This 1912 American-LaFrance city service ladder truck from Southampton, NY was the star of
the 2014 Engine 260 Muster held last Saturday.
Speaking of Ladder Trucks . . .
The photo below by an unknown photographer was taken at the Water Witch Hose Co. No. 2 of the New Milford Fire Department. This 1941 Diamond-T city service ladder truck was purchased new by Hamden from Woods Engineering Services in 1941. It served as Hamden's "Ladder 1" out of the Humphrey station (Co. 2) until it was replaced by the 1958 Maxim 75' "Junior" aerial ladder truck. It was then stored as a spare in the north bay at Mt. Carmel. The boat mounted atop the truck was added after it was sold to New Milford in April 1963 for $2,200.
After serving New Milford, the truck was purchased by Co. 8 member Ken Lewis, who stored it at his Dunbar Hill Road home with two other Hamden Diamond-T pieces.
Photo courtesy of by Chan Brainard
In the 1961 photo below by I.A. Sneiderman, the 1941 Diamond-T ladder truck can be seen in the background in the north bay of the Mt. Carmel station as several volunteers examine a Scott airpack. Co. 5 member Anders Pederson is at the left. The three guys in the middle, Russ Smith, Bill Scott and Bill Davin (partially hidden), all became career department members in the mid-1960s.
HFRA meber Bill Davin completed thirty years with the department in 1995. Smith and Scott left for jobs in te private sector. The gentlemen at right is Co. 5 president Raymond K. Spencer, who joined the Mt. Carmel company in 1925 and remained a member until his passing in 1995. The annex built in 1975 was dedicated in his memory during the company's Centennial Celebration in 2011.
Below was how the truck looked when it was parked at Quinnipiac College for the 1986 Hamden Bicentennial Fire Muster, which took place where the law school building was erected in the 1990s. The exact whereabouts of the truck in 2014 is not known.
30 Years - Saxony Coat Company
Saturday, September 15, 1984
Saxony Coat Company Burned 30 Years Ago This Week - CLICK for news articles and photos
Kaye Vue Drive
Bill Brainard took these three photos of Hamden fire apparatus up on Kaye Vue Drive sometime in the mid-1960s. The nature of the call is not known. The 1965 Mack was Engine 4. The 1959 white Maxim "cab-forward" (below) was Engine 2. Hamden's only ladder truck was the 1958 Maxim 75-footer. The rescue unit - it's hard to tell whether it's R1 or R2 - was an International Travel-al.
Hamden's flirtation with white apparatus began in 1958, but was short-lived. The three white pieces in these photos, plus the other rescue and some staff vehicles were the only white vehicles purchased before the department returned to red with the 1965 Mack.
Bill Brainard, who lives in Warwick, Rhode Island, is the brother of longtime HFRA contribtor and honorary member Chan Brainard. Website thanks go out to Bill and Chan for these photos.
SEPTEMBER 5, 2014
43rd Annual Antique Fire Apparatus Show and Muster
Saturday, September 6, 2014
Eisenhower Park, Milford
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
08:00 Motorcade line-up at the Liberty Rock Shopping Plaza
08:30 Firematic flea market opens at muster site
09:00 Motorcade through Milford center to Eisenhower Park
10:00 Opening ceremonies
10:30 Competition and judging begins
17:00 Awards and trophy presentations
Featured this year is a beautifully restored 102-year old American-LaFrance city service ladder truck, owned and operated by the Southampton (NY) Fire Department.
1912 American-LaFrance City Service Ladder Truck CLICK to enlarge
The Hamden Fire Department's first new ladder truck in twenty years was placed in service in September 1990 with the delivery of this Pierce 105' rear mount "quint" aerial ladder truck. The new truck replaced Hamden's 1958 Maxim 75' and 1970 Maxim 100' aerial trucks. Both had been removed from service earlier in the year after an independent testing service declared them unsafe. In the interim the East Haven Fire Department lent the department its spare 1968 Seagrave 100' aerial ladder truck, which ran as Truck 1 out of Station 3 until the new truck was placed in service.
For years the department had been trying to acquire a replacement for the older trucks, but the chief's requests always fell on deaf political ears. Finally, following the May 1988 fire at the Davenport Residence, when New Haven and Cheshire each responded with a ladder truck through mutual aid, the Council scrambled to bond one new aerial truck in each of the next two fiscal years.
Hamden acquired its second new ladder truck with the delivery of the 1991 Pierce 100' tower ladder. The 1990 truck was then transferred to Station 5 as Truck 5. Equipped with a pump, attack lines and a tank of modest capacity, Truck 5 responded as an engine company on still alarms within its territory. On box assignments it functioned as a truck company.
At the time, the conventional wisdom among department members of all ranks was that the Town's purchase of two aerial trucks was typical Council overkill, when one ladder truck and two new pumpers for the same dime would have been preferable. But HFD got two new aerial trucks anyway, and waited seven more years for a new pumper to replace one that was 30 years old.
Now a spare, the 1990 Pierce 105' aerial truck is housed at Station 9. The 1991 Pierce 100' tower ladder was sold three years ago to the Austin (Indiana) Fire Department.
Hamden's 1990 Pierce 105' rear-mount aerial ladder truck at Station 5 (Photo by Frank Wegloski, courtesy of Daryl Osiecki)
Hamden 1991 Pierce was sold to Austin (Indiana) Fire Dept. in 2011. (Photo by Frank Wegloski, courtesy of Daryl Osiecki)
1966 Field Day
Once in awhile you find a photo you didn't know you had. This photo is cropped from a portion of a slide taken with the camera belonging to Ed Doiron, Sr. Since Ed is in the picture, the photo was most likely taken by Ed's first wife Pat during the June 12, 1966 Field Day at Brookvale Park. (That's the Field Day that was cut short by the fire at the Connecticut Doughnut Company.)
Standing (L-R) are Capt. Francis "Chalky" Leddy (are those "high tops?"), Ff. Jerold Bradbury, Ff. Russ Smith, Lt. Joe McDermott and Ff. Ed Doiron. In the uncropped original photo everyone is staring at the water trough for the bucket brigade.
When this photo was shot all of these guys, except Smith, worked on "old" Platoon 1. Capt. Leddy was at Station 2 and the rest were stationed at Putnam Avenue on Engine 3 and Rescue 1. Ff. Smith was on "old" Platoon 3. Within a few months of this photo Bradbury and Smith both left the department for jobs in private industry. Leddy retired in 1986, McDermott in 1991 and Doiron in 1993.
From The New Haven Register, Wednesday, September 4, 1963: Hamden firemen burned down a frame building Tuesday as a training exercise. The building was on the Olin Mathison Co. "powder farm" on Putnam Avenue. About a dozen firemen took part under the direction of Deputy Fire Chief Daniel Hume, the department's training officer. Fire Chief William Johnson [Sr.] of West Haven and Chief Thomas Hayes of East Haven attended the exercise as observers. (Photo and article courtesy of Chan Brainard)
September 3, 1963 - Exterior Live Fire Training, Winchester Powder Farm off Putnam Avenue
Unsafe At Any Speed
That was the title of Ralph Nader's 1965 exposé that led to many safety modifications on automobiles manufactured after its publication. Nader's book focused on design shortcomings in Chevy Corvairs manufactured between 1960 and 1964. The Corvair demolished in this double fatality was a later model, but all Corvairs had a rear mounted engine which could cause handling problems. During the first week of September 1966 a pair of Cheshire residents found this out the hard way. Traveling at a high rate of speed around a curve on wet pavement, the rear end of this vehicle swung sideways and slammed into the telephone pole at the northeast corner of Whitney Avenue and Carmel Street. The last Corvairs came off the assembly line in 1969.
September 1966 - An unidentified Hamden police officer examines the wreckage of a late-model Chevy Corvair at the corner of Whitney and Carmel.
September 6, 1980
At the 9th Annual Engine 260 Muster at Milford's Eisenhower Park, the crew of this pre-1910 Christie tractor-drawn steamer scurries to draft water from a trough. (Photo by Harold Wheatley - Posted 9/5/14)
AUGUST 22, 2014
November 4, 1987 - Platoon 4, Station 3
The occasion was Ff. Sam Jones' birthday. Ff. Roger Sullivan, still working on his piece of cake, is sitting at left. Nestled together snuggly on the "love seat," Lt. Dave Strawhince, Ff. Harold Mangler and Lt. Eddie Badamo hammed it up for photographer Shirley Mangler while they eagerly awaited the arrival of the night shift.
We have good reason to believe that Sam is probably the guy whose legs are stretched out at the right. Great photo!
CLICK to enlarge
65 Years Ago
Shirley Mangler took this great photo of Lieut. Howie Hurlburt, Jr. as Platoon 3 was picking up following a house fire on Hepburn Road in May 1991. Behind Howie is Ff. Ernie Braun.
Shirley took about a dozen other photos of this incident, which will be posted in the future.
Howie was on the job from July 1970 until he retired in the mid-1990s. He passed away in Arkansas last November at age 65.
The practice of appointing "substitute firemen" began in the 1930s, perhaps earlier, and continued until the early 1960s. Subs could be called to fill in whenever there was a shortage of regular personnel in the days when there was no overtime hiring due to personnel shortages. Many of the substitutes went on to become regular members of the career department.
This brief article appeared in the November 23, 1950 edition of The Hamden Chronicle. The Hamden Board of Fire Commissioners had just appointed fourteen substitutes, six of whom went on to become members of the career department. These included Michael "Mickey" Cantarella (1951-69), Joseph T. Collins (1951-57), Joseph McDermott (1953-1991), Frederick Knudsen (1951-86), Fiore "Frank" Cubbellotti (1951-1979), and John O'Hare (1953-1991).
A familiar HFD surname can be seen among this list of subs. Daniel C. Mordecai was the uncle of retired Lieutenants Jack and Bob Mordecai, great-uncle of active Firefighter Mike Mordecai. Bob Mordecai was not aware that his uncle had ever been a fire department substitute. He noted that his uncle pursued a career with the postal department as a mail carrier. Sadly, Daniel Mordecai died very young, in December 1953.
The Dextone Company
1335 Dixwell Avenue
Thursday, August 25, 1932
82 years ago this week a massive fire struck the Dextone Cement Comany, located at 1335 Dixwell Avenue. The blaze, of unknown origin, resulted in an estimated $160,500 in damages (over $2.6 million in today's dollars). The business was located on the east side of Dixwell Avenue, between Newton and Collins Streets.
The fire was apparently first noticed by personnel at the Acme Wire Company, located just south of Dextone, because they began sounding their factory whistle. This caught the attention of two Dextone night watchmen who investigated and found the rear of their building already well involved.
At 10:45 p.m. someone pulled Box 47 at the corner of Dixwell and Putnam. According to the HFD logbook of responses (1931-40), seventy-nine members of seven volunteer fire companies responded. All fire apparatus cleared by 4:30 the following morning. Several firefighter injuries were reported, one requiring hospitalization.
An August 28, 1952 Hamden Chronicle article commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Dextone blaze (see below) provides additional details of that conflagration, as well as other notable Hamden fires of the first half of the 20th century.
CLICK ON ARTICLE BELOW TO ENLARGE FOR EASIER READING
CLICK to enlarge for easier reading (Courtesy of the Hamden Historical Society)
Entry in the Hamden Fire Department Response Logbook - August 1932 (CLICK to enlarge)
NOTE: To maintain the accuracy of historical information for future researchers, the above image of the 1952 Chronicle article has been modified to correct several factual errors.
Furthermore, in the article's second paragraph, the dollar loss in a July 1923 fire in a smelting plant off State Street was cited as $250,000, Hamden's worst dollar loss in a fire. However, a 1934 account of Hamden's worst fires (image below), authored by three prominent Hamden fire officials, gave the estimated loss in the 1923 fire as $25,000.
More research is needed, of course, but if the $25,000 loss amount for the 1923 fire is correct, then the Dextone fire loss of $160,500 ($2,560,000.00+ in today's dollars) is, in fact, the heaviest financial loss in any Hamden fire to date.
From the June 10, 1934 program for the Second Annual Hamden Firemen's Memorial Service
1337 Dixwell Avenue today (Vision Appraisal)
1934 - Site of Dextone Co. two years after the fire (CLICK to enlarge) - From the State of Connecticut Digital Collection
AUGUST 8, 2014
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
CLICK to enlarge
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 into the south bay between the wall and the rescue.
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