In early 1979, non-management uniformed employees of the Hamden Fire Department voted overwhelmingly to join the International Association of Fire Fighters. On March 19th, the IAFF certified the Charter of the Hamden Professional Firefighters Association and it became the IAFF's 2687th local.
Of the 78 members whose names appear on the Charter, twenty-seven have passed away. Batt. Chief Donald E. LaBanca is the lone charter member still on the job as of this 36th anniversary. And rumor has it that Don is retiring soon.
The Hamden Paid Firemen's Sick Benefit Association was organized in 1948 to provide benefits for firefighters who were out sick or injured. All department members belonged. When collective bargaining was permited for public safety employees in the late 1960s, the HPFSBA became the bargaining unit for non-management Hamden firefighters. However all management employees, including the Chief, the Fire Marshal, all four D/C Shift Commanders and the D/C Training Officer, remained members the HPFSBA. For obvious reasons, this eventually became a problem.
In mid-1978, the short-lived Hamden Firefighters Association became the official bargaining unit until the Hamden Professional Firefighters Association was formed the following year. In 1982, all five Deputy Chiefs and the Fire Marshal successfully petitioned to join the Local, leaving the Fire Chief as the only management employee. This gave rise to the creation of the position of Assistant Chief (now Deputy Chief), which was filled by Walt Macdowall, whose name appears at the top of the 1979 Charter.
The Hamden Paid Firemen's Sick Benefit Association remained a separate benefits organization until December 1995, when it officially disbanded.
Local 2687 Officers - Class of 1979
The Hamden Professional Firefighters Association, Local 2687 of the I.A.F.F. was only a few months old when it sponsored a 1950s rock and roll fundraiser show on Saturday, November 10, 1979 in the Hamden High School gymnasium. The scan below from the program shows the first generation of Local 2687 officers, who were all members of the fundrasing committee.
Note the neckties that were worn with work uniforms when arriving for and departing from work, as well as when on watch.
Rick Kenyon and Jack Mordecai were elected negotiators.
Happy #36 to our active brothers and sister of Local 2687!
HFRA Spring Meeting Wednesday, April 8th, Noon Hamden Elks' Lodge, 175 School Street
Report on the Pension Plan
Anything for the Good of the Assn.
Menu: 1/2 lb. pre-cooked Hamburgers; your choice of any two sides of french fries, onion rings and cole slaw; five different kinds of cheese; sauteed onions. Bacon, lettuce, tomato and raw onions available - $8.00
Rescue & Haz-Mat, 1954 Style
The Hamden Chronicle
Thursday, March 21, 1954
The firefighter pictured below in the 1954 version of a "proximity suit" was Bill Bossoli. The outfit was actually made of asbestos, which might protect a firefighter from flame but not from the bad stuff associated with what it was actually made of.
Despite donning something 61 years ago that today is considered a bona fide hazardous material, Bill Bossoli is an active 95-year old Hamdenite - 96 in May! Richie Lostritto, pictured to the right of Bill, is a regular active member of the HFRA. Bill and Richie both joined the department in September 1950. Bill left the department in 1956. Richie retired in 1985 as Supt. of Alarms & Apparatus.
Paul Leddy went on to serve as Chief of the Department from 1960 until his retirement in 1984. Paul Rosadina also retired in 1984, at the rank of Commander (B/C). Chief Leddy passed in 1994; Cmdr. Rosadina in 2003.
Article courtesy of the family of Sid Trower; photo courtesy of D/C Gary Merwede
April 26, 2011 - Bill Bossoli, Joe Rahl and Richie Lostritto at the Company 5 Centennnial Reunion.