Using the old Plaza parking lot bandstand as a jumping off point, Firefighter Frank Eitler thrills the kiddies as he takes a fling at jumping into the net of Ladder 1.
I.A. Sneiderman Photo
Now it's Tramontano's turn. A quarter of a century later he will be leading the department.
I.A. Sneiderman Photo
Chief V. Paul Leddy
March 14, 1966
Chief Leddy Stressed Department Inadequacies, Urged Improvements
Station 4: "antiquated" and "too small"
In a New Haven Register interview 48 years ago this week, Chief V. Paul Leddy outlined numerous inadequacies and pressing needs of the Hamden Fire Department of the mid-1960s. During the next few years, Leddy's tenacious appeals to town leaders as well as the 42-hour workweek for line personnel resulted in many of the changes and improvements that were urgently needed.
But that was over 40 years ago. Hamden's population now tops 60,000 and emergency responses have been averaging around 10,000 annually, nearly ten times the number of responses in the mid-1960s. Department manpower, which increased considerably during Leddy's tenure, has been lowered by 23% over the past twenty-five years. And the last new fire stations, built in 1968 and 1970, are in sad shape. A recent three-year renovation of the 85-year old Station 4 enlarged and vastly improved conditions on the facility's second floor. But the renovation did not enlarge the apparatus floor, nor could it change the station's rather difficult location, both of these problems being reasons for Chief Leddy's 1966 appeal for a new fire headquarters - something that has yet to be realized after nearly five decades.
It was a hot St. Patrick's Day in 1957 for Hamden firefighters when Corey's Wayside Market caught fire. The building was located at 2381 Dixwell Avenue, corner of Skiff Street, approximately where Town Fair Tire is today. Twenty-two years later fire gutted the nearby Corey Lumber Company, up the street at 2419 Dixwell, on a crazy night that culminated in another nasty fire at the Howard Johnson's Restaurant (now Hamden Town House) on Whitney Avenue. CLICK HERE: Corey Lumber Co. Fire - April 20-21, 1979
Postcard image from the collection of Mary Jane McGaffin, Hamden, CT
Courtesy of Chan Brainard
December 1, 1983
118 Line Personnel
This would be the last department roster issued during the tenure of Chief V. Paul Leddy, who retired less than five months after it was issued.
With the appointments of Paul Durkin and Don Buechele in February 1982, the department operated at full staffing of 120 line personnel for the last time. (See "Rosters" - March 5, 1982) This would end in December 1982 with the sudden death of Firefighter/Paramedic Edward Charbonneau, who was one of the department's original paramedics. With no civil service list for entry level firefighter at the time, the vacancy was not filled and Platoon 2 ran with 29 instead of 30 personnel.
In early 1983, the new full-time staff position of Emergency Medical Services Coordinator was filled by Lieutenant Walter T. Macdowall, who also was one of the department's original paramedics. The lieutenant's vacancy created by Macdowall's appointment was filled by Robert Westervelt. With Macdowall's move to a staff position and the loss of Firefighter Charbonneau, the line was reduced to 118 personnel.
A few of the other line personnel were transferred in order to maintain adequate EMT and paramedic staffing on all platoons.