From the May 21, 1953 edition of The Hamden Chronicle (Courtesy of the Hamden Historical Society)
Our 1st Retiree!
There are Department members still on the job today who participated in the honor guard for the Department's first retiree, Firefighter Art Norman, who died in March of 1985, four days shy of his 94th birthday.
Art had been a volunteer firefighter with the Highwood company before joining the recently organized Hamden Fire Department on November 1, 1926. With over 26 years on the job, he was the first fulltime Hamden firefighter to retire under the pension plan enacted in 1949.
Art's brother, Julius, and nephew, Russ, were also Hamden firefighters. Julius served on the Department from 1931 until his retirement in 1958. He died in 1995 at the age of 102. Art's nephew, Russ Norman, who was the son of Julius Norman, served the longest. Appointed December 5, 1947, Russ retired on December 14, 1979 and died in March 2006.
Arthur Norman's vacancy on the Department roster was filled by the appointment of Firefighter Joseph McDermott, who was born only a few weeks before Norman's appointment. Joe, who is a member of the HFRA, went on to serve 38 years with the Department before retiring in 1991 as the battalion chief in charge of Platoon 2.
This remarkable 1943 photo by Don Steele was scanned from a 35mm slide of Hamden's 1941 Diamond-T ladder truck as it passed by the town hall on Dixwell Avenue. This is the oldest color photograph posted thus far. (Courtesy of the Hamden Historical Society)
Photo by Russ Loller
Volunteer Co. 5 alumnus, Russ Loller, emailed this photo of Firefighters Bob "Whitey" Williams and Ed Doiron, taken at Station 5, right after Ed was transferred there to replace newly-retired Mario "Bucky" Serafino. (The work shirts are dark blue with no shoulder patches, which dates this photo at around 1973 - early '74 at the latest.) Whitey was either surprised by the camera, or just mugging it up for the photographer.
Whitey was on Platoon 1 and Ed was on Platoon 2. Since there was virtually no OT at the time, this photo was most likely snapped during the change of shift, when the 2nd was coming off nights and the 1st was starting its three days.
Notice the Gamewell telegraph take-up reel at the front of the desk and the fresh roll of ticker tape for the Gamewell tape register in the desk drawer.
On October 6, 1970, Whitey was a member of the first two-man crew assigned to Station 5 on the first day of the new 42-hour workweek. Ff. Frank Kafka was the other member of the crew.
Whitey Williams, as he was known to everyone, was on the department from September 1950 until his retirement in the late 1970s. He passed away on December 5, 1990.