A couple of more photos from Ed Doiron's collection show a 1976 high expansion foam training session at the Public Works on Shepard Avenue. It actually appears to be a sales exhibition by a vendor. The apparatus being demonstrated was never acquired by the department. The primary application of this type of foam delivery system would have been for extinguishing fires in below grade and in confined spaces.
In the top photo, Platoon 2 commander Deputy Chief Joe McDermott and Firefighter Warren Blake observe while an unidentified firefighter assists the vendor. Warren was assigned to Engine 9. Car 30, the car assigned to the shift commanders, was a bright red 1974 Chevy Malibu wagon, which can be seen in the background. Engine 9 and Engine 4 are also barely visible.
Photos by Eddy Doiron
Warren Blake (right) is assisted by another individual who looks a lot like Firefighter Joe Yoga, but who probably is not Joe. Joe Yoga was a Platoon 1 guy. Of course it is possible that Joe may have caught an extra duty job on Platoon 2 that day.
If you stayed by your phone every minute you were off duty you might catch two or three extra jobs a year. The "Deputies," who were management at the time, could call your home anytime of the day to offer you an extra job, even at noontime when most firemen were working their part time jobs to help make ends meet. But if you weren't there to accept the job, you were marked with a refusal.
Another mutual aid call ends a busy month for Hamden.
But first . . .
Saturday, January 25, 1941
Fire seriously damages two-family home on Millis Street
The Hamden Fire Department and departments in several adjacent municipalities got hammered by several major fires 75 years ago this month. The New Year started with a fire that destroyed Cheshire Academy's ancient Horton Hall. Hamden and several other area towns sent apparatus to Cheshire. A few days later the old Peck School on Hillfield Road was destroyed by a suspicious fire (see January 8th website update).
Then on Friday, January 24th, fire department records show that every fire company in Hamden responded to a blaze that caused $22,000 ($365,000 today) in damages to the Connecticut High Test Sand and Gravel Company on Haig Street. We have no articles about that fire, but we're working on it.
The next day, fire seriously damaged a two-family home on Millis Street. The loss was estimated at $3,000 (over $50,000 today).
Finally, on the last day of January, a massive fire destroyed much of the North Haven Congregational Church at the corner of Church and Linsey Streets. (And there would be one more major blaze in February, too. Stayed tuned.)
New Haven Evening Register, Monday, January 27, 1941 (Steele Collection)
. . . then five days later:
North Haven Congregational Church
Friday, January 31, 1941
Hamden, New Haven and West Haven are called to assist the No.H.F.D.
According to the news accounts, the fire in the 28-year old North Haven Congregational Church was discovered "shortly before 9." With fire breaking through the roof just as water began to flow, it was immediately clear to North Haven fire officials that mutual aid would be necessary.
Department records indicate that Hamden received the alarm at 8:54 p.m. Engine 4, Engine 5 and the Squad responded. Hamden firefighters were praised for their quick response and actions to save the unburned portions of the building with the use of the deck gun on the 1938 Emergency Squad.
New Haven sent Truck 6 out of the Edwards Street station, and West Haven sent Savin Rock Hose Company 4 out of the station at 28 Holmes Street. 1st Asst. Chief Francis Spaine of the New Haven Fire Department directed operations along with company officers from North Haven and West Haven.
By the time the fire was finally knocked down, massive amounts of water and frigid temperatures had left a six inch layer of ice on the floor of the church. The last Hamden unit rang back in service at ten minutes past one on Saturday morning, February 1st.
The beautiful stone church, completed in 1913, replaced the original church that had burned down in 1911. Despite the best efforts of the firefighting forces, the newer church had to be razed as well. It was eventually replaced by the more modern looking brick building in the color photo below.
The news article gave the church's location as "Quinnipac Avenue near Broadway." It was actually located on North Haven's Church Street, a small stretch of road that connects the end of Maple Avenue, an extension of Quinnipiac Avenue, with Broadway.
According to the log book of all Hamden Fire Department activity from October 1931 to September 1941, the property loss was estimated at $80,000 ($1.35M today).
CLICK on the news article below to enlarge it for easier reading
The New Haven Evening Register, Saturday, February 1, 1941 (G. Donald Steele Collection)
CLICK on the above news article to enlarge it for easier reading
Firefighter Joe Hromadka (standing) and Firefighter Ed Kromer (at the wheel)
Hamden's first motorized pumping engine was the 1915 Maxim 500 GPM, delivered to Whitneyville. This 1939 photograph is the only known snapshot of Hamden's second pumping engine, a 1919 Seagrave 750 GPM pumper, purchased by the town in June 1919 for the Humphrey Volunteer Fire Association. Cost was $12,500. The truck was delivered with solid rubber tires that were replaced by balloon tires in 1925.
We are hoping to acquire a pre-delivery factory photo of this apparatus - if one still exists - from a friend of the website who may have such a photo. We'll keep you posted.
As reported here two weeks ago, representatives from Social Security (Medicare), Anthem and Hamden Personnel conducted a Q&A session with retired police and fire personnel at the quarterly meeting of the Hamden Fire Retirees Assn. on January 14th at the Hamden Elks Lodge. Approximately 50 retirees attended.
Brief videos taken at the Q&A, with questions regarding Medicare, the Windfall Elimination Provision and Government Pension Offset have been posted on YouTube - more to come - and may be accessed from the Benefits page of this website by clicking on the photo below.
More videos will follow shortly, after they have been edited from the original video sources.
Anthem representative Karen Mordecai explaining medical benefits