We regret to announce the passing on January 31st, of HFRA Honorary Member Nancy Saccani Hurlburt, widow of Hamden Firefighter Howard Hurlburt, Sr. and mother of brother HFD retirees Clark D. Hurlburt and the late Howard Hurlburt, Jr. She was 87. Nancy served as Hamden Town Clerk from 1987 until 1995, and was a member of Hamden's Legislative Council in 1985.
Funeral from BEECHER & BENNETT, 2300 Whitney Ave., Hamden, Monday, Feb. 3, 2014 at 9:30 a.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated in Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church at 10 a.m. Friends may call SUNDAY from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Interment will be in Centerville Cemetery.
July 1982 - Firefighters Ralph Dievert and Ralph Tomaselli during ladder training (Photo by John Tramontano)
100 Years Ago!
Coutts Brothers Served in Whitneyville's Fire Company
Today, Grandniece Donates Their Badges to the HFRA
William Coutts - Co. 3 Badge #16
Born in England, brothers William and Edward Coutts emigrated to the United States with their parents and four brothers in 1892. By the 19-teens they were living in Whitneyville, employed as milkmen with the Brock-Hall Dairy Company and members of the Whitneyville Volunteer Fire Association.
Many Whitneyville volunteer firefighters were employees of that dairy, which probably accounts for the white milkmen's uniforms they were sporting in the 1913 photo of the Co. 3 Hose-Laying Team (below). The captain of the team was Henry Hall.
The Coutts brothers' grandniece, Mary Ehrler, recently donated their Co. 3 badges to the HFRA.
Edward Coutts - Co. 3 Badge #46
Mary Ehrler of Bethany, whose late husband, George, was a New Haven firefighter, was eager to find a good home for her two great uncles' Whitneyville Co. 3 badges. As her family's historian, Mary had kept the badges in safekeeping for decades. But she was concerned about what would happen to the badges after she was gone. After being referred to the HFRA by B/C Bill Fitzmaurice last December, Mary recently presented the badges to the Association.
#16 - Issued to William Coutts
Mary Ehrler Donated Co. 3 Badges 16 and 46
#46 - Issued to Edward Coutts
Co. 3 Firefighter Edward Coutts - c. 1914
William Coutts - 2nd Infantry, N.Y. National Guard
At left is a one hundred year old photograph of Edward Coutts (1890-1965), in his Whitneyville Co. 3 dress uniform. Firefighter Coutts was issued badge #46, shown in that photo.
Above is brother, William Coutts, pictured when he was a member of the 2nd Infantry, New York National Guard in 1916. Before working for Brock-Hall, William had been a blacksmith Born in 1887, he died in the Spanish Influenza pandemic of 1918.
Both of the Coutts brothers are in this classic 1913 photo of Co. 3's hose-laying team, a photo that has been on this website since the beginning. Mary Ehrler, whose grandfather, John Coutts, was brother of William and Edward, provided the website with an old newspaper article that identified all of the Co. 3 members in this photo. We have added their names to this version of the photo. (CLICK to enlarge)
Whitneyville Volunteer Fire Company 1913 Hose-Laying Champs (CLICK to enlarge to read names)
1850s Fire Tower Designed by Coutts Family Firm in England
David and Sarah Jane Coutts came to America in October of 1892 with their six boys, all under the age of 14. William was five and Edward two.
In 19th century England, William and Edward's grandfather, Charles Coutts, owned a company that built carriages. Charles Coutts' great-great-granddaughter, Mary Ehrler, shared this original design for a mid-19th century fire apparatus tower from the family's carriage manufacturing company.
"History" is today, too.
The things we see and expereince today will always be of interest to us and others many years down the road. Think about it! We really never take much notice of the things around us because we take them for granted. We see and expereince them every day. Big deal, we think to ourselves. Who cares? But then we look at photos of the same surroundings from twenty, thirty, or fifty years ago and we suddenly realize that everything changed. We think about a long-gone building, or landmark, or friend and think, why didn't I take a photo? Well, some of us did.
A significant chronicler of department life years ago was John Tramontano. While serving as the department's training officer from 1981 until he was appointed chief in 1984, John documented many department activities on color slides, paid for out of his own pocket. After the HFRA was formed in 2009, John donated hundreds of his slides to be shared on the website.
Changing the Hose on Engine 9
July 1982 (Photo by John Tramontano) - CLICK to enlarge
Before the introduction of LDH supply lines in the mid-1980s, the cloth-jacketed 2-1/2" and 3" supply lines on each pumper had to be changed periodically and after each use. In this July 1982 photo, members of Platoon 4 are changing the hose on Engine 9's 1965 Mack.
The "work uniform" when changing hose on a hot summer day was whatever you wanted. Pictured here are Jerry Dinnen (in red shirt), Ray Dobbs on the tailboard (in white tanktop) and Harold Mangler (no shirt).
Jerry, Harold and an unidentified firefighter are connecting the next length of 3" hose to be loaded into the hosebed. Up top in the white T-shirt is George Patten. The other firefighter cannot be identified.
55 Years Ago!
North Haven Brick Co., State Street, Hamden Saturday, January 31, 1959
FF. Edward Bevins at the top of the ladder.
These photos by Donald Yoshua appeared in the New Haven Sunday Register the day after a January 31, 1959 fire destroyed the home of a 10-member Hamden family on State Street.
Chandler Brainard was there as a young member of Hamden's Civil Defense Fire Auxiliary. He offers vivid and insightful recollections of that day in an article he wrote for the website nearly five years ago.
Firefighters prepare to attack with a 2-1/2" as Ff. Warren Blake operates the pump of Engine 3 (CLICK to enlarge)
Photo No Longer a Mystery
It was either "Farewell" or "Welcome Home!"
Gathering For Firefighter Warren Blake (CLICK to enlarge)
Portion of the HFD roster from the 1951 Hamden Annual Town Report
This photo is believed to have been taken at a gathering at Warren Blake's home sometime in the winter of 1951 or 52. Chief Raymond C. Spencer and several on and off-duty firefighters stopped by to wish him either farewell or welcome home after being called back to active duty in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War.
Warren joined the Hamden Fire Department in April 1949. Like all young Hamden firefighters at the time, he was a veteran of World War II, serving as an Electrician's Mate in the United States Navy.
The 1951 Annual Town Report listed Warren as "A.W.L." (absent with leave), referring to his recall to the U.S. Navy. According to fellow retirees who were on the job at the time, Warren returned to duty about a year later with his seniority intact. He retired on his 30th anniversary with the department in 1979.
Warren Blake was a charter member of the HFRA. He passed away in September 2009, shortly after its formation.