1927 Line of Duty Death Commemorated by Department
(All photos of the ceremony by Bob Mordecai)
About eighty members of the Hamden Fire Department, past and present, career and volunteer, turned out last Monday, December 10th, to honor Hamden volunteer firefighter Edward D. Meegan on the 85th anniversary of the tragic accident that took his life.
In a brief ceremony at the Hamden Government Center, commencing at the same hour of Meegan's last alarm 85 years earlier, Mayor Scott D. Jackson issued a proclamation naming December 10, 2012 as "Edward D. Meegan Day in the Town of Hamden." The Mayor presented his proclamation to Mr. Meegan's goddaughter, Inez Meegan Shea of Mt. Carmel, who attended with her husband Phillip and son, Phillip, Jr. Mrs. Shea's father, William H. Meegan, was Firefighter Meegan's older brother.
Shortly after 11 on the morning of December 10, 1927, Edward Meegan, a volunteer firefighter with Centerville Co. 4, responded to a call with six others on Engine 4. As it was crossing a bridge over Lake Whitney, the 1925 Seagrave pumper contacted a raised trolley rail, spun out of control and struck a utility pole. Ff. Meegan sustained severe injuries and died the following day. (Scroll down for Nov. 30th article.)
Addressing an audience of past and present career and volunteer officers and firefighters, Fire Chief David Berardesca noted, "The foundation of our department was built on individuals such as Edward Meegan - they made us what we are today . . . I am certain that our first fire chief in town, Charles Loller, was proud to serve with Edward, just as we are proud to serve his memory."
Department Chaplain, Rev. Owen Sanderson, read from a verse that is etched on a firefighters' memorial in Colorado. Retired HFD Capt. Dave Johnson, secretary and historian for the Hamden Fire Retirees Association, thanked all who attended and held up Mr. Meegan's badge, which Mrs. Shea donated to the Association for its archives and eventual display in a Hamden fire museum. Johnson said that the badge "will be treasured." He then introduced Mrs. Shea, who smiled and thanked everyone for the tribute to her uncle.
An honor guard comprised of five members of the Hamden Professional Firefighters Association, Local 2687, IAFF, stood at attention at the front of the room throughout the ceremony, which concluded with Capt. Ed Evers' moving rendition of "Amazing Grace" on the bagpipes.
The HFRA hopes to purchase a memorial plaque for Station 4 to permanently recognize Firefighter Meegan and his sacrifice in the line of duty. The Department will submit Firefighter Meegan's name for inclusion on the Connecticut State Firefighter's Memorial at Windsor Locks and the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial at Emmitsburg.
Mayor Jackson greets the Shea Family before the start of the ceremony
Mayor's Proclamation - CLICK to enlarge
Honor Guard (L-R) - Supt. Don Buechele, Capt. Ron Desroches, Ff. Craig Smart, Capt. Brion Tierney and Ff. Dave Beaton. Dept. Chaplain, Rev. Owen Sanderson in foreground. (Photos by Bob Mordecai)
The HFRA Memorial video has been revised.
CLICK on the image at left.
c. 1975 - Ace Callahan dispatching at Station 4
This photo of Robert "Ace" Callahan was taken about 1975 in the Alarm Room at Station 4, when Ace was the dispatcher on Platoon 4. Note the Gamewell tape take-up reel, time stamp and tape register in the upper left. The black "house phone" right below was a Stromberg-Carlson desk telephone that was connected on a private circuit to all stations.
To dispatch a call, the dispatcher pushed a button on the console to open all alarm circuits for one hit of the Gamewell alert bells in each station. This was followed a tone signal lasting several seconds over loud speakers in all stations, which also broadcast anything spoken on the house phone for all to hear. When the tone alert stopped, each station watchman replied in succession on his station's house phone. Once all stations acknowledged, the dispatcher announced the apparatus on the response followed by the nature of the call. New dispatch procedures added cross streets and map numbers when fire dispatch went to Central.
The alarm room had several different configurations during its forty years at Station 4. This was the way it looked when it closed in November 1981. (Photo courtesy of Joe Rahl)
1971 - Ralph Tortora and John Reynolds at Station 2 when the '65 Mack was Engine 2. (Photo courtesy of John Reynolds)