Department's Newest Officer Sworn In Before Huge Crowd
Dep. Chief Gary Merwede, Lieut. McCarthy, and Chief David Berardesca
Last week, Hamden's Board of Fire Commissioners promoted Jay McCarthy, a 16 year department veteran, to the rank of lieutenant. Lieut. McCarthy was sworn in last Monday before an estimated 70 spectators in the town hall rotunda.
Prior to joining the department in May 2001 as a firefighter/paramedic at Station 2, Lieut. McCarthy served as a New Haven firefighter for two years and worked for American Medical Response (AMR). Until his promotion, he has been assigned on Platoon 3 and is also the former chairman of the department's Safety Committee.
Lieut. McCarthy's next assignment will be as the officer on Engine 3 on Platoon 1. The members of the Hamden Fire Retirees Association wish Lieutenant Jay McCarthy all the very best in his new role as a department officer. "Be safe!"
July 1974 - Engine 4, Platoon 2 - Up top, Firefighter Steve Hitchcock; Seated below (L to R) are Firefighters Ed Doiron, Bob Kenney, Bob Viglione, Ed Charbonneau (below Viglione), and Lieut. Gil Spencer (standing).
Firefighter Ed Doiron was on vacation the day his platoon caught the Hamden Ridge Apartments at 787 Mix Avenue.
Accompanied by a couple of his Co. 5 buddies, Ed had just departed his home on Treadwell Street to visit Don Steele at the Commission on Fire Prevention and Control. Steele was a Hamden volunteer firefighter who worked for the Commission. Ed was hoping to get some kids' coloring books on behalf of the Sick Benefit Association for the October Fire Prevention program at the Hamden Mart.
Ed was driving his green 1965 Rambler, one of those old SNET phone company cars you could buy for about $700 at Fisher Brothers Used Cars down on Davenport Avenue. It was equipped with a lowband scanner with a 33.54Mhz crystal for Hamden fire.
While the '65 Rambler was stopped at the traffic light at Mather and Dixwell, Ed and his passengers heard the siren and then observed the rotating red beacon on Car 49 as it flew past them with Asst. Supt. Paul Wetmore Sr. at the wheel.
Something was up. Shop personnel did not usually respond unless it was a significant structure fire. Some descriptive fire department radio traffic over Ed's car scanner and the large column of smoke rising above the Hamden Plaza confirmed that the boys' car trip would be delayed.
New Haven Register, Monday, July 22, 1974 (Courtesy of Gil Spencer)
New Haven Journal-Courier, July 23, 1974
The first alarm companies were Engines 4 and 2, Truck 1 (out of Station 2), and Rescue 1. The second floor of the two-story complex was fully involved when apparatus arrived.
The crew of Engine 4 under Lieut. Gil Spencer prepared for an interior attack while driver Steve Hitchcock blitzed the main body of the fire with a heavy stream from Engine 4's turret nozzle supplied by the engine's 500 gallons of tank water.
Dep. Chief (shift commander) Joseph McDermott called for a second alarm, bringing Engines 3 and 1, and Truck 2 to the scene. An eventual third alarm brought Engines 5 and 9, as well.
A cardboard box with cans of paint, paint thinner and polyester finished was believed to have contributed to the fire, which destroyed the second floor of the building. The were no firefighter injuries, but Hamden police officer Leo Caisse suffered smoke inhalation while alerting tenants of the fire. Eight families were displaced, but most of them were able to move back in within a short time.
Firefighter Doiron and his passengers remained at the scene for a while. They never did complete their journey to visit with Don Steele.
New Haven Journal-Courier, Tuesday, July 23, 1974 (Gil Spencer)
March 1979 - Here's another view of Engine 4 showing the turret foam nozzle that could be operated from inside the cab. Hardly visible in the photo are the two "ground sweeps" located beneath from front bumper. A "bladder" filled with foam was inside the pumper's 500 gallon tank. The pumper was capable of pumping either water or foam from the turret nozzle and ground sweeps while moving in road gear.
The turret nozzle, ground sweeps and the accompanying foam delivery system that came with the 1973 apparatus were removed during a 1985 rebuild by Pierce in Appleton, Wisconsin. The turret nozzle was relocated to the center of the pumper, behind the cab.
In the background is Engine 5, a 1978 Pierce 450 g.p.m. mini-pumper on a Ford chassis, which was recently sold to a private buyer. This photo and the two below were taken by Jim Moore at a small house fire on Hillfield Road.
March 1979 - Hillfield Road house fire - Deputy Chief George Reutenauer of Platoon 3, and HFD chaplain Rev. Owen Sanderson with young civilian (Photo by Jim Moore)
March 1979 - Some of the damage (Photo by Jim Moore)