Hamden Fire Retirees Association Started With an Invitation
April 7, 2009 - After years of talking about it, a number of retired Hamden firefighters decided it was time to do something about it. Five years ago this week a few retirees got together in the back of Bob Viglione's barber shop in North Branford to stuff scores of envelopes addressed to those fire retirees who could be located. The envelopes contained invitations to meet the following month to form a retirees' association. And we did! Five years later, nearly 80% of all retirees have joined.
HFRA Spring Quarterly Meeting
Next Wednesday, April 9th, NOON
Hamden Elks' Lodge, 175 School Street
Anything for the Good of the Association
Sausage, Pepper Parmesan sub or Meatball Parmesan sub,
Jim Moore took this nice shot of the refurbished '73 Maxim at Station 9 sometime in the late 1980s.
50 Years Ago - "Search and Communications Drill"
On Sunday, April 5, 1964, members of Hamden's paid and volunteer fire companies participated in a "search and communications" drill. A few days later, the New Haven Journal-Courier reported that the drill, conducted by Chief V. Paul Leddy and Civil Defense Director Dep. Chief Daniel Hume, was also a test of the "new citizen's band radio operation."
The object of the drill was to locate a supposedly radioactive 15" square box that had been hidden the day before somewhere in Brooksvale Park. The box was located by Co. 8 Capt. John DeMatteo after only two and one-half hours. Using radiological detection instruments, the box was determined to be safe for removal. Members of the West Woods Women's Auxiliary provided refreshments.
Courtesy of Gil Spencer and Chan Brainard - CLICK to enlarge
Not mentioned in the newspaper caption were Co. 5 members Jim Mathis and Don Steele, who were standing off to the right. Among the other drill participants pictured were future career member, Ed Doiron, who would join the department at the end of the year, and Fred Fletcher, who already was an 18-year department member. Fred was an elected line officer of Co. 5 at the time.
When significant emergencies occurred in those days, all off-duty career department personnel were expected to return to duty. So, career members who lived in volunteer districts were often active members of those volunteer companies.
Firefighter Stan Brown took this portait of Station 2 sometime in the mid-1960s. When the 1913 fire station was enlarged to three bays in 1951, the IDs above the bay doors corresponded to the apparatus housed therein. But later interior changes dictated swapping of positions. (L-R) - Engine 2 (1959 Maxim), Truck 1 (1958 Maxim) and Engine 1 (1938 Seagrave).
Stan Brown Photo courtesy of Chan Brainard
Despite the "TRUCK 1" sign above the door, the official department term to denote this type of apparatus was "Ladder." On July 1, 1974, radio designations for all apparatus were changed and "Ladder 42" became "Truck 1." Previously, the department term for the 1941 Diamond-T and 1926 Maxim city service ladder trucks was "Hook and Ladder."
Photo courtesy of Chan Brainard - Posted 4/4/14
April 9, 1976 - Mark Pratt mugged it up for the camera while driving Engine 2 to the Shop at the back of Station 2 for fuel. With the number of gasoline-powered engines dwindling, the gasoline pump located between the two bay doors of the Shop was gone by 1988.
January 1, 1999
Between mid-1995 and the end of 1998, seventeen department members retired and fifteen vacancies were filled. Chief Paul Wetmore, Sr., who succeeded Chief John Tramontano in 1993, retired in 1996 after 34 years of service. Asst. Chief Tim Sullivan was appointed Chief to succeed Wetmore. Dep. Fire Marshal Ed Badamo was appointed Asst. Chief to succeed Sullivan. Lt. John Spencer was appointed Deputy Fire Marshal to succeed Badamo.
Also in 1996, Battalion Chief Tom Doherty retired after 35 years on the job. In 1998, Capt. Paul Wetmore Jr. was promoted to succeed Doherty as battalion chief of Platoon 3. Lt. Dave Strawhince was promoted captain to succeed Wetmore.
Lt. Jack Calamo retired in 1996 with 26 years of service. Lt. Bob Kelo retired in 1998 with 27½ years of service. The four lieutenant vacancies that occurred during this period were filled by Firefighters Jim Dunlop, Bernie Amatrudo, Dennis Harrison and Gary Couture.
Asst. Supt. of Alarms and Apparatus Ray Chase was appointed to replace Supt. Mike Murray, who requested reassignment back to the line. Firefighter Tom Conway was appointed to replace Chase as Asst. Supt.
Thirteen firefighters also retired during this period, leaving a total of 17 vacancies: Frank Kafka (28 years), Bill Davin (30 years), Tom Hart (16½ years), George Patten (34 years), Mark Pratt (22½ years), Tony Melillo (27½ years), Fred "Chick" Manware (25 years), Dave McDermott (28 years), Tom Mikolinski (26 years), Harold Prescher (17½ years), Jim Moore (30 years), Ralph Dievert (29 years), and Jim Koutsopolos (28 years).
Fifteen of the 17 firefighter vacancies were filled by Timothy Lunn, Jeffery Pechmann, Donald Paczowski, Paul Turner, John Bradbury, Paul Anderson, Brian Badamo, Jeffrey Woodford,, Edwin Evers, Kevin Shields, Bryon Tierney, Raymond Pouncey, Julio Lopes, Douglass Taylor and John Grasso.