It is with deep regret that we announce the passing on March 17th of our brother retiree, Charles "Chaz" Cargan. He was 71.
Charlie was a United States Army veteran, serving in the 225th Infantry Division during the Vietnam War era. He joined the Hamden Fire Department on October 8, 1968 and served for 33 years. Charlie was a dedicated and hard-working firefighter. A frequent attendee at HFRA meetings, he was well liked by all.
Funeral Services with Military Honors took place at the North Haven Funeral Home on Friday, March 22nd. A large contingent of active and retired department members stood honor guard.
The members of the Hamden Fire Retirees Association extend their condolences to Charlie's wife, Bonnie; his children, Chris, Keith and Reid; and the rest of the Cargan family.
Local 2687 honored Captain John O'Dea at their Annual Dinner last Saturday night at Laurel View Country Club. John retired last November 30th after serving nearly 32 years with the Department, and had been serving as the department training officer at the time of his retirement.
It is hoped that someone in attendance may have recorded John's farewell remarks, because they were among the best ever delivered. In a sometimes humorous, sometimes emotional address to his former colleagues, John praised and thanked those with whom he served during his 32 years on the job. Among the many he praised were two firefighters who, on separate occasions, were responsible for saving his life. You could have heard the proverbial pin drop.
One of John's many gifts is a great sense of humor, which is often self-deprecating. He noted that his unique style of speaking has been imitated often by others, but never as well as by Gary Merwede. Celebrating the often irreverent firehouse humor, John remarked, "I understand there is a video circulating out there of me in an interview," and confessed later that he had hoped it would be shown that evening.
Of course, John was referring to when Channel 8 interviewed him and fellow firefighter/paramedic Harold Prescher in 1995, after the two of them revived a pet cat following a house fire. The tape of the interview was later "doctored" at John's expense, but he laughed at it along with all the rest of us. That's the kind of guy John is.
John O'Dea will be missed on the job, but we wish him many happy and healthy years as a member of the HFRA.
The members of the Hamden Fire Retirees Association wish to thank Kevin Recca, Dave Beaton and all the other members of Local 2687 who organized this year's dinner for another fine time last Saturday night.
By special request . . .
January 11, 1995 - This video is not quite the same as originally recorded off Channel 8
Other retirees (and some "actives") at the Annual Dinner
CLICK to enlarge any photo below
Tom Doherty, John's old boss at Station 4 and later his platoon commander, offers his congratulations.
Harold Mangler, Kevin Recca and Mike Mordecai
Mark Barletta, Harold Mangler, Mike Murray and Chickie Manware
Eddy Doiron and Gil Spencer
Tom Doherty, Bob Slater and John O'Hare
Bob Stacy, Dave Johnson, Tom Doherty and B/C Sam DeBurra.
Bob and Pam Stacy
Katie and Mike Murray
The New Haven Register, October 28, 1989 (CLICK to enlarge)
The Bike Rack
Skiff & Whitney, North Haven
Friday, October 27, 1989
From Mill River by the parkway, south to Short Hill Road, the Hamden-North Haven town line runs right down the middle of Whitney Avenue.
The Bike Rack was located on the south side of Skiff Street just east of Whitney, which meant that it was in North Haven. But when the 9-1-1 call was received at Central from a Hamden caller, Hamden responded with Engines 3 and 4, Truck 1 and Rescue 1. North Haven arrived shortly after Hamden and both towns extinguished the fire, which was well underway before the arrival of the first apparatus.
Hamden's Platoon 3, under the command of B/C Tom Doherty, was just finishing its third night. Tom recalled that his company officers that night were Capt. Mike Ambriscoe, Lieut. Don LaBanca and Lieut. Paul Wetmore, Jr.
The 1958 Maxim 75' ladder truck, seen in the newspaper photo at left, was acting as Truck 1 because the ladder on the 1970 Maxim 100' aerial truck had just been inspected and was deemed unsafe. The new Pierce 105' rear-mount aerial truck arrived a few months later.
This fire occurred just as The Bike Rack building was about to be taken by the State of Connecticut through eminent domain in order to widen Skiff Street. Ironically, following the fire the owner's insurance company actually had to pay to have a new building constructed on the site in order for the state to pay the owner a fair value for his property. The new building, apparently never occupied, was then acquired by the state and razed.
Where were YOU in '62?
April 1962 - John O'Hare (standing 3rd from left) perennial coach of the HFD softball team, poses at the Admiral Street fire station in Allingtown with other fire department softball coaches who were preparing for the upcoming 1962 season. John, who joined fellow retirees at the Annual Dinner last Saturday night, coached and played on the team well into the 1970s.