Cat is Family's Smoke Detector as Fire Destroys Whitney Ave. Home
Chief V. Paul Leddy directs firefighters at one of two structure fires to hit Hamden on February 1, 1961. (Photos from HFRA Archives)
Fifty-two years ago this week, Hamden firefighters struggled with extremely cold temperatures to fight two structure fires at almost the same time. The first and more serious fire destroyed the 3070 Whitney Avenue home of a Mt. Carmel family. Fire Marshal Al Purce later determined that the cause was chimney sparks emanating from an unscreened fireplace.
The first home smoke detectors wouldn't arrive until the 1970s, so this family was fortunate to have a pet cat that woke them while they could still escape the flames. The fire was through the roof by the time the first apparatus arrived.
The second fire, at 218 Skiff Street, was reported by a watchman for the New Haven Water Company, which had a branch office on the south side of Skiff directly opposite #218. Engine 3 was returning from the first fire and arrived first, and was joined by Engines 1 and 2. Damage was limited to the roof (see artricle below).
From The New Haven Register, February 1, 1961 (News articles courtesy of Chan Brainard and Gil Spencer)
HFRA Website Assists Japanese Author
Last September we received the following email from Japanese author, Norimasa Nishikori, regarding an article published on our website about the 1932 Edwards Fishing Rod Co. fire on Home Place:
My name is Norimasa Nishikori, a fly fishing enthusiast in Japan. Now, I am contributing articles on fly fishing history to the Flyfisher, a leading fly fishing magazine in Japan. Please see one of my article attached on this mail.
I currently am writing about Edwards Fishing Rod Co. For this purpose, I would like to ask you to use some photo images listed on your excellent website . . .
From Flyfisher Magazine - Japan - CLICK to see article
We were pleased to learn that Edwards' bamboo fly rods, made here in Hamden but long out of production, were so valued and appreciated worldwide. CLICK on the photo to view Mr. Nishikora's article in the March edition of Flyfisher. Although few of our website visitors read Japanese, the images should interest those fishermen and historians among our readers. We were glad to help.
CLICK to enlarge
CLICK to enlarge
These two photos of the Maxim Telesqurt, taken years apart by fire photographer Frank Wegloski, show how Engine 3 was when it was delivered in 1974, and again about a dozen years later after the body was rebuilt by Pierce. Note the newer highside compartments and the repositioning of the hard suction atop the compartments.Beginning with the 1984 Pierce Dashes, the tops of the cabs of all new and rebuilt Hamden apparatus were painted white.
These photos also clearly show before and after views of the front of Station 3, which was remodeled in the late 1980s when the middle bay door was unexpectedly enlarged due to a motor mishap. The later photo of Engine 3 appears to have been taken before it was washed down following a run.
The Maxim Telesqurt was sold to a private buyer in the early 2000s. We have been told that this piece of apparatus is still around and in good condition, in a storage facility in a neighboring town. (Photos courtesy of Daryl Osiecki)
Badge Presentation (CLICK to enlarge)
CLICK to enlarge
HFRA President Mark Barletta and Dep. Chief Bob Surprise visited Mr. and Mrs. Philip Shea of Mt. Carmel last Friday. Dep. Chief Surprise presented Mrs. Shea, nee Inez Meegan, with an official Hamden Fire Department retirement badge in memory of her uncle, Volunteer Firefighter Edward Meegan, of Centerville Co. 4.
Ff. Meegan was fatally injured when Engine 4 overturned in a freak accident while responding to Box 57 at Newhall and Morse on Dec. 10, 1927. Mrs. Shea, who was also Ff. Meegan's goddaughter, had donated his Co. 4 badge to the HFRA archives ( Click here: HOME Page for Dec. 14, 2012. ).
The HFRA has allocated funds to honor Firefighter Meegan with a memorial plaque that will hang permanently at Station 4, where he had been a member. We'll keep you posted.
1962 Ball Committee
1962 Ball Committee - John O'Hare, Ray Carofano, Wayne Butterworth, Joe Rahl and Al Ramelli (Courtesy of Joe Rahl)