We regret to announce the passing on September 24th, of HFRA Honorary Member Geraldine Bourneuf Tobin, widow of HFD Captain Luke Tobin. She was 89. She is survived by her daughter, Ellen M. Tobin of North Dighton, Massachusetts. Geraldine's husband, Luke, served with the Hamden Fire Department from 1949 until his retirement in 1984. He passed away in 1993. A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Saturday, September 27, 2014 in St. Stephen's Church, 400 Ridge Road, Hamden. To read the complete obituary or to leave a condolence message please visit:
October Quarterly Meeting to Honor Deceased Members
Over 300 years of collective service to the Hamden Fire Department will be recognized on Wednesday, October 8th when plaques honoring the memories of ten deceased members of the HFRA are presented to their families. The presentations will take place at 2 p.m. in the Hamden Elks' Hall following the regular October quarterly meeting of the HFRA on Wednesday, October 8th. The meeting and optional meal will run from noon until 1:45, followed by the presentations at 2.
Association members decided several years ago that instead of sending flowers, the HFRA would honor the memory of a deceased member by presenting the family with a memorial plaque at an appropriate time. The first and thus far only memorial plaque was presented to Mary Critchett, widow of Lt. Frank Critchett, at an informal presentation in November 2010.
The Association has lost ten more members since Frank's passing. Arrangements were made at the July meeting to present memorial plaques to the ten families in conjunction with our October meeting. The timing is especially appropriate given that October is generally regarded as the month when the fire service remembers its fallen members.
Invitations have been sent and representation from all ten families is expected. All active and retired Hamden fire personnel are welcome to attend the brief presentation ceremony, to be followed by light refreshments. The ten honorees with their years of service include:
Firefighter Sidney Trower (1947-1981)
Capt. Burton Hillocks (1950-1981)
Firefighter Paul Reutenauer (1957-1993)
Firefighter Charles Cargan (1968-2000)
Firefighter Richard Kenyon (1969-1993)
Firefighter Gerald Wolf (1957-1991)
Firefighter Harry Cubbellotti (1957-1993)
Lieut. Howard Hurlburt, Jr. (1970-1994)
Firefighter Hugh McLean (1949-1987)
Firefighter Joseph Yoga (1965-1980)
Dep. Chief Francis Leddy
Until a 1984 department reorganization, the largest number of promotions within a single month - seven - took place in September 1970, as the department prepared for the implementation of a 42-hour work week. Officers on each platoon at the time consisted of the shift commander, then designated as "deputy chief," one captain and two lieutenants. Capt. Frances Leddy was promoted to deputy chief (now "battalion chief") to head the new 4th Platoon. Lieutenants Joe McDermott and Ken Harrngton were promoted to captain. Harrington filled the vacancy left by Leddy's promotion and McDermott became captain on the new 4th Platoon.
Four veteran firefighters, Frank Cubbellotti, Tom Doherty, Dave Herrmann and Gil Spencer, were promoted to lieutenant because of the vacancies left by McDermott and Harrington, and the creation the two lieutenant slots on Platoon 4. All seven promotions took effect on October 1st.
The New Haven Journal-Courier, Wednesday, September 23, 1970
The New Haven Register, Tuesday, September 22, 1970 (Courtesy of Gil Spencer)
May 1982 - Dep. Chief/Training Officer John Tramontano in Central Communications' Original Location
Pump Acceptance Test for 1926 Pumper
Years ago, when then-Supt. of Alarms Paul Wetmore, Sr. was sorting out the file cabinets in the office at the Shop, he provided some historic documents for what eventually would become the HFRA archives. Included in the vast cache of ancient paperwork were some pump acceptance tests for apparatus that were but dim memories for even the most senior personnel at the time.
The oldest document was the accepteance test for the 1926 Maxim Model BU2 500 GPM pumper that was conducted at Middleboro, Massachusetts on March 2, 1926. The pumper was delivered to Hamden on March 23rd. Noted along the left edge in pencil was "Wm. Balke," chairman of Hamden's Board of Fire Commissioners, which was created only nine months earlier.
From 1915 to 1974, the Maxim Motor Company of Middleboro, Massachusetts supplied Hamden with a total of twelve pumpers and three ladder trucks, including Maxim's first motorized pumping engine in 1915 and the first Maxim "cab-forward" apparatus in 1959.
All Maxim photos below were taken by and/or provided by
Chan Brainard, Joe McDermott, John Mongillo, Jr., Daryl Osiecki, G. Donald Steele, and Frank Wegloski
Maxim's first pumping engine on Thomas Flyer chassis e/w a 500 GPM rotary gear pump - Delivered June 1915
1926 Maxim e/w a 500 GPM rotary gear pump - Delivered March 1926
1926 Maxim city service ladder truck - Delivered March 1926
1928 Maxim e/w a 750 GPM rotary gear pump - Delivered February 1928
1930 Maxim e/w a 600 GPM rotary gear pump. Delivered January 6, 1930
Hamden's First Postwar Apparatus - 1951 Maxim e/w a 750 GPM centrifugal pump - Delivered August 1951
1952 Maxim e/w a 750 GPM centrifugal pump - Delivered August 1952
1954 Maxim e/w a 750 GPM centrifugal pump - Delivered October 1954 - Civil Defense paid for 50%
1958 Maxim 75' "Junior" Aerial - Delivered December 1958
1959 Maxim "Cab-forward" (their first) e/w a 750 GPM centrifugal pump - Delivered August 1959
1968 Maxim 1000 GPM "S" Model (Serial #2686) - Delivered October 1968
1968 Maxim 1000 GPM "S" Model (Serial #2687) - Delivered October 1968
1970 Maxim 100' Aerial Ladder - Placed in service at Station 3 on September 11, 1970
1973 Maxim 1000 GPM "Foam" - Placed in service at Station 4 on February 7, 1974
1973 Maxim 1000 GPM "Telesqurt" - Placed in service at Station 3 on April 1, 1974
Other Connecticut Maxims
Below is Chan Brainard's pre-delivery factory photo of a late-1940s or early 1950s West Haven Maxim pumper with an open cab. (Does anyone know the exact year? The six lugs on the front wheels suggest that it's pre-1954.)
More of Chan's Maxim factory photos will be posted here in the weeks ahead.
Photo courtesy of Chan Brainard
Hamden Professional Firefighters Local 2687 Annual Golf Tournament
ALL PROCEEDS TO BENEFIT HAMDEN PROFESSIONAL FIREFIGHTERS CHARITABLE FUND SIGN UP TODAY!!!
Any questions call KP Martin (860)420-8133
35 Years Ago
September 17, 1979 - Hamden Firefighters Protest Town's Intransigence
Paul Petrillo, Bill Coppola and Harry Cubbellotti were among dozens of Hamden firefighters picketing town hall. (Dan Satran photo from the New Haven Journal-Courier courtesy of Paul Petrillo) - CLICK to enlarge
Frank Kafka, John Corbett, Bob Macauley, Dave Johnson and Wayne Lowry on the picket line at town hall. (New Haven Register staff photo by Patricia G. Barnes) - CLICK to enlarge
The Era of "Stagflation"
It's hard to imagine today, but in the late 1970s with a stagnant economy, inflation was running at a crazy annual rate of 14%. Many private sector employees were getting annual raises in double-digit percentages. Municipal public safety employees, however, were getting raises in the low single digits - if they got any raises at all.
By late September 1979 Hamden firefighters hadn't received a raise in over two years and were well into their second year without a contract. Despite the union's attempts to negotiate in good faith, the current administration was not "into" negotiating.
On Monday, September 17, 1979, armed with picket signs, dozens of members of the newly-organized Hamden Professional Firefighters, Local 2687, IAFF, hit the sidewalks in front of Memorial Town Hall. When the town hall closed at five o'clock, picketing resumed in front of the mayor's new campaign headquarters in Highwood, which opened that night. November saw the election of Hamden's fourth mayor, Richard Harris.
Originally posted 9/14/10
Old Station 3 Days Remembered
The website received an email the other day from Greg Schwartz who, with his friends, was a frequent 1960s visitor to the basement bowling alley at old Station 3 on Putnam Avenue. A portion of Greg's "thank you" message, copied below, was directed at the Hamden firefighters who worked at old 3's in the sixties. Fortunately, Greg, many of these guys are still with us. Your message will be delivered and, no doubt, appreciated.
I have such wonderful memories of you guys letting us neighborhood kids use the bowling alley and getting to know some of the firefighters. I wanted to thank you for making Hamden a great place to grow up in the sixties.
Thanks and I hope we were not a nuisance.
The Whitneyville Bowling Alleys in the basement of the Putnam Avenue fire station was a recreational asset to Whitneyville and surrounding neighborhoods. In 1948, members of the Hamden Junior Chamber of Commerce contributed their time and talents to renovate the facility for another 20 years' worth of use.
The Hamden Chroncile article and advertisement below are courtesy of the Hamden Historical Society
Hamden Chronicle - August 26, 1948 (CLICK to enlarge)
Old Whitneyville Station 3 - Putnam Ave.
September 2, 1948 Chronicle ad for the Whitneyville Alleys (CLICK to enlarge)
From the 1955 Hamden Town Report
50 Years Ago!
The New Haven Register, Thursday, September 24, 1964 (Chan Brainard)
SEPTEMBER 12, 2014
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 the 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