It is with deep regret that we announce the January 4th passing of HFRA Honorary Member Letitia "Tish" Flagge, which was reported in this morning's edition of The New Haven Register. She had celebrated her 100th birthday last July.
"Mrs. Flagge," as she was respectfully known to those of us who were on the job prior to her 1978 retirement, became the first civilian employee of the Hamden Fire Department in October 1957 when she was hired as secretary for Chief Raymond C. Spencer and Marshal Al Purce. She was working for Chief V. Paul Leddy and Marshal Bob O'Donnell when she retired in 1978 at age 65.
Tish was inducted as an Honorary Member of the HFRA in August 2011. When representatives of the association presented her with flowers in honor of her centennial birthday last summer, Mrs. Flagge said, "I always loved my firemen. They were always there for me." A very friendly and lovely lady, Letitia Flagge will be missed.
Her funeral will take place tomorrow, Wednesday January 8th at 10 a.m. at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church. More details are in the Register obituary - link below.
A "Hands-on" Fire Chief, Tramontano Trained His Troops
on Mountain Rescue Techniques
Tramontano executing a Tyrolean Traverse, suspended between two aerial ladders 50' above Bassett Field
In March 1988, John Tramontano was nearly four years into his tenure as Hamden's fire chief when he conducted this high elevation rescue training session at Bassett Field for several firefighters who were interested in joining the department's Mountain Rescue Team.
Being chief of the department didn't prevent him from getting back into training mode, especially when it came to climbing. Pictured here sans his trademark mustache, "Tram" was in the middle of executing a Tyrolean Traverse, up 50' between the aerial ladders of Trucks 1 and 2.
Tramontano was instrumental in organizing the team a dozen years earlier with Bill Coppola, Ray Reilly, Ed Charbonneau, Chick Manware and several other climbing enthusiasts.
Rope suspended up 50' between aerial ladders
Ff. Fred "Chick" Manware belaying a line for the Chief
These exercises were not simply "rope tricks." They were meant to build confidence while helping to develop and maintaIn those climbing skills required of the Mountain Rescue Team members.
Chief John Tramontano and Firefighter Fred "Chick" Manware assist Hamden's first female career firefighter, Kerry Castracane, as she prepares for an ascent up the rope attached to the aerial ladder on Truck 1.
The nylon hose straps made improvised stirrups
Success in what is definitely not an easy maneuver.
Ff. Dennis Harrison gives it a shot . . .
. . . and heads on up.
1956 Dawns With a Nasty Cold Weather Fire in Spring Glen
Quinnipiac College Dorm Sustains $25,000 in Damages on Jan. 2
CLICK to enlarge
Quinnipiac College in 1956 - Whitney Avenue and Servoss Street
Cold temperatures and a frozen hydrant made things difficult for Hamden firefighters on the second day of 1956, when fire broke out in the second floor of a Quinnipiac College faculty dormitory at the corner of Ford and Waldon Streets in Spring Glen.
Originally known as Larson College, Quinnipiac College's main building (pictured above) was located at the corner of Whitney Avenue and Servoss Street. The college moved to its present Mt. Carmel campus in 1962. As Quinnipiac University since 2000, the school now occupies a much larger chunk of Mt. Carmel than it did 50 years ago.
For many years after Quinnipiac College moved out, their Whitney Avenue building was occupied by Hamden's Board of Education. In March 1988, long after being vacated, the second floor and attic sustained significant damage in a fire of unknown origin. The building was eventually purchased by a private buyer and transformed into a very high-end assisted living facility, Larson Place.
March 1988 - Ff. Gary Couture and Cmdr. Jack Laffin
Ff. John Corbett - First president of Local 2687 (1979-92)