February 10 - Following the storm yesterday, Hamden fire companies will be clearing snow from fire hydrants until they are accessible throughout town. This operation can sometimes take days due to heavy snowfall, multiple lanes of roadway snow cover plowed to the side, and volume of hydrants to be cleared.
The Town of Hamden has more than 1,000 hydrants in public areas for fire protection. The Hamden Fire Department asks that residents do not cover hydrants with plowed snow from driveways, or heap snow near hydrants located along sidewalks. We ask that residents employing private snow removal companies inform these operators where nearby hydrants are located, and direct them to keep hydrants clear of piled snow. The hydrant shown in the photos attached to this release is located on Waite Street and is indicative of the conditions found this morning.
During a structure fire response, hydrant accessibility is essential. They are truly a community resource. Please help us to help you. Thank you.
The Hamden Fire Department.
(The website thanks the Fire Chief's Office and Dep. Chief Gary Merwede for providing the article and photo.)
Nineteen-year department veteran, Captain John Grasso, Jr., who has served as HFD's Training Officer in two separate stints since 2013, is retiring from the department on February 26th. The next day, Captain Grasso will become Chief Grasso of the Sturbridge Fire Department in Massachusetts.
Grasso joined the department in August 1998. Following recruit training, he was assigned to Station 2 on Platoon 4. He was promoted to lieutenant in September 2006 and Training Officer in 2013. In July of 2015 he returned to the line following his promotion to captain, but resumed his training officer duties the following December.
The members of the HFRA congratulate Chief-designate Grasso and wish him all the best in his future endeavors.
Although only a partial image, this is perhaps the best photo showing detail of Hamden's Engine 3, the 1928 Maxim 750 GPM pumper. This incident was a December 9, 1943 fire at 191 Ridgewood Avenue. Attempts to research the exact nature of the call in the microfilm archives at the New Haven Free Public Library proved fruitless. It appears that damage was not severe.
Photo from the collection of retired Chief Paul Wetmore, Sr., courtesy of D/C Gary Merwede
191 Ridgewood Avenue Today
"Belle," the Dalmatian mascot of Company 3 is perched in her special seat on the old pumper. The profile of the driver appears to be that of Firefighter Ralph Rosson (1887-1972).
In addition to Engine 3, the photo also reveals the 1938 Diamond-T Squad and the nose of the 1942 Diamond-T that was Engine 1 at the time. The 1941 Diamond-T ladder truck was undoubtedly there as well.
The grilles of the 1941 and 1942 Diamond-Ts being identical, could the vehicle on the right be the ladder truck? Perhaps, but when comparing the positioning of the hood lettering of "HAMDEN" on both trucks, it appears that the vehicle at the right is the pumper and not the truck.
Website thanks to Chief David Berardesca, who sent this amazing c. 1900 photo of Wallingford's Wallace Hose Company, which was associated with the Wallace Silversmith Company.
It appears that Hamden's neighbor to the northeast had well-organized fire protection well before we did. Hamden's first fire company, Highwood's Pioneer Hose Co. No. 1, organized in December 1896, had a simple hose cart as its only fire apparatus until 1918.
Courtesy of Chief David Berardesca (CLICK to enlarge)
From the photo it is not entirely clear if this mighty steam pumper was hand-drawn or horse-drawn. Hamden never had horse-drawn fire apparatus, the first non-manpowered one being Whitneyville's 1915 Maxim triple combination pumper.
On second thought, Hamden's hand-drawn ladder truck on occasion was supposedly transported to fire scenes by being towed by the Dixwell Avenue trolley. Hopefully the fires occurred in sync with the trolley schedules.
Courtesy of the James Strain Family and the Hamden Historical Society
There seems to be a point when an obsolete fire engine is considered to be simply an "old piece of junk" of doubtful historic importance. "Let's just get rid of it!" But given a few more years, that same relic might have become an esteemed antique, much appreciated for its historic significance. Just think of all the old Hamden fire apparatus that was sold for peanuts to persons unknown, some of whom junked them for their scrap metal value.
The 1942 newspaper clipping above is enough to give any fire apparatus preservationist extreme agita. Perhaps it was a well-intentioned wartime effort to save scrap metal, but why did this historic firefighting relic have to be among the sacrifices?
Legit Fire Alarm in Student Apartment Building Ignored as "Joke"
Brief WFSB report on a February 11, 1996 fire at Hamden's Nixon Apartments, 631 Fitch Street, started by a resident's candle.
Because of frequent false alarms in this apartment occupied by students at nearby SCSU, most residents ignored the internal fire alarm when it sounded. Later, the property management was criticized for the lack of fire extinguishers in the common areas - not required by the code due to frequent thefts.