The incident is unknown, but we think this is a great photo of Firefighter Mark Pratt, who served on the Department from 1973 until 1995. The red helmet denoted that Mark was assigned to a truck company at the time of the photo, which appears to have been taken in the late 1980s.
Mark worked most of his career on Platoon 3. Always a conscientious firefighter, between alarms Mark was a fountain of humor and great stories - and he still is. To newer members who joined the department after he retired, Mark is probably best known for his witty, sometimes edgy, but always respectful send-ups of new retirees at the annual retirement dinners.
"Inside Baseball" Dept. - The caption above the photo refers to a common 1970s "Mark" expression and not to a recent retiree.
Two Fires, 90 Years Apart, at a Long-Gone Area Landmark
Once a favorite meeting place for off-duty Hamden firefighters
Following up on last week's piece about New Haven's Hull's Brewery Rathskellar, where Hamden firefighters held several gatherings in the early 1960s, we want to thank former New Haven Fire Commissioner Bill Celentano, Jr. for use of his photos of a memorable August 1978 fire at the century-old building.
Fresenius Brewery Fire
April 15, 1888
Hulls' Brewery Fire
August 26, 1978
Photo by A. Bowman (New Haven Firefighters, 2005)
Photo by William Celetano, Jr.
According to the 1888 New Haven City Directory, the NHFD had two ladder companies, Hook and Ladder No 1 at 40 Artizan Street, and the Quinnipiac Hook and Ladder No. 3 at the corner of East Pearl and Pierpont Streets. The apparatus in the above photo was the American LaFrance aerial ladder assigned to Hook & Ladder, No. 1, consisting of "an aerial truck on springs, drawn by two horses. Carries six ladders, ten hooks, four axes, two picks, four brass lanterns, two single lamps, and one crowbar. Company full, 14 men. Captain, Charles H. Hilton. Lieutenant, Charles Merwin. Driver, Wm. M. Page. Pilot, W.W. Miller." (Was the "pilot" the tillerman?)
There is no mention of a Hook and Ladder No 2 in 1888, but the New Haven City Year Book for 1908 states that NHFD Ladder Co. 2 was located at 444 Howard Avenue. In 1943, Truck Co. 2 moved up the street to new quarters that were converted from the old Washington School at 525 Howard Avenue. Shortly after the '78 Hull's fire, the Howard Avenue fire station was closed and razed. While a new Hill fire station was being constructed where the old station stood, a warehouse on Congress Avenue served as temporary quarters for Truck 2. The new Hill station was dedicated September 15, 1980.
Hamden never had horsedrawn fire apparatus, the only non-motorized apparatus being handdrawn. Hamden's first motorized unit was Mt. Carmel's used Model-T Ford, acquired in 1913 to tow its hose cart. Hamden first motorized fire engine was Whitneyville's 1915 Maxim 500 GPM pumper. At about the same time Hamden was getting motorized, big-city fire departments were motorizing their newer horsedrawn apparatus with gasoline-powered tractors.
The ladder truck in the 1978 photo appears to be equipped with some wooden ground ladders. In 1988, Lt. Clyde Stewart of Truck Co. 6 on Whitney Avenue informed us that the last run by a NHFD truck equipped with wooden ground ladders was on a mutual aid call to Hamden's Davenport Residence on May 25, 1988. Returning to quarters following the fire, the tractor-drawn Seagrave that had been Truck 6 was replaced by a newer truck equipped with fiberglass and aluminum ground ladders.
All Hull's Brewery photos by, and courtesy of William Celetano, Jr.
CLICK to enlarge any of them
Article revised 3/12/14
ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Hartford Courant, August 27, 1978, pg. 48A
Looking north on Congress, corner of Bond Street
Older Seagrave Ladder Truck
Slated for demolition, it was nonetheless a sad end to a historic landmark
On October 13, 1978, New Haven police arrested a 14-year old neighborhood youth for starting the fire.
Fishing for a squirrel?
Not one of the more dramatic roles of the fire service, but it went with the territory
"Fireman Harry Cubbellotti of Co. 2 fishing for squirrel on the chimney at 966 Prospect Street" was the caption on this I.A. Sneiderman photo, published in the New Haven newspaper on February 19, 1968.
Harry wasn't actually "fishing" for the squirrel, he was offering the animal a way to get out.
Squirrels and other small animals can enter homes through chimneys. Once inside, they are a potential threat to personal safety and can do significant damage property. But if the damper is closed, the animal is trapped inside the chimney, usually unable to escape up the sheer walls of the flue.
Dropping a rope down the chimney offers a way for the offending creature to climb out. Leaving the rope in place, the crew usually returns later in the day to see if the animal succeeded.
April 1988 - This photo, previously published on the website, was taken outside the old repair shop at Station 2. Supt. of Alarms and Apparatus Paul Wetmore, Sr., hydrant maintainer Larry Gershman, and Asst. Supt. Mike Murray pose in front of Car 7, the superintendent's utility truck.