March 5 - The kids at Shepherd Glen elementary school got quite a show Friday afternoon just before school got out. The blaze in this pick-up truck parked out on Skiff Street Ext. was reported at 2:29. Arriving two minutes later, the crew of HFD Squad 1 put out the blaze in seconds (see video). There were no other exposures and no dangers posed to the kids or faculty.
Information on this incident, as well as the photo and video, courtesy of the Hamden Fire Chief's Office.
Hamden police held traffic on Skiff Street Ext. and Howard Drive to assist with public safety. Marshal Tim Dolan is investigating the cause of the fire.
The brief cellphone video at right shows the firefighters' quick actions. The kids at Shepherd Glen paid a price for this impromptu demonstration of firefighting, however. School dismissal was delayed.
We have no newspaper articles, photos or video about the transition, but 30 years ago this week Communications Bulletin No. 170 reported that all of the 2-1/2" supply line was removed from Engine 1 and 800' of brand new 5" LDH packed in its place. The following week, Engine 3 (900'), Engine 4 (1,000') and Engine 9 (1,000') were also loaded with new lengths LDH.
Engines 2 and 6 kept split beds of 2-1/2" and 3" supply lines until late October 1986, at which time the 2-1/2" was removed from each engine and 1,000' of new LDH packed in its place.
Ff. Larry DeBurra begins to read the classic Dr. Seuss book “Green Eggs and Ham”, while Lt. Mike Dowling looks on.
Read Across America
[The website thanks Dep. Chief Gary Merwede for providing the following text and photos of our department members as they participated in the Read Across America observance in Hamden public schools.]
On Wednesday March 2, 2016 the Hamden Fire Department participated in the “Read Across America” program at Church Street Elementary School.
The personnel assigned to Hamden Fire Department's Engine 2 on Circular Avenue joined with other community volunteers, including members of the Hamden Police Department, members of the United Way, and Hamden Mayor Curt Balzano Leng, in classrooms to read books with Church Street School students.
This was a great opportunity to instill the importance of reading, while having fun and interacting with the staff and students.
For more information on how to participate and volunteer, contact your local United Way office.
Members of HFD Engine 2, Hamden Mayor Curt Balzano Leng,
staff and other community volunteers are pictured together following the event.
Hamden never had a subscription fire department, wherein citizens paid a private fire brigade for fire protection. The protected building owners were then issued fire marks to be conspicuously displayed on their buildings so firefighters would know what buildings were covered in the event of fire.
In 1976, Hamden Firefighter Ed Doiron saw an assortment of reproduction fire marks in an East Haven shop. Although East Haven never had a subscription fire department, either, the repro fire marks in the shop were labeled "EAST HAVEN" Ed asked the owner if fire marks with "HAMDEN" could be ordered. The shop owner contacted the guy who forged the East Haven markers, who told Ed if twenty-five or more of the fire marks were ordered he would only charge Ed ten bucks each. Ed immediately ordered twenty-five "HAMDEN" fire marks, selling them to fellow firefighters at cost - five bucks more it they were painted black and detailed in red and gold paint.
When the fire marks sold out the first week, twenty-five more were ordered. They also sold out immediately. Ed doesn't recall if there was a third order, but lots of these "HAMDEN" fire marks should still be around forty years later.
The HFRA website got some ink this week in an article by freelance writer Gail Donahue, who contributes a wellness column for the Hamden-North Haven Post-Chronicle. Ms. Donahue's article spotlights efforts to preserve and promote local history by the "Journey Club," a group of older Hamden residents who meet monthly at Miller Library to share photos, stories and remembrances of growing up in Hamden.
Ms. Donahue's article also focused on efforts of the HFRA website to not only showcase the remarkable history of the Hamden Fire Department, but to also encourage its visitors to understand the importance of remembering Hamden landmarks, and how and why they have changed (or have disappeared) over the years. Enjoy!
MS. DONAHUE'S ARTICLE (BELOW) MAY BE ENLARGED FOR EASIER READING.
CLICK ON THE IMAGE.
"Journey to the Present," by Gail Donahue, published in the March 2, 2016 edition of the POST-CHRONICLE.
In addition to celebrating the history of the Hamden Fire Department, we occasionally use this space to focus on how Hamden's landscape has changed over the years. Here's a really good one:
Many of us who grew up in Hamden during the middle of the 20th Century will remember when McDonald's appeared on the Dixwell Avenue "island," between Shepard Avenue and Skiff Street in 1957. This 1965 photo of McDonald's iconic "Golden Arches" sign is loaded with many things that are but a distant memory - and some that are not.
Dixwell Avenue in 1965 - McDonald's "Golden Arches" - CLICK to enlarge
What has changed? Compare the 1965 photo with the one below, taken just yesterday from the same vantage point.
Popeye's took over McDonald's former site when the hamburger joint moved up the street to its present Hamden Mart location in 1983. The Hamden Garden Center at the extreme right in the older photo is now a store that specializes in Kitchens.
The Corey Lumber Company, beyond the gas pumps in the older photo, burned down in April 1979 (aha, we knew some sort of HFD connection could be made with this photo).
Also note the double yellow line in the street, which indicates that Dixwell Avenue was two-way in those days, as was Old Dixwell Avenue on the back side of the island.
The same location, March 3, 2016 - CLICK to enlarge
What has NOT changed? Though rebuilt in the 1990s to include a convenience store, the GULF service station is still there,
as are the billboards (background left). Also, the GULF logo appears to be unchanged.
One-half century ago those billboards backed up to the Farmington Canal rail line. Today, the same billboards front a hiking trail converted from the railway right-of-way that supported the Northampton Rail Line from the late-1840s until the mid-1970s.
And what about that 26-cent a gallon price for Gulf gasoline? Was that a bargain when compared to today's price?
According to the U.S. Inflation Calculator website (http://www.usinflationcalculator.com/), today's cash price of $1.79 per gallon at that same Gulf station is a better bargain than it was in 1965. When adjusted for inflation, 26 cents in 1965 would be the equivalent of $1.96 today.