This photo was scanned from the 1940 Hamden Annual Town Report, which heralded the recent renovation to Station 4, then known as "Fire Headquarters." The bay doors were moved from the north side of the fire station to face Whitney Avenue.
The pride of the department were these two nearly new pieces of apparatus. At left is the "Emergency Squad," built on a 1938 Diamond-T chassis. At right is Hamden's newest pumper, rated at 500 GPM, built on a 1939 Diamond-T chassis. Both pieces were manufactured by the Woods Engineering Service of Topsfield, Masssachuetts. These pieces remained in service in various capacities for several more decades. The 1938 squad was sold in 1971, and the pumper in 1977.
9 a.m. Radio Test
Monday, July 13, 1981
Every morning at 9 a.m., the fire dispatcher conducted a radio test to all cars and apparatus. The test format, used since the 1960s, began with the dispatcher announcing, "This is KCG-711 Hamden, testing to all units at 9 a.m."
The first unit called was usually Car 30, the car assigned to the deputy chief (now B/C). On Mondays, the day of this test, volunteer and staff vehicles were included in the radio test. Volunteer apparatus were called at the start of the test, and staff vehicles at the end.
When the dispatcher called one of the radios, the firefighter on that unit's mike gavethe unit's designation, followed by "OK on test." The fire dispatcher would acknowledge with, "10-4 [name of unit]" When the 10 codes were replaced by numeric signals in June 1984, the radio test response became simply, "[Name of unit] 99."
The Hamden Fire Department employed various versions of the 10 Codes for radio messages from the 1950s until 1984. The 10 Codes list above was modified and enlarged in November 1981 with the advent of Central Communications. Following input from line personnel, Hamden's 10 Codes were replaced in June 1984, with the adoption of numeric signals, similar to those used for years by the New Haven Fire Department.
This photo of Firefighters Warren Blake and John McKee was taken by Firefighter Stan Brown around 1965. Stan was an amateur photographer, many of whose photos have been preserved by Chan Brainard. Chan recently donated many of his own photos and hundreds of HFD-related newspaper articles from 1955 through the 1990s. Lots of good stuff will be shared in the coming weeks and months!
CLICK to enlarge
May 1, 1981
This roster is an interesting snapshot of the department at a pivital stage.
Deputy Chief Training Officer Ken Harrington's 1980 retirement resulted in the first department promotion in over seven years. With Harrington's position vacant, Capt. Thomas Doherty acted as training officer when eight new recruits were hired in January 1981. But neither he nor the other two captains still on the job wished to apply for the permanent position. Civil Service re-wrote the specifications, allowing lieutenants with three or more years in grade to apply for the position.
Dep. Chief Harrington's vacancy as training officer was filled in April by Lt. John Tramontano. Ironically, seven years earlier, Tramontano had been the last man to receive a promotion - to lieutenant - the direct result of then-Capt. Harrington's promotion to training officer. Harrington's vacancy on Platoon 2 was filled by Lt. Burt Hillocks, whose vacancy on Platoon 4 was filled by Ff. John Tramontano.
The seven year drought of promotional opportunities affected dozens of firefighters hired in 1969-70, who were not on the job long enough to qualify for the previous lieutenant's exam, conducted in 1973. Some firefighters were on the job nearly twelve years before getting their first shot at a promotion in early 1981, when Civil Service finally authorized a promotional exam.