The HFRA website will be updated once each week on Friday.
Important midweek updates will be made whenever necessary.
The Spring meeting of the HFRA is 3 p.m., Tuesday, April 12, at the Hamden Elks. Scroll down to view details.
Reminder cards have been mailed to all members in good standing.
Supt. Buechele, Dep. Chief Surprise, and Capt. Harrison - CLICK to enlarge
Still Going Strong
All of us remember working with these guys. Future HFRA members Supt. Don Buechele, Deputy Chief Bob Surprise and Capt. Dennis Harrison recently posed for this impromptu photo when the new tower arrived. Together, they have a total of 83 years on the job!
MLB play begins this week. So here are some ballgame memories from HFD's past.
Who is this slugger (a couple of years before we worked with him)? CLICK and find out.
Softball 1959 - Trophy Presentation with our own John O'Hare, second from left. For years, John was a coach of HFD's softball team. Lots of good times!
CLICK for CBS News Feature
March 25, 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Co. Fire New York City
One hundred years ago, 146 employees, mostly young women, perished in a tragic fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Co. in New York City.
Sweatshop conditions on the upper floors of the occupancy, including blocked fire doors, contributed to the horrendous death toll.
The Triangle Shirtwaist Co. fire, which gave rise to the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union, would eventually result in improved conditions for garment workers and legislation to replace inadequate fire codes.
March 25, 2011 - 1991 Pierce Tower, 1990 Pierce Aerial, and 2011 Smeal Tower stand together before the '91 tower is traded in. CLICK for more pix.
Hamden's first motorized ladder truck was delivered 85 years ago, in March 1926. It cost approximately $8,000. (It was delivered with a new Maxim 500 GPM pumper. Together they cost $12,500.)
At 4:31 p.m. on March 19, 1941, Ff. David F. Howe was by himself at the wheel of Hamden's ladder truck. Miraculously, Ff. Howe was uninjured when his truck and a Connecticut Company trolley car tried to occupy the intersection of Dixwell and Mather at the same time. Old timers used to say that Ff. Howe was thrown clear of the truck with the steering wheel still in his hands.
The truck was deemed unsalvageable. It was traded in for a brand new 1941 Diamond-T city service ladder truck from the Wood Engineering Co. in Topsfield, Massachuetts, which was delivered the following year.
Hamden's new Smeal 100' midship-mounted platform arrived last week. Ff. Daryl Osiecki sent some new photos of the truck, which can be viewed by clicking on the photo above.
HFRA SPRING MEETING Tuesday, Apr. 12, 2011 Hamden Elks Hall, 175 School Street Brief meeting starts promptly at 3 PM MENU B & R Burger 1/2 lb. burger with your choice of cheddar or American cheese, your choice of mayonaise, BBQ sauce or both, your choice of bacon, sauteed onions, or both, and your choice of homemade french fries, onion rings or both! All for SIX BUCKS! Meeting Agenda will be posted by April 1st.
Bobby Kelo was in town for the Annual Dinner and treated three former colleagues to lunch at the Athena Diner on Route 5. Bob lives in Midlothian, VA. Thank you, Bob!
Three Veteran Firefighters Honored at Annual Dinner LaBanca Gets Jake Award
Plenty of retirees were on hand as the Hamden Professional Firefighters Association, Local 2687, I.A.F.F. honored three veteran firefighters at the local's Annual Retirement Dinner on Saturday evening, March 5th, at Laurel View Country Club.
Many of Deputy Chief Walt Macdowall's friends and colleagues gathered at Laurel View Country Club in November 1991 to "roast" him. Walt retired from the Hamden Fire Department after 26 years of service to take command of the LaGrange Fire Department in Illinois.
Walt with son, Scott, and daughter-in-law, Barbara.
Station 4 - March 31, 1991 (Easter)
They Came Off a '53 Mercury!
Just about every Hamden firefighter is going to have photos of family members visiting them at work, usually on a holiday.
In this somewhat fuzzy photo, Dave Johnson's four young sons are shown visiting Station 4 on Easter 1991.
Check out the equally fuzzy items that hung above the dashboard of Engine 4. Love it!
CLICK to enlarge
Retiree Bob Slater recently received the photo at left from Deputy Fire Marshal Brain Dolan, who reported that Bob's old boots, marked "Slater," are still in service with the Hamden Police Dept.
Bob's grandson took the photo at right when the two of them visited Station 4 in 2002. No one was home when they stopped by, so Bob shinnied up the pole for a great photo op.
A department member from 1966 until 1981, and a former president of the early bargaining units, Bob has worked at Walt Disney World Security for nearly 30 years. He says he may finally retire from Disney early next year - but, hey, you never know. Thanks, Bob!
CLICK to enlarge
Very Scary Times The Cold War Comes to Hamden
For those who could afford them, fallout shelters were below-ground backyard sanctuaries designed to protect the family from radioactive fallout following a nuclear exchange.
Chief V. Paul Leddy and State Civil Defense Director William Schatzman are pictured inside the fence at this 1961 fallout shelter display at the Hamden Plaza. Fire Marshal Albert Purce (back to the camera) is seen in the foreground. The fire officer on the right appears to be from another department, perhaps New Haven.
Four weeks after this photo was taken, the Soviet Union tested a 58 megaton hydrogen bomb in the atmosphere, which only escalated the fears of an already worried populace. Fortunately, the questionable efficacy of fallout shelters was never put to the test in a real wartime situation. But we came very close one year later in what became known as the Cuban Missile Crisis. It was a very scary time, indeed.
October 4, 1961 - Hamden Plaza (CLICK to enlarge - Photo by I.A. Sneiderman)
A year earlier, then-CD Director Leddy, inspects another fallout shelter (CLICK to enlarge)
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JOE WAS THERE!
February 17, 2011 - We want to thank regular website visitor, Sgt. Joe Murray (Hamden Police Dept, Ret.), who immediately recognized the 1961 Hamden Plaza fallout shelter photo. He was there! Joe, only five years old at the time, is pictured in the lower left with his mom, Jean Murray (in the white coat).
Jean Murray was a Hamden school crossing guard from 1960 until 1979. But most Hamden fire retirees probably remember her as the really nice lady who was Hamden's Animal Control Officer from 1979 until her retirement in 2006. Joe, who was also well known to most Hamden firefighters, joined the Hamden Police Department in 1979 and served for 27 years.
In his email to the website, Joe noted that right above his mom's head in the photo is the Murray family car, a red 1961 Chevrolet Bel-Air. Nice! Even though he was only five at the time, Joe says he thinks he remembers that day. Like many other kids who grew up in Hamden, Joe spent a lot of time in the Plaza and remembers many of the earlier stores that were located there.
Zemel Brothers, in the larger photo above, sold household appliances. The Union & New Haven Trust Co. bank is pictured at the end of the northern wing of the Plaza. It became Union Trust in 1970, and is now Wachovia Bank. The old brick building seen across Dixwell Avenue was the W.I. Clark Co., which specialized in heavy construction equipment. A 1974 fire did extensive damage to some of the equipment stored there.
Jean Murray is well and still lives in Hamden. From 1998 until his retirement in 2006, Sgt. Joe Murray was in charge of Central Communications.