This week's update marks anniversaries of two noteworthy HFD emergency responses. The earliest was a fire at a North Haven chemical plant to which our department responded sixty-five years ago. The other, thirteen years later, involved a fuel oil spill into Lake Whitney. Today both emergencies would have been classified as Haz-Mat incidents, but were handled according SOPs in effect at the time.
65 Years Ago!
The Carwin Chemical Co.
41 Stiles Lane, North Haven
Wednesday, March 30, 1949
The Hamden Fire Department responded to North Haven's Carwin Chemical Co., located at the end of Stiles Lane, which runs east of State Street opposite the end of Dixwell Avenue. Ironically, Hamden and North Haven fire oficials had met two weeks earlier and decided to discontinue Hamden's coverage of certain areas of North Haven as of the following October 1.
The Hamden Chronicle, Thursday, March 31, 1949 (Courtesy of the Hamden Historical Society)
The Stiles Lane site of the Carwin Chemical Co. was later occupied by the Upjohn Chemical Corp., which ceased operations in 1993. Recently the site has been undergoing a massive and very expensive decontamination.
On March 19, 1941 at 4:30 p.m., Engine 4, Engine 5, the Squad and the Hook & Ladder were dispatched to the Peters residence at 2316 Dixwell Avenue for a reported oil burner fire. At 4:31 p.m., the ladder truck was struck by a Connecticut Company trolley car at the corner of Dixwell and Mather. Firefighter David F. Howe was driving. There were no other riders. Miraculously, Howe was uninjured.
The truck was deemed unsalvageable and was traded in for a brand new 1941 Diamond-T city service ladder truck from the Woods Engineering Co. in Topsfield, Massachuetts. The new truck was delivered in February of the following year.
Originally posted March 19, 2011
This week also marks the 51st anniversary of the decision by the Hamden Board of Fire Commissioners to sell the 1941 Diamond-T ladder truck that replaced the truck totalled in the trolley car encounter. The $2,200 realized from the sale of the 22-year old truck went toward the purchase of Plectron radios for alerting members of the four Hamden volunteer fire companies.
Hamden Chronicle - March 28, 1963
Sold to New Milford's Water Witch Co. for $2,200
Change of Underwear Dept.
"There, but for that telephone pole, go I"
This Journal-Courier photo dated March 28, 1966 was among hundreds of news articles donated to the HFRA a couple of years ago by Honorary Member Chan Brainard. It immediately caught our eye . . .
This "one-car crash" was nearly a two-car crash! Returning home from a movie, your webmeister and his younger brother were traveling northbound on Whitney Avenue. Less than two blocks from our street, this brand new dark green Chrysler Imperial came out of nowhere, barreling right at us.
At the last moment the driver veered into a telephone pole, avoiding a head-on collision with our car. The pole was directly in front of Russota's Paint store, where Keating Brothers is today.
No surprise: The Chrysler driver was pinched for "failure to drive in the proper lane." Today, charges also would have included something called "D.W.I."