It is with deep regret that we report the passing of our brother retiree, Richard "Ricky" Kenyon, husband of Luciana Maio Kenyon. Ricky passed away unexpectedly on Thursday, May 16, 2013 in Florida, where he and his wife were residing. Rick was the father of Kimberly (Mark) Rapela and Nicole (Raymond) Phelan. Stepfather of John (Diana) Kusmit and Jeffrey (Amy) Kusmit. Loving grandfather of Lauren, Victoria, Brendan, Olivia, Tyler, Connor and Alexander. He also leaves behind his one sister Nancy Stanish.
Ricky served in the U.S. Army for four years. He joined the Hamden Fire Department in July 1969 and served until his retirement in April 1993. Ricky was a dedicated firefighter and was for many years a tireless negotiator for our three bargaining units, the Hamden Paid Firemen's Sick Benefit Association, the Hamden Firefighters Association and the Hamden Professional Firefighters Association, Local 2687, IAFF. In recent years, Ricky was a frequent contributor to the website, emailing links to online stories about labor issues concerning retirees.
Funeral services will be held today (Friday) at 11 AM at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in Hamden. Our thoughts and prayers are with Ricky's wife Lucy and the rest of the Kenyon family.
December 1969 - Firefighters Bob Chadwick and Ricky Kenyon training on Welton Street (Photo by Ed Doiron, Sr.)
CLICK to view Davenport Fire video
Davenport Residence Fire 125 Putnam Avenue Wednesday, May 25, 1988
The Hamden Fire Department faced its most potentially disastrous emergency twenty-five years ago when fire broke out at the Davenport Residence, an eight story apartment building for the elderly at 125 Putnam Avenue.
CLICK on top photo to view a ten minute video that was produced immediately afterward by the department's training division. Amateur and TV news video and the actual HFD radio transmissions helped to chronicle the extraordinary efforts put forth by Hamden firefighters, and those of the Bethany, Cheshire, New Haven, and North Haven departments, from the time of dispatch until the building was completely evacuated.
An effective incident command system, early calls for mutual aid, and the C-MED emergency medical disaster plan all dovetailed perfectly to avert what would have been a major tragedy.
CLICK on the lower photo to view several news stories that were provided by the WTNH-8 and WFSB-3 news departments. The video starts with a scene from the final episode of an iconic 1980s NBC television series that was being broadcast at the exact moment the Gamewell alarm was being transmitted from the scene. A few minutes later came the news bulletin during the 11 o'clock news on Channel 8.
Revised and re-posted 5/24/13
CLICKI to view Davenport news stories
The Hartford Courant - Friday, May 27, 1988 - CLICK to enlarge
Davenport Residence 25 Years Later
The Advent of Hamden EMS - First HFD "Rescue" Placed in Service
The New Haven Evening Register, Monday, December 15, 1958 (Courtesy of Chan Brainard) CLICK to enlarge
Modern EMS in Hamden probably began when the first of two International Travel-al "station wagons" was placed in service at Station 2 in December 1958. Designated as "Rescue One," this unit was joined a year later by a new 1960 Travel-al, "Rescue Two," which was stationed at Headquarters. Rescue One was transferred from Station 2 to Station 3 on Putnam Avenue in early 1961.
Capt. James Strain (standing) was promoted to Battalion Chief in 1961 to command "old" Platoon 3. With the 42-hour workweek in 1970, Chief Strain headed "new" Platoon 2. When Chief Strain retired in April 1973, Firefighter Joe McDermott, by then a captain, was promoted to replace Chief Strain as the shift commander of Platoon 2. Joe retired in 1991 and is a member of the HFRA.
Firefighter Mike "Mickey" Cantarella served on the Department from 1951 until 1969. Firefighter Dave Herrmann came on the job in 1949. He was promoted to lieutenant in 1970 and retired in 1979. Dave was among the scores of residents who were rescued during the 1988 Davenport Residence fire (see above article and videos). He was interviewed during a local news broadcast.
Do you know where you are?
Joe Taylor provided this 1926 postcard photo of a Hamden scene. We have a fire department training photo taken near the same spot almost 40 years later. CLICK on the photo to find out where.
Massive Cold War Era Civil Defense Exercise at Groton Sub Base
On Sunday, May 19, 1957, a statewide Civil Defense exercise was conducted at the U.S. Submarine Base at Groton. 105 pumpers from all over Connecticut included Hamden's 1954 Maxim, pictured below on a New Haven Railroad flatcar. This photo, shot by I.A. Sneiderman, was featured with several others in the New Haven Evening Register the following day. This original 8x10 photo is from the archives of the HFRA.
HFRA Honorary Member Chan Brainard donated these news articles to the HFRA, along with hundreds of other HFD articles from 1955 through the end of the century.
CLICK on any of the articles below to enlarge them for easier reading.
New Haven's 1920s Seagrave Suburbanite (pictured above) was probably the oldest piece of apparatus at the drill.
Oct. 1968 - Ff. Bill Davin, Chief V. Paul Leddy, Commissioner Irving Saslow, and Lt. Jack Laffin pose in front of the '65 Mack at Headquarters to kick off Hamden's annual Muscular Dystrophy Assn. drive. (From the HFRA archives)
Website thanks to Sally Hines Rowe for providing this 1956 news photo from the New Haven Evening Register.
May 2013 - Platoon 3 at Station 2 - Ff/Paramedic Brett Rinehart, Lt. Adam Barletta, Ff. Cerrone Davis, Ff. Larry Deburra, and Ff. Mike Sperl posed this week next to the new Engine 2, a 2013 Smeal 1,250 GPM pumper.
This new pumper replaces the 1997 3D HME, which is now Engine 1, the Department's spare.
25 Years Ago
April 1988 - Platoon 2 at Station 2 - Ff. Tom Mikolinski, Ff. Tony D'Agostino, Ff. Jim Dunlop, Lt. Clark Hurlburt, Ff. Richard Greening, Ff/Paramedic Harold Prescher.
One of Hamden's First Career Firefighters Told It Like It Was
(How 'bout a 168 Hour Workweek?)
New Haven Register, January 24, 1965 (Courtesy of Chan Brainard) - CLICK to enlarge for easier reading
The "three major fire losses" referred to in the above article were the December 7, 1964 Weather Vane fire, the Christmas Day 1964 fire at Reilly's, and the January 21, 1965 fire at radio station WDEE on Denslow Hill Road.
40 Years Ago
May 15, 1973 - Following civil service exams and the recent retirement of Dep Chief James Strain, Capt. Joseph McDermott was promoted to deputy chief, Lieut. Jack Laffin was promoted to captain, and Firefighter Walt Macdowall was promoted to lieutenant.
Photo from the HFRA archives. Photographer unknown. CLICK to enlarge.
This photo had been in the HFRA archives for years, but it contained no IDs or date. A few months back, retiree John O'Hare allowed us to scan a few news articles of his. One of them included this photo, which was published in the December 11, 1964 edition of the New Haven Journal-Courier.
John is shown in the bow of the Department's rowboat while Lieut. Danny O'Connell rows on an icy Lake Whitney just after they rescued a five-year old Labrador retriever named "Traze," belonging Chris Pedersen of 71 Augur Street.
According to the article, "Lt. O'Connell said Thursday night that the rescuers had to row about 200 feet out into the lake, where the canine was swimming in a hole in the ice.
"O'Connell said the boat was almost swamped when O'Hare attempted to lift the dog in. Once inside the boat, the grateful dog sat quietly until shore was reached."
45 Years Ago!
Maselli Fireplace Center 3547 Whitney Avenue May 1, 1968
The quarried head of Sleeping Giant literally provides the backdrop for this photo. This early evening fire was not a big one, but it was a nasty one that did a lot of damage to merchandise stored in the basement of the Maselli Fireplace Center on the east side of Whitney Avenue, just north of West Woods Road.
CLICK for more photos
40 Years Ago!
On Saturday, May 5, 1973, Hamden Lieut. Gilbert Spencer and Firefighters Dave Howe, Ed Doiron and Tony Melillo assisted New Haven Fire Department Drillmaster, Capt. Charles Doll, with numerous live fire exercises for seventeen members of Co. 5 at the Hamilton Street training ground. Many of the exercises were documented by Ed Doiron in several dozen slides, some of which can be viewed by clicking on this photo.
Photo by Ed Doiron, Sr. / CLICK for more photos.
35 Years Ago!
As a bona fide member of the department, HFD Chaplain Owen Sanderson has always pitched in. This nasty ground cover fire in the West Rock area 35 year ago was no exception. The "almost antique" truck in the photo was Co. 7's 1935 Dodge, which was still in service in '78, and is still around today. But, like most of us who were active in 1978, the '35 Dodge is now retired.
The lower photo could be captioned, "Sometimes you just have to improvise."
Article courtesy of Gilbert Spencer
Telling Our Story on May 9th
CLICK photo for more information on Hamden Patch
The First 100 Years of Hamden Firefighters - the History, the Evolution, and Memorable Eventswill be the subject of a Powerpoint presentation by your webmaster at the annual meeting of the Hamden Historical Society NEXT Thursday evening, May 9th at 7 p.m. in the Senior Center Hall of the Miller Memorial Cultural Complex, 2901 Dixwell Avenue. Please enter through the rear entrance. No charge, and refreshments will be served. All - especially Hamden's fire retirees - are welcome!
quick reaction by Supt. Mike Murray saved life of Ff. John Reynolds.
The New Haven Register, April 27, 1993 (Courtesy of Gil Spencer)
Fire service support for West Texas, TX this week. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
60 Years Ago!
(scroll slowly and read everything)
(Photo courtesy of Tom Doherty)
60 years ago someone snapped this photo of Hamden's "Emergency Squad" outside Fire Headquarters. This week, the special significance of this particular photo isn't the truck, it's the building in the background. Scroll down.
Going . . .
Going . . .
G O N E !
Website thanks to Lieut. Gary Merwede, who shot the photos of the demolition earlier this week of 2384 Whitney Avenue, the building right next to Station 4. It is sad to see the disappearance of a landmark that held so many fond memories for those of us who worked at 4's ("Flo Alerts" anyone?).
Over the past century many different commercial establishments and apartments occupied the building. It even survived a fire 41 years ago in a fabric shop that occupied the same store that later housed Conte's Jewelry Store. Early Centerville photos confirm that this building was older than the town hall and even the old Reilly's Restaurant building that once stood on the other side, where Eli's stands today. Bye, bye!
Website thanks to Bob Freeman for yet another view of the mayhem next to 4's.
(Is that really a power shovel in the basement?)
Hamden's 1926 Maxim city service ladder truck near old Staion 3 on Putnam Avenue. This photo was provided to the archives many years ago by the late G. Donald Steele, who served as a volunteer at Co. 5 from the early 1960s until the 1980s.