That was what Deputy Chief Gary Merwede reported on Wednesday, a full day after the snow stopped falling. He sent along this photo of Squad 1 firefighters Mike DeLine, Jr. and Nick Borelli as they shoveled out yet another hydrant somewhere in their territory on Wednesday.
Eastern and northeastern Connecticut got slammed, but the blizzard that hit the state on Tuesday-Wednesday was a little kinder to Hamden. Nevertheless, a lot of snow was deposited and the department was out doing what it always does when these things happen. Fortunately, no fires of any significance were reported.
Thank you, Deputy Chief Merwede, for sending in the photo. And congratulations, too. Today - January 30th - marks the first anniversary of his swearing-in as Deputy Chief.
Calendar to Commemorate Department's 90th Anniversary
HFRA Assisting Fireworks Committee
July 2015 will mark the 90th anniversary of the Hamden Fire Department. By 1925, Hamden's fire protection had been provided by its seven independent volunteer fire companies, starting with Highwood Co. 1 in 1896. But when the Hamden Fire Department was created under the General Statutes of the State of Connecticut in July of 1925, all the volunteer companies came under the municipal authority of a Board of Fire Commissioners and Building Inspector Charles Loller was appointed fire chief.
To honor the department's 90th anniversary and to raise funds for its 2015 fireworks display, the Hamden Volunteer Firefighters Fireworks Committee, in cooperation with the Hamden Fire Retirees Assn., is creating an 18-month commemorative calendar, covering July 2015 to December 2016.
The HFD 90th Anniversary Commemorative Calendar will feature scores of historic photos of Hamden fire apparatus, Hamden volunteer and career personnel and memorable Hamden fires. It promises to be a highly collectible keepsake that will delight and inspire readers to know more about the Hamden Fire Department for many years to come.
The calendar is expected to be ready for sale by early April. It will be available through the Fireworks Committee, the HFRA and the Hamden Historical Society. Local businesses will be encouraged to sell them as well.
For the next six weeks, area businesses and professional & fraternal organizations will be invited to support this year's fireworks by purchasing ads on commemorative calendar pages that will be around long after the 18 months are a distant memory.
Calendar and ad sales will help the Fireworks Committee raise money for the 2015 fireworks.
The calendar will also help the Hamden Fire Retirees Association to highlight and promote
a long and rich HFD history, as it strives to acquire space for a future HFD museum.
We encourage all Hamden businesses and organizations to support the calendar project.
- YOUR 2015-16 CALENDAR AD WILL BE AS MUCH A PART OF
Simultaneous Calls Keep Hamden Firefighters Busy 54 Years Ago
A two-alarm fire destroyed a woodworking shop on the corner of Alstrum Street and Cherry Ann Street on an icy morning 54 years ago. About an hour after dispatch of the second alarm, another fire was reported a few blocks away at 117 North Street. Fortunately, the second call was mostly smoke with little damage to the home's kitchen. The Alstrum Street job, however, did $75,000 worth of damage to the building, which was insured for only about half that figure. The building was eventually razed and a one story masonary structure built in its place. In the 1970s it housed a U.I. Co. meter repair facility.
CLICK ON ARTICLE TO ENLARGE FOR EASIER READING
The New Haven Register, January 30, 1961 (Courtesy of Chan Brainard) CLICK to enlarge for easier reading
Hamden firefighters got hammered again a few days later, during the February 1st night shift, when fire heavily damaged a large home on Whitney Avenue at Home Place. As firefighters were taking up from that call, another fire was reported at 218 Skiff Street by Engine 3 while en route to Station 2 to change hose.
January 27, 1905 - "Upper" Axle Works Burns in Mount Carmel
There is no record of exactly how the fire was extinguished. Was it by human intervention or merely the exhaustion of fuel sources? But when fire destroyed Mt. Carmel's Upper Axle Works 110 years ago this week, only Highwood and Centerville had organized fire companies. Mt. Carmel did not have any organized fire protection until over six years later, when two volunteer companies were established there in late 1911.
The "Upper" Axle Works, on the east side of Whitney Avenue, north of Mt. Carmel Avenue (Courtesy of the Hamden Historical Society)
Hartford Courant, January 28, 1905
c. 1907 - A new building was soon occupied by the Liberty Cartridge Company after the Axle Works packed it in.
The Mt. Carmel Volunteer Fire Company met for the first time on November 8th in St. Mary's Hall, on the present site Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church. On December 2nd, the North Hamden Improvement Society met to organize a fire company at the building in the photo above, that replaced the one that burned in January 1905. By 1911, the Axle Works businss was history and the Liberty Cartridge Co. occupied the new building.
In 1924, the North Hamden Fire Company donated its assets (and its members) to the fire company a mile further south, known on their charter as the "Mt. Carmel Volunteer Fire Company No. 1." The wood frame replacement of the original Axle Works building was still standing when aerial photos of the area were taken in 1934.
Courtesy of Chan Brainard
In 2015, Darien's 1949 Quad is Alive, Well, and Looking Very Pretty in Louisiana
Stephen Hebert contacted our website earlier this week with an update on Darien's classic 1949 Model 58QD city service ladder truck, the factory photo of which was posted here three months ago. Steve is the rig's third owner. He reports that "she is lead truck in New Orleans Mardi Gras every year."
Steve sent us several photos of his meticulously restored truck, including the one below, taken as it was being prepared for a Christmas parade. The raised diamond plate hides a very handy feature that is not likely to be found on any other piece of fire apparatus currently in service. (See the second photo below.)
Today, Darien's 1949 Ward LaFrance shines in Louisiana
Perfect for after the parade, when the beer starts flowing. On the other side is a fridge and a wine rack.
Steve writes, the "That was our custom design and the lids are retractable with servo motors. It's a trick deal!"
Line roster nearly complete following recent retirements
Photos by Bob Mordecai
Mayor Scott Jackson and Chief David Berardesca looked on as Hamden Town Clerk Vera Morrison administered oaths to Hamden's four newest firefighters Friday morning in the town hall rotunda. From left to right are Ff. Matthew Kellick, Ff./EMT John Paul Cristini, Ff./EMT Zachary Criscuolo and Ff./EMT Michael Colandrea.
Firefighter Kellick comes to Hamden from service in the UConn Health Center Fire Department and American Medical Response, and Firefighter Cristini served previously with the Willimantic Fire Department.
Firefighter Criscuolo is a North Haven volunteer and a recent Connecticut Fire Academy graduate. He is a United States Navy Submarine Veteran. North Haven Fire Chief Vincent Landisio and other North Haven fire personnel also attended the swearing-in ceremony.
Firefighter Colandrea, the department's former hydrant maintainer, is a North Branford volunteer and also a recent Connecticut Fire Academy graduate. A contingent of firefighters from North Branford also attended.
Ff. Colandrea's dad pins on his badge
Ff. Criscuolo's grandmother does the honors
Ff. Cristini's dad pins on his badge
Ff. Kellick dad pins it on
The members of the Hamden Fire Retirees Association wish Firefighters Colandrea, Criscuolo, Cristini and Kellick long, fulfilling and safe careers with the Hamden Fire Department.
Family, friends, new colleagues and even a few retirees were all on hand to give the four new recruits a warm welcome to the HFD.
30 Years Ago!
1206-1216 Dixwell Avenue Thursday, January 24, 1985
(This article originally posted on January 24, 2010)
A multi-alarm fire in the bank section of Hamden heavily damaged the two-story commercial building popularly known as the French-Italian Building. The fire started in an electrical panel in the rear of the second floor and quickly spread into the voids above.
Firefighters quickly initiated an interior attack but were hindered in their efforts to confine the blaze. A common cockloft above false ceilings allowed the fire to extend into confined spaces that were impossible to reach. After about an hour, a very large air-conditioning unit atop the already weakened roof necessitated the evacuation of all firefighters from the building. Shortly thereafter the air-conditioning unit fell through. The fire was finally extinguished with master streams from both ladder trucks. Four firefighters received minor injuries.
Erected in 1948, the classic Art Deco design building housed six stores on the first floor and ten commercial offices on the second. The French-Italian Importing Company, a one-story liquor store that was partitioned from the main building, was located right on the corner of Dixwell and Helen.
The building was rebuilt within a year. The French-Italian Importing Company is still in business today. At least three Hamden firefighters, Fred Knudsen, Danny O'Connell, and Burt Hillocks, worked there part-time on their days off from the fire department. Burt recently recalled that he used to make local deliveries for the liquor store and noted that the folks who owned French-Italian Imports were nice folks to work for.
Firefighter Clark Hurlburt and an unidentified firefighter during overhaul - CLICK on the photo to see the caption added by D/C Walt Macdowall
Clark wrote,"Looking carefully at the photo you can see [Cmdr.] Joe McDermott in back [white helmet - lower left]. The story behind this is we were in the back pulling ceilings when the ladder pipe was turned back on. Went from clear to zero in about ten seconds. Those were the days when you removed your pack during overhaul and long before everyone had a portable radio to hear bailout orders." And "bail out" was ordered shortly thereafter - watch the video.
CLICK for all photos and articles
French-Italian Fire 1206-1216 Dixwell Avenue Thursday, January 24, 1985
CLICK on the photo at LEFT to view a webpage devoted to the fire at the
Hoffmeister Barn on Wintergreen Avenue Tuesday, January 25, 1955
Two alarms - 3,000 foot lay of 2-1/2"
OK, calculate the friction loss w/100 GPM flowing (How about 200 GPM?)
Ff. Ken Harrington is atop the ladder of the 1952 Dodge maintenance truck.
From the January 26, 1955 edition of the New Haven Evening Register (courtesy of the New Haven Free Public Library microfilm collection)
(Photo by Thomas Waite, Jr.)
January 25, 1955 - Firefighter Bill Hines pumping the new 1954 Maxim 750 pumper from the hydrant at Wintergreen Avenue and Pleasant Drive, not Geen Hill Road, as the article stated (Green Hill does not intersect with Wintergreen).
Bill Hines was promoted to lieutenant the following year and was still an active department member when he passed away in May 1979 following a brief illness.
It is with deep regret that we announce the passing on January 21st of HFRA Honorary Member Mae Bellemore, widow of our brother retiree Hamden Firefighter Lawrence Bellemore, Sr. (1921-1989). Mae was 91. Funeral services were held Friday morning in the Sisk Brothers Funeral Home, 3105 Whitney Avenue, Hamden. Burial to followed in Centerville Cemetery. For complete details go to the Sisk Brothers webpage for Mae's obituary:
The minutes of the January 8th meeting and the 2014 Treasurer's Report have been posted in the MEMBERS ONLY pages. Click on the MEMBERS ONLY tab on the above menu, enter your user name and password, then go to the appropriate page.
If you have forgotten your user name or password, or if you do not have them, please contact us at HFDbadge102@aol.com.
Radio Station WDEE 473 Denslow Hill Road Thursday, January 21, 1965
Hamden's Third Major Fire in Two Months Silenced a Local Radio Station __________
The Beatles' "I Feel Fine" was No. 1 on the charts, but the folks at WDEE weren't feeling it.
The 1960s was the golden age of Top-40 radio. The target audience of many AM radio stations all over the U.S. were the early baby boomers who were in high school. FM radio, still the mainstay of classical and so-called "elevator music," would not become the predominant medium of rock music until the 1970s.
Every Top-40 radio station had its fair share of "Ron Radio" DJs, who talked a mile a minute and who could do a perfectly timed "talk up" over the musical intro of any song, finishing their spiels the very instant Elvis, Aretha, or the Beach Boys started singing.
If you're over 60, you probably remember local DJs like Bill Beamish, Ed Flynn, Bob Terry, Tracy and, of course, T.J. Martin, along with the many others who spun those immortal recordings of our youth that we now can download to our iPhones.
In 1965, most Hamden kids were listening to at least one of three local Top-40 radio stations: WPOP (1410 KHz) in Hartford, WAVZ (1300 KHz) in New Haven, and WDEE (1220 KHz), located in a converted ranch house on Denslow Hill Road right here in Hamden.
Unlike WPOP and WAVZ, Hamden's radio station WDEE was a "daytimer," with a relatively low power output and an FCC license that restricted its airtime to daylight hours only. This restriction meant that WDEE's broadcasting hours varied with the length of the day. In summer, you could listen until almost 9. In winter, they were off the air by dinnertime, a possible factor in the destruction of WDEE.
On Wednesday, January 20, 1965 in Washington, D.C., Lyndon B. Johnson was inaugurated for a full term as President. At Columbia Records in Hollywood, the Byrds recorded the Bob Dylan classic "Mr. Tambourine Man." By late afternoon in Hamden, WDEE had signed off the air. Everyone at the station had gone home by 7. Sometime between then and early Thursday morning, things began to heat up. Whatever caused the fire - the cause was never determined - it got a good head start before flames were discovered by neighbors in the wee hours of the following morning. (continued below)
CLICK on any of the images below to enlarge for reading.
CLICK to see what kids were listening to on WDEE, and elsewhere, in 1965.
WDEE was back on the air within days of the fire, with temporary studios and offices located in a building in the northeastern corner of 60 Connolly Parkway. Radio station WELI, a local competitor, even donated records of its own to help WDEE get back on its feet. A new WDEE studio was built on the site of the old one, only to suffer a similar fate in the late 1970s (more on that fire at a later date).
WDEE's FM station (101.3 MHz) was later sold to Kopps-Monahan Communications and became WKCI. WKCI continued to play easy listening music until 1979, when it switched formats with its new sister AM station, WAVZ, and became a rock station.
In the years following the fire at WDEE, the radio station changed call letters several times as ownership changed. In the late 1960s it became WCDQ, then WOMN, then WSCR. Finally, in the 1990s, the radio station was purchased by Quinnipiac University. Radio station WQUN (1220 KHz) is now located on Whitney Avenue, just north of Station 5 in Mount Carmel.
Originally Posted 1/4/11
1st Selectman Herbert Hume
January 16, 1956
24 Norris Street
Hamden First Selectman Herbert Hume turned in the alarm by pulling Box 125 at Norris and Whitney. Quick-thinking owner saved his brand new 1955 auto from flames (maybe it was a Chevy).
Mr. Hume served as a Hamden fire commissioner from 1941 until he was elected First Selectman in November 1955. His brother, Dep. Chief Daniel Hume, was Hamden's first fulltime fire training officer, from 1956 until he retired in 1974.
Norris and Whitney (CLICK here)
The First Selectman was Hamden's chief executive until the Mayor-Council form of town government was adopted January 1, 1966. Mr. Hume served until the last day of 1957, when First Selectman John DeNicola, Sr. took office. DeNicola would served three terms as First Selectman and one term as Hamden's first mayor.
New Haven Register article and original news photos courtesy of Sid Trower's family and D/C Gary Merwede
1967 - Station 3 (Putnam Avenue) - Firefighter Joe Yoga at the watch desk
Website thanks to Lillian Yoga for sending in this 1967 photo of her husband Joe, when he was assigned to old Station 3 on Platoon 2. Note Joe's department issued necktie ("Is that a clip-on?" - yup). Firefighters were required to wear their neckties when sitting watch to present a good appearance when greeting station visitors. Other watch duties, besides answering the phone and greeting visitors, included acknowledging alarms on the "house phone" and making entries in the station log book, such as changes in road conditions or equipment status and station visits by chief officers.
Joe Yoga was very active in the HFRA up until his passing last May.
37 Years Ago
This New Haven Register photo from Sid Trower's scrapbook shows Platoon 2 firefighters at Station 3 shoveling the expansive ramp on a snowy evening in January 1978. This photo could have been taken the start of a substantial snowfall that began on January 19th or 20th, which was dwarfed less than three weeks later by the infamous "Blizzard of '78."
The members of the Hamden Fire Retirees Association extend our sincere condolences to the family of
New Haven Firefighter/Paramedic Linda Cohens, and to our brothers and sisters of the
New Haven Fire Department, on the sudden passing of Firefighter Cohens.
Hamden Fire Retirees Association, Inc.
CLICK here for daily flag status
FRIDAY, JANUARY 9, 2015
Website is updated every Friday - Important interim updates will be posted when necessary
Twenty members braved single digit temps to attend the twenty-fifth meeting of the Hamden Fire Retirees' Association on Thursday, January 8th - its first breakfast meeting. When concerns were raised earlier in the week that an anticipated Thursday morning cold snap might affect attendance, John O'Hare noted in classic fashion, "My car has a heater."
The current status of the Pension Obligation Bonds was reviewed for the members present. A by-law change doubling the terms of all Association officers passed unanimously. The Association will also begin taking steps to obtain a site for a museum. Following the meeting, Brian Forsyth put on an excellent buffet of breakfast fare.
Complete meeting minutes will be posted on the website's Members Only pages in the near future. Check back.
Tom Doherty presented the Association with an historic sign he acquired earlier in the week from someone who saved it from being discarded after Co. 9 disbanded in 1988. It appears to be the first sign that hung on the outside of the West Woods Volunteer Co. 9 fire station right after it had been converted from Hamden's last one-room school house in 1957.
January 8th Winter Quarterly HFRA Meeting at the Elks (Photo by Bob Mordecai)
L-R: Ray Dobbs, Clark Hurlburt, Chick Manware, Dave Johnson, Tom Doherty, Bob Surprise, Bob Anthony, John O'Dea, Ralph Tortora, John Reynolds, Ray Ramelli, Dan Murphy, Jim Leddy, John O'Hare, Doug Yocher, Harold Mangler, Augie Williams and Brian Forsyth. (Ed Doiron and Bob Mordecai not pictured - Morty was behind the camera!)
Dep. Fire Marshal Lunn
The Hamden Board of Fire Commssioners has appointed 19-year department veteran Firefighter Timothy Lunn as Deputy Fire Marshal. Dep. Marshal Lunn replaces Brian Dolan, recently named Fire Marshal following the retirement of Marshal Dennis Harrison. Asst. Supt. of Apparatus Jim LaFond, who has been with the department for six years, was named Superintendent of Apparatus following the recent retirement of Supt. Don Buechele. The two men were sworn in Friday morning, January 9th, in the Town Hall rotunda.
Hamden Town Clerk Vera Morrison swears in Dep. Fire Marshal Tim Lunn (left) and
Superintendent of Apparatus Jim LaFond (right) in the rotunda of Memorial Town Hall.
(Both swearing-in photos taken by and courtesy of Dep. Chief Gary Merwede)
On the 47th anniversary of the fire that destroyed most of the historic Woodfuff factory at the corner of Ives and Broadway, the website is republishing the 2008 account of the fire as originally posted on the Local 2687 website's "Historian's Page."
Fleming Co., Broadway at Ives Street Friday, January 12, 1968
Major fire launches a transitional year for the Hamden Fire Department
(Originally published on the Local 2687 website in January 2008)
Unless otherwise noted, all photos below are by John Mongillo, Jr.
It has been forty years, but Jean Law will never forget the early morning hours of Friday, January 12, 1968, when she was wakened by loud voices outside her home at 203 South New Road. Jean didn’t see any people when she peeked out of her front picture window, only a huge orange glow reflecting on the houses across the street. But it was a different story when she looked out a rear window, through the leaf-bare trees across Mill River to Broadway. Now well into her eighties*, Jean easily recalls how she sat by the window that morning witnessing one of the most spectacular blazes in Hamden history. *Jean, still very active, turned 95 on January 8, 2015.
According to newspaper accounts, as well as recollections from firefighters who were there, a truck driver heading north on Ridge Road at about 3:45 that morning noticed a glow in the sky. Wanting to check it out, the man drove his truck down Broadway, following the glow to the George W. Fleming Co., where he found the south end of the rambling 133-year old brick building fully involved. He was the only spectator.
The truck driver raced up Ives to Whitney and pulled onto the ramp at Station 5. In those somewhat simpler times Hamden firehouses were always unlocked, so he had no trouble getting inside. He ran to the watch desk and picked up the “house phone,” which was basically a P.A. system to all fire stations, and shouted, “Fire! Fire!” over the loud speakers of every fire station in town.
Firefighters Mario “Bucky” Serafino and Gerry Wolf were asleep upstairs at Station 5. When wakened by their visitor, Serafino and Wolf were able to relay further details to dispatcher Russ Norman over the inside PBX line. Russ immediately dispatched Bucky and Gerry on Engine 5, as well as Engine 4 and Rescue 2 out of Station 4 and Ladder 1 out of Station 2. The volunteers of Co. 5 were then "toned out."
The New Haven Register reported, “When the first company reached the scene, the fire was surging through the roof and lashing along the sides of the structure.” Fire Chief V. Paul Leddy had no trouble seeing the conflagration from his Cumpstone Drive home. He immediately ordered a second alarm, which brought Engine 2 from Station 2, Engine 3 and Rescue 1 from old Station 3 on Putnam Avenue, as well as additional volunteer companies 7 and 9. North Haven dispatched a pumper from their West Ridge station.
According to an account in The Hamden Chronicle, the building had been erected in 1835 by James Ives as the Mt. Carmel Brass Works. Later, it was occupied by W. Woodruff and Sons, which manufactured various hardware items during the early half of the 20th Century.
At the time of the fire, the principal occupant of the building was the George W. Fleming Co., manufacturers of cutlery (see related "cutlery" item below). However, the manufacturing end of the business had moved to Wallingford only a few months earlier. By the time of the fire, the Fleming Co. portion of the building was being used only as a warehouse for their products. The Ives Street end of the building complex previously housed the Sterling Beverage Co. By January 1968, Sterling Beverage had rented their part of the building to the Cott Beverage Co. of New Haven for storage.
The building was heavily involved when the first apparatus arrived. The main objective was saving the undamaged portions of the structure, as well as protecting the adjacent exposures on Broadway. The home of the Rexford Barnes family, right next door at 40 Broadway, was only about twenty feet from the southern end of the building.
It was a bitter cold night, with temperatures hovering around zero. Parallel 2½” water supply lines were pumped from a 3-way hydrant on Ives Street near New Rd. Two ancient 2-way hydrants were located further down Broadway at #58 and #100. At least one of them was frozen. The Register reported, “Hose lines were stretched to nearby Mill River in order to pump water, but Chief [V. Paul] Leddy noted that firemen had some difficulty with pumps freezing intermittently.”
Retired Battalion Chief Thomas Doherty, a seven-year veteran at the time, recalls having been recently transferred from Headquarters (now Station 4) to Station 2, where he was assigned to drive Ladder 1, the 1958 Maxim 75-foot aerial ladder truck. When the alarm sounded, Firefighters Doherty and Bill Mulcahy responded from Station 2 in the open-cab truck in sub-zero temperatures.
Today, Chief Doherty recalls that by the time they got to the fire he and Mulcahy were both frozen stiff. They were ordered to set up the aerial ladder pipe to protect the Ives Street end of the building, which was saved and remains standing to this day. Despite the intense radiant heat and flying brands, efforts to protect the Barnes’ home and the other homes immediately south of the building were successful, as well.
Firefighters Ed Doiron and Mickey Cantarella were on Engine 6 at 21 Merritt Street. The only paid company left in service, Engine 6 relocated to Station 3 on Putnam Avenue to cover the town with Volunteer Co. 8. [NOTE: No career firefighters were assigned to Co. 9 until the “new” Station 9 was opened in December 1968.]
Ff. Charlie Carlson, Lt. Ken Harrington and Ff. Joe Shields take a break after the fire was under control.
The shift commander was Deputy Chief Joseph Hromadka (above in white helmet), who told the Register that the blaze was “one of the largest that he could remember” in his 32 years on the Department. Chief Hromadka was one of the original two shift commanders to be appointed from among the ranks of the career firefighters when the Department was reorganized with paid officers in 1942.
Having joined Volunteer Co. 5 in October 1966, I did not yet have a “Plectron” radio, the dinosaur plug-in ancestor of today’s pagers. Hearing news accounts of the fire on my car radio after two morning classes at SCSC, I finally arrived at the scene well after the fire had been knocked down. But I was just in time to help roll up the hundreds of feet of 2½ that had spaghettied all over Broadway.
As I recall, the firefighters on Engine 5 that day shift were Fred Fletcher and Dave Howe. I would work with Dave twelve years later at Mt. Carmel. Once all the hose was rolled up, fellow Co. 5 volunteer Bill Kelly and I rode the tailboard of Engine 5 to Station 2 to help change hose. This was my first ride on a tailboard.
When we arrived at 2’s, the “paid guys” were only too happy to let Bill and me assist in repacking Engine 5 with 1,000 feet of fresh 2½. We were eager to pitch in and learn how to keep the end folds even with something called a "Flying Dutchman." This was still a couple of years before all hose beds were split into separate bays of 2½” and 3” hose for parallel lays, and seventeen years before the introduction of large diameter hose.
Some modern historians say that 1968 was a transitional year for America. On a somewhat smaller scale, 1968 was also a transitional year for the Hamden Fire Department.
At the time of the Fleming Company fire in January, Engine 1 was a 1938 Seagrave 600 g.p.m. pumper at Station 2 – the Department’s spare.
Engine 2 was a 1959 Maxim “cab-forward” 750 g.p.m. pumper.
Engine 3 was a 1954 Maxim 750 g.p.m. pumper.
Engine 4 was a 1965 Mack 750 g.p.m. pumper, the Department’s first commercial-chassis apparatus since the Diamond-T engines of the early 1940s.
And Engines 5 & 6 were identical 1951 and 1952 Maxim 750 g.p.m. pumpers.
In 1968, Hamden’s first paid Fire Marshal, Al Purce, and the first Superintendent of Alarms & Apparatus, Clem Wetmore, were both nearing retirement but were still on the job.
The Department’s only ladder truck was the aforementioned 1958 75-foot Maxim “Junior” Aerial at Station 2. The rescue units – this was three years before Hamden’s first group of EMTs – were 1958 and 1960 International Travelalls, similar to today’s Chevy Suburbans.
By the end of 1968, the Town had purchased two new identical Maxim S-model 1000 GPM pumpers that were placed in service at Stations 3 and 4. The 1965 Mack became Engine 2. The 1959 Maxim cab-forward became Engine 1, and the 1938 Seagrave "canopy-cab" was sold, regrettably, to a party who scrapped it for the value of its brass pump.
Hamden's first new fire station since the Hamden Fire Department was created under the Connecticut General Statutes in 1925 was dedicated on December 8, 1968. Station 9 opened with one paid man on each of the three platoons. "Paid" Engine 9 was the 1951 Maxim pumper.
By the end of 1968, Marshal Purce and Supt. Wetmore had retired. Their vacancies were filled by Captain Bob “Bubby” O’Donnell and Asst. Supt. Richard Lostritto, respectively.
Also in 1968, the Town and the Hamden Paid Firemen’s Sick Benefit Association, which had become the bargaining unit for non-management fire personnel, agreed on the implementation of a 42-hour workweek to commence on October 6, 1970. Since 1951, line personnel had worked an average of 56 hours a week (four days on, two days off, etc.).
Two years later, old Station 3 on Putnam Avenue and Station 6 on Merritt Street were both closed when “new” Station 3 opened at Hartford Turnpike and Ridge Road in September of 1970. The new station housed Engine 3, Engine 6, Rescue 1, the Deputy Chief (shift commander), and a second truck company, Ladder 2, a new 1970 Maxim 100-foot aerial truck.
When they were delivered in the late 1950s, the 1958 Maxim aerial ladder truck and the 1959 Maxim “cab-forward” pumper were both painted white, the Hamden Board of Fire Commissioners being somewhat enamored of the New Haven "look." But in 1971, five years after a charter revision put the fire chief squarely in charge of the Department, the 1958 Maxim ladder and the 1959 Maxim pumper were repainted red. The truck also received a new convertible-type soft top that kept the rain off your head, but did little to abate the frigid winter temperatures.
The '58 Maxim aerial ladder truck remained at Station 2 until April 9, 1976, when it was transferred to Station 5’s new annex built the previous year. In November of 1984 the truck was transferred once again, this time to Station 9. The following year, it was removed from service and redesignated "Truck 2." The 1970 100-foot aerial ladder truck, now designated “Truck 1,” became the Department’s only truck company. Both trucks were retired in early 1990.
The two white International rescue trucks were removed from service in 1971 when the Department’s first “modular” unit, Rescue 1, was assigned to Station 4. The ornate gold leafing that decorated the new bright red 1971 Ford cab and box resulted in the somewhat whimsical, if not affectionate nickname, “the Circus Wagon.”
For the next several years, Engine 2 handled all rescue calls in the south end of Hamden. With the introduction of paramedic service, Rescue 2, on a 1975 Ford chassis, went in service at Station 2 on April 9, 1976.
Engine Co. 6 at new Station 3 was deactivated in 1974. The 1959 Maxim “cab-forward,” which had been Engine 1 from 1968 to 1974, was moved to Station 3 and became Engine 6, the Department’s permanent spare pumper. In 1981, it was repowered with a new diesel engine and remained in reserve until the early 1990s.
Hamden Fire Department (Ret.)
January 8, 2008
Originally posted on the Local 2687 website - 1/12/08
And now for the rest of the story . . .
Hundreds of these cutlery sets were being warehoused at the Fleming Co. the night of the fire. After all the hose was taken up, some of these souvenirs found their way out of the rubble and back at the fire stations. This resulted in a sternly worded admonition from Chief Leddy that all cutlery liberated from the Fleming Co. shall be returned to the watch desk at Headquarters - "no questions asked." This particular set, in pristine condition, was donated by an unnamed 1968 "paid guy," who apparently never read the memo.
(Photo courtesy of Gilbert Spencer)
This stern view of Hamden's new Seagrave canopy cab pumper was taken sometime between June 1938 and June 1939 at Station 4, when the bay doors at Headquarters (Station 4) faced north. The white building off to the right was torn down years ago to make way for the parking lot across from Eli's. The dark building next to the fire station was razed in April 2013. An addition to Eli's is now on that site.
Construction to move the bay doors to face Whitney Avenue began in November 1939 and was completed by early 1940.
Please keep the NYPD and all others who serve in law enforcement
in your thoughts and prayers this holiday season.
Be safe, brothers and sisters!
Hamden Fire Retirees Association, Inc.
CLICK here for daily flag status
FRIDAY, JANUARY 2, 2015
Website is updated every Friday - Important interim updates will be posted when necessary
Firefighter-Paramedic John Spencer, assigned to Rescue 2 on Platoon 1, sustained second degrees burns to his face during a valiant attempt by first due firefighters to rescue a 14-year old youth believed to be trapped on the second floor of a Bradley Avenue house in January 1988. It turned out that the youth was actually at school. Firefighter Spencer, now Battalion Chief Spencer, was at the time the youngest member of the department, having been appointed a year earlier. Spencer's helmet is graphic evidence of the intense heat to which he was exposed.
Firefighter Paul Reutenauer is riding the tailboard of Engine 4 in this early 1960s slide taken by Lieut. Bill Hines. The pumper was the department's 1954 Maxim that was 50% financed through a grant from Civil Defense, hence the "CD" logo on the cab doors. Those logos were replaced by decals of the Town of Hamden seal when the pumper was repainted in the early 1970s. The pumper remained in service until the early 1990s, serving last as Engine 15 of the Mt. Carmel Volunteer Fire Co. No. 5.
This photo was among several images recently acquired from Bill's widow, Ernestine Hines, with the help of retiree Bob Slater. More will be posted here in the near future.
1958 - HFD Firefighters Offer Opinions on New Years Resolutions
The Suburban Spokesman, Thursday, January 2, 1958 (Courtesy of the family of Sid Trower)
The Inquiring Photographer in the second to last issue of The Suburban Spokesman spotlighted four Station 2 Hamden firefighters who expressed candid personal opinions on new years resolutions. Firefighters Dick Stacey, Michael "Mickey" Cantarella, Hugh McLean and Sid Trower served a total of 120 years on the HFD. Stacey was promoted to lieutenant in 1973.
The Suburban Spokesman: The Chronicle's "Edsel"
October 10, 1957 - January 9, 1958
In late 1957, Ford Motor Company executives and the publishers of The Hamden Chronicle all had something in common. Both groups introduced innovative products they believed the public would accept with wild enthusiasm.
On September 4, 1957, the Ford Motor Co. introduced the Edsel, nicknamed at the time "a Mercury sucking a lemon." On October 10, 1957, The Hamden Chroniclemorphed from the ever popular and successful eleven-year old weekly newspaper into The Suburban Spokesman. Both innovations were equally successful.
When The Hamden Chronicle first made the scene in August 1946 it carried Hamden news as well as news from the adjacent towns of North Haven and Cheshire. But The Suburban Spokesman expanded local news coverage to a larger number of New Haven area communities, including Bethany, Orange and Woodbridge. The experiment of a regional weekly fizzled after only three months, andThe Hamden Chronicle resumed regular weekly publication on Thursday, January 16, 1958. The Chronicleceased publication several years ago, merging with The North Haven Post to become The Post-Chronicle.
Unlike the Ford Motor Company, and to their credit, the publishers of the Spokesman didn't wait two years to pull the plug on their bomb.
From 100 Years of Ford. Publications International, Ltd: 2003
There was a time . . .
There was a time when the Town of Hamden recognized the service of public safety employees who had achieved the twenty-five year milestone. This New Haven Register news article from the first week of the Bicentennial Year of 1976 featured Chief V. Paul Leddy presenting "25-Year" pins to Superintendent Richard Lostritto, Capt. Burt Hillocks and Ff. Larry Bellemore. A fourth honoree, Ff. Bob "Whitey" Williams, is pictured in the inset.
All four department members joined the HFD in September 1950 (see news photo below), and together they ran up 122 years of service. Richie Lostritto, who served the longest (35 years), has been a member of the HFRA since it was organized in 2009.
Four of the seven 1950 recruits in this photo would receive their 25-year pins and would go on to serve a total of 122 years.
This wartime photo taken by I.A. Sneiderman at the New Haven Green, perhaps in conjunction with Fire Prevention Week 1943, shows three distinctly different eras of fire apparatus. The turn-of-the-[20th]-century steamer on the left has been motorized with what appears to be a circa 1910 Seagrave tractor. It is labeled "HFD," but it is not from Hamden. Hartford, perhaps? The 1915 Seagrave pumper in the middle labeled "Engine Company No. 14" is undoubtedly a New Haven piece from the Prospect Hill District station on Highland Street, that had yet to be painted white. The "streamlined" Seagrave pumper at right was state-of-the-art. Labeled "Emergency 1," this pumper operated out of Station 12 on Crown Street.* 1943 was when New Haven apparatus was going from red to white.