The members of the Hamden Fire Retirees Association extend their sincere condolences to the family of New Haven Firefighter Jeffrey K. O'Neil, and to the active and retired members of the New Haven Fire Department, following the death of Firefighter O'Neil in an auto accident early Thursday morning in New Britain. According to WTNH News Channel 8, Firefighter O'Neil, 37, was the passenger in a car that struck a utility pole on Black Rock Avenue around 1:16 this morning. Police are still investigating.
Firefighter O'Neil's funeral Mass was held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday at St. Joseph Church, 195 South Main St., New Britain.
A GoFundMe account has been started to help Firefighter O'Neil's family by his captain at Engine 17.
Wednesday Morning Blaze Routs Hartford Tpke. Family
567 Hartford Tpke.
Shortly after 5:30 last Wednesday morning, the 37-year old homeowner at 567 Hartford Turnpike was wakened by clicking sounds coming from the family's meditation room. When he checked inside, smoke and flame were visible, whereupon he evacuated his wife, his ten and fifteen-year old daughters, and his elderly father. His subsequent attempts to extinguish the flames using a fire extinguisher failed due to the extreme heat and smoke.
Apparatus were dispatched by Central Communications at 5:40 a.m. At 5:43, the first company on scene was Engine 3 out of Station 3, a few doors away. Smoke was reported coming from the front door, with fire breaking through a window in the front of the home. It was determined that all family members had successfully exited the home prior to arrival.
The fire was declared under control at 6:06 a.m. by Battalion Chief Ronald Desroches, who reported that the fire was confined to the room of origin. Heat and smoke damage were evident throughout the ranch style house.
The homeowner was treated on scene for smoke inhalation but declined transport to the hospital. No other injuries were reported. The family will be staying with relatives while their home is repaired. Deputy Fire Marshal Timothy Lunn is investigating.
(The website thanks the Fire Chief's Office and Dep. Chief Gary Merwede for providing the article and photo.)
On Tuesday, February 3, 1942, a very cold day in Hamden, the homeowner attempted to thaw out frozen water pipes in the basement of his circa 1860 house at what is now 60 New Road.* The attempt did not end well. Fire traveled up through the exterior walls to a blind attic.
Newspaper article courtesy of the Strain family and the Hamden Historical Society
The lone firefighter on duty at the Mount Carmel fire station was Everett Doherty, future battalion chief and father of then six-year old and future battalion chief Tom Doherty, who clearly remembers watching the fire from his 1st grade classroom at Mount Carmel School, which was located on Woodfruff Street, about 100 yards from the back of the house.
60 New Road today
According to a news article the following day, the house was exstensively damaged and the family had to be relocated. But the house was eventually repaired, As this recent photo demonstrates, the house is looking pretty nice today.
Engine 5, Engine 4, the Squad and the hook & ladder truck would have been on the response. At the time of this incident, only two months before the department was reorganized under the leadership of paid officers, the firefighters were under the command of volunteer Chief Charles Loller, who was also Building Inspector.
Under the departmental reorganization, Doherty became one of two lieutenants, one on each platoon. He was promoted to captain in 1949, then elevated to battalion chief in 1954. The rank of Battalion Chief was renamed "Deputy Chief" in 1961, "Commander" in 1984, then re-renamed "Battalion Chief" in 1995.
*In 1942, none of the homes on New Road had house numbers, as was the case with many of the more rural Hamden streets of that era. This house was eventually assigned the number "60."
Stunning Video of Catastrophic Aerial Ladder Failure
Amazingly - Thankfully - No One Hurt
Raw video from Mark Rosetti at Demonracer2 Emergency Response Videos (Demonracer2). This incident occurred during a fire around 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday night, January 10th, at a paper recycling plant on 7th Street in Passaic, New Jersey. (Link to video courtesy of Patricia Doiron)
Firefighters responded to a paper recycling factory on 7th Street in Passaic, New Jersey at approximately 6:30 p.m. last January 10th, and found the fire burning in the middle of the structure.
A "mechanical issue" caused a malfunction on a ladder truck, said Passaic Fire Chief Parick Trentacost. The three firefighters on the truck were unharmed when the ladder crashed onto the building. The cause of the malfunction is under investigation, he said.
The ladder truck was last passed an inspection in October, according to the chief. The ladder truck manufacturer - not named in the article from which this information was transcribed - is assisting in the malfunction’s investigation.
Last week we posted a photo of Lieutenant Danny O'Connell and his Platoon 4 crew at 3's repacking the 2-1/2" onto Engine 3, one of the two 1968 Maxim S models. The photo was obviously taken during warmer weather.
QUESTION: How might some of the retirees and old-timers who are still on the job know that this photo was not taken during June, July or August? There is a clue (and it ain't the foliage).
ANSWER: Lieut. O'Connell is seen wearing the standard dark blue dress cap, which was the department's designated headwear for company and chief officers between Labor Day and Memorial Day. White caps, now standard, were worn only from Memorial Day until the day before Labor Day.
The policy continued well after the department adopted the traditional firemen's "bell cap" in 1984, when officers had the option of wearing either an officers' HFD ball cap (with the gold Maltese cross) or a standard dark blue dress cap with their work uniforms.
By 1990, Chief John Tramontano ordered an end to the policy in favor of white officers' dress caps year-round for the dress blues and the officers' ball caps for the work uniforms, most likely as a cost-saving measure.
A couple of sharp observers noted the long sleeves on everyone in the photo. There was a seasonal department policy for sleeve lengths that paralleled the officers' dress cap policy: Long-sleeves from Labor Day to Memorial Day; short-sleeves from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The sleeve length policy, however, was dropped during the tenure of Chief V. Paul Leddy, probably due to some unseasonably warm pre-Memorial Day stretches when the policy was relaxed repeatedly.
So, even though the dress cap policy was the answer we were looking for, the two guys who guessed sleeve lengths will share the grand prize of a 1972 Oster blender with a broken handle and frayed cord.
Call it an inside joke or whatever you want. Today marks the 90th anniversary of the recording of a classic Victor record that was heard time and again at Station 5 in the early 1970s, when John Corbett and Whitey Williams were videotaped - yes, VIDEOTAPED - watching a video of the 78 rpm platter of this song spinning on the Station 5 dayroom b&w TV set (very Ernie Kovacs-esque).
We'll try to find the video, but here is the audio . . .