Friday, November 28 - Dozens of active and retired department members turned out today at a reception in the Council Chambers of Memorial Town Hall to honor Supt. Don Buechele and Fire Marshal Dennis Harrison. Both will be officially reitred as of 5 o'clock this afternoon after more than 60 years total service to the Hamden Fire Department.
Supt. Don Buschele, Chief David Berardesca and Marshal Dennis Harrison
Supt. Buechele began his fire service career as a volunteer firefighter in East Haven and was appointed to the HFD in February 1982, at which time he was assigned to Platoon 4 at Station 4. Don has served as the Department's Superintendent of Apparatus since 2006, when his predecessor, Harold Mangler, retired.
Marshal Harrison began his fire service career as a volunteer firefighter and officer in North Branford. He was appointed to the HFD as a Firefighter/Paramedic in February 1987. Dennis was promoted to lieutenant exactly ten years to the day later, and eight years later - same date - he was promoted to captain. Dennis was appointed as Hamden's sixth fulltime fire marshal in 2012.
The HFRA thanks Supt. Buechele and Marshal Harrison for their dedicated service to the HFD and the residents of the Town ofHamden and wish them both a long, happy and healthy retirement.
Nov. 28, 2014 - Dep.Chief Gary Merwede got this great aerial view of today's reception for Don and Dennis in the Town Hall auditorium. Lots of familiar faces - old and new.
One of the many department members who stopped by at the Town Hall to bid farewell to Buechele and Harrison was Batt. Chief Bill Fitzmaurice. Bill and Dennis were among six recruits who joined the department in February 1987. The news photo (above left) was taken by Register reporter Ann DeMatteo when the six firefighters received their Fire Fighter I certifications in the same location as today's reception. In addition to Batt. Chief Fitzmaurice, Batt. Chief John Spencer and Capt. Ron Desroches are two other members of that class who are still active department members. The other two of the original six, former Chief Tim Sullivan and Ff./Paramedic Kevin O'Hare have been retired for several years.
♫ "and now, the end is near . . ." ♪
Flanked by Ff. Seth Patrick and Capt. Jason Blyth, Dennis is treated to a mini-testimonial with only 80 minutes left on the clock before civilianhood sets in.
The B/C attempts a farewell kiss. Could this have anything to do with Walt Macdowall's 1980s nickname for Dennis? Who knows? In any event, Dennis, we wish you well in the years ahead!
FIRESIDE RESTAURANT 3307 Whitney Avenue Thanksgiving Day (and Night) Thursday, November 23, 1967
The Fireside Restaurant lived up to its name on Thanksgiving Day 1967. Shortly after noontime, Capt. Don Steele of the Mt. Carmel Volunteer Fire Co. was driving south on Whitney Avenue in his '65 Dodge wagon. As he approached the "Big Y" (Yantic Beef Co.) just north of Sherman Avenue, he thought he saw smoke coming from the Fireside Restaurant right across the street. Don slowed down in front of the 150 year old wood frame building to take a closer look. He was right. It was smoke, and it wasn't coming from the chimney.
Luckily, Box 17 was mounted on a utility pole nearby on the corner of Whitney and Sherman. Don pulled the lever inside and transmitted the alarm to all Hamden fire stations, where every gong and Gamewell tape register tapped out one strike followed by seven strikes - four times. The first alarm companies listed for Box 17 were Engine 5, Engine 4, Rescue 2, Ladder 1 and Car 30.
Ff. Dave Howe
Station 5 was less than a mile away. Engine 5, driven by Firefighter Dave Howe, arrived in less than four minutes. Senior man Firefighter Fred Fletcher transmitted "10-8" for a working fire. It was going to be another busy holiday for Hamden firefighters.
A working fire in that part of Hamden also brought out Co. 5 and Co. 9 volunteers, who were toned out right away. Co. 5's volunteers responded from their homes. Their apparatus was Co. 5's "paid" engine, already on scene. Co. 9 volunteers responded with their apparatus, Engine 59, the 1942 Diamond-T. ("Paid" Engine 9 was still more than a year off.) Car 53, the 1952 Dodge utility truck, responded from the Shop on special call.
Don later made the following entry in his notebook,"11/23 - 12:30 ± - Fireside Restaurant Whitney Avenue. Tone sounded when [Fred] Fletcher, [Dave] Howe and I were laying a line after I pulled the box! 9 [Co. 5 volunteers] responded: Steele, Steele, Pedersen, Pedersen, Spencer, Johnson, Dougan, Hurlburt (Sr), and Clemons. Caught it just in time. Tim and I were late for Thanksgiving Dinner!"The two Steeles were Don and his son, Tim. The two Pedersen's were Find and his brother Anders.
Firefighters responded to the site nearly fourteen hours later for a blaze that did even more damage to the building. The cause of the second fire was not believed to be a rekindle of the earlier fire, but a new blaze of suspicious origin.
Don's follow-up notation:"11/24/67 - 1:20 AM - Almost exact ditto of above except someone else pulled the box - and a lot more fire." The early morning rekindle was seen as suspcious.
From Historic Hamden (Hamden Historical Society: 1976), "This was originally a one and one-half story house with five rooms and three fireplaces. In the 1820's it was moved from the route of the Farmington Canal and relocated across Whitney Avenue. It was then made into a two-story house."
Suspicious rekindle in the early morning hours of Friday, November 24, 1967 - Ventilating the roof - CLICK to enlarge (John Mongillo, Jr.)
This is an aerial view of what the vicinity of Whitney and Sherman looked like at the time of the fire. Totally reconfigured in the early 1980s, the only buildings still standing today are the church, parish house, the Fireside Restaurant building and the white building just south of it. "X" marks where Sherman Avenue now exits to Whitney. (CLICK to enlarge)
Nov. 2014 - "The Fireside" is Andale's Mexican Restaurant. The large addition to the rear was added since 1967.
Original article posted 11/24/09
Hamden Fire Department Apparatus Inventory November 1967 Station 2 Engine 1 (Spare) – 1938 Seagrave 600 g.p.m. pumper Engine 2 – 1959 Maxim "Cab-Forward" 750 g.p.m. pumper Ladder 1 – 1958 Maxim 75' "Junior" aerial ladder truck Repair Shop 1952 Dodge D126 Maintenance Truck Car 50 - 1955 Ford 1/2 Ton Pickup Truck (CD) Station 3 Engine 3 – 1954 Maxim 750 g.p.m. pumper Rescue 1 - 1958 International Travel-all Station 4 (Headquarters) Engine 4 – 1965 Mack 750 g.p.m. pumper Rescue 2 - 1960 International Travel-all Car 30 - Dep. Chief - 1966 Ford Station Wagon Station 5 Engine 5 – 1952 Maxim 750 g.p.m. pumper Spare – 1938 Diamond-T e/w 150 g.p.m. pump
Station 6 Engine 6 – 1951 Maxim 750 g.p.m. pumper Station 7 Engine 37 – 1939 Diamond-T 500 g.p.m. pumper Engine 47 – 1935 Dodge 150 g.p.m. pumper Station 8 Engine 38 – 1942 Diamond-T 500 g.p.m. pumper Station 9 Engine 39 – 1942 Diamond-T 600 g.p.m. pumper Staff Vehicles Car 40 - Chief - 1965 Chevrolet sedan Car 41 - Marshal - 1961 Ford Sedan
375 Mather Street
Wednesday, November 28, 1973
Delivered in 1960
Website thanks to West Haven retirees Bob Freeman and John Patry for clarifying the date of the Maxim aerial ladder truck posted last week. According to John, the truck was delivered in 1960, but ordered in 1959. According to its order number, 4160, it appears that the order for the aerial truck was placed well before 1959 was over.
Hamden's 1959 cab-forward was Maxim’s order number 4047. Southington's 1959 open-cab pumper, posted here on November 7th, was order number 4281. However, that does not mean that Maxim manufactured 234 pieces of apparatus between the Hamden and Southington orders. It just means that 234 orders were placed for Maxim products, some of which could have been for a simple nut, bolt or chrome strip, each having its own order number.
West Haven's 1960 aerial truck was order number 4160 was right between the Hamden and Southington 1959 pumpers. This suggests that the West Haven aerial truck was, indeed, ordered in 1959.