaplains who was an active volunteer firefighter. He is the only Regular member of the HFRA who is actually not retired. "I'm not ready for that yet," he told the crowd before a spontaneous standing ovation.
"Your fellow members in the Hamden Fire Retirees Association congratulate you, Reverend Owen J. Sanderson, on your 60 years in the ministry. Thank you, and God bless you, for your many decades of dedicated service to your fellow firefighters - October 11, 2017."
Tech Plywood, 1041 Dixwell Avenue Wednesday, October 18, 1972
The New Haven Register, Thursday, October 19, 1972 (Chan Brainard)
Platoon 4 was finishing its third day. The initial call came in right after 5 p.m. Firefighter Robert "Ace" Callahan was the dispatcher at Headquarters. The first alarm brought Engines 1 and 2, Ladder 1, and Rescue 1.
The Tech Plywood Company was only a short distance up Dixwell Avenue from Station 2. As soon as the apparatus cleared the fire station they could see the flames. The second alarm brought Engine 3, Engine 6 and Ladder 2, all out of new Station 3.
October 18, 1972 - Tech Plywood Co, 1041 Dixwell Avenue (Photo by John Mongillo, Jr.)
In the above photo, the men on the right are moving the 2-1/2" lines to one side to make way for Ladder 2, which Firefighter Doug Yocher (in the foreground) is directing toward the driveway. The driver backed the truck in along side the building. The truck crew attached the ladder pipe to the top fly of the aerial, raised the aerial, charged the ladder pipe, and began deluging the flames. The main concern was City Fuel, the exposure immediately south of the fire building.
Doug recalled that the radiant heat was so intense on the firefighters manning 2-1/2" lines on the ground, that some of their bunker coats caught fire. But a quick repositioning of the ladder pipe stream took care of that.
Below, the caption for this John Mongillo Jr. photo, from the New Haven Register, Thursday, October 19, 1972:
Lumber Blaze Belches Fireball
A huge fireball bursts skyward at the peak of a two-alarm fire Wednesday evening at the Tech Plywood and Lumber Co., at 1041 Dixwell Ave., Hamden. The blaze destroyed the company's stock and about a dozen automobiles at an adjoining repair shop. The dense smoke was visible for miles and at one point flames also were seen miles away. More than 1,000 spectators gathered at the scene and traffic was rerouted around the area at the height of the commuter homeward bound period.
The New Haven Journal-Courier, Thursday, October 19, 1972 (Chan Brainard)
October 18, 1972 - Tech Plywood Co., 1041 Dixwell Avenue (Photo by John Mongillo, Jr.)
New Haven Register, Thursday, October 19, 1972 (Page 1 - Chan Brainard)
This early-1970s photo shows an unidentified Hamden firefighter (with booster line), HPD Sgt. Henry "Dutch" Otto and HFD Lieut. Jack Laffin.
The late model Camaro flipped over on Dixwell Avenue at the railroad bridge when the young driver "tried to climb the abutment on left," according to notations on the photo. The young woman driver was pinned inside her car, but was extricated by firefighters who pried open the passenger side door.
We regret to report the sudden passing last Friday, October 13th, of Ronald Alteri Jr., son of our late brother firefighter, Ronald Altieri Sr. (1942-91) and Diane Silvestri Altieri. Services for Ron Jr. were held Tuesday morning, October 17, at 11 o'clock at Christ, The Bread of Life Church (Blessed Sacrament Church). Interment was in Centerville Cemetery, Hamden.
Please keep Diane and her family in your thoughts and prayers at this very sad time.