(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced that – in accordance with a proclamation from President Donald Trump directing flags to be lowered to honor the victims of the mass shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas – U.S. and state flags in Connecticut will fly at half-staff beginning immediately until sunset on Thursday, November 9, 2017.
Shortly before 4 p.m. on Thursday afternoon, November 2nd, Hamden Central Communications received a call reporting visible flames and smoke coming from a house on Valley Road near Gilbert Avenue. A full assignment of fire apparatus was dispatched at 3:47 p.m. to the reported location.
Engine 2 from Circular Avenue Station 2 arrived first on the scene at 3:49, reporting the correct address as 109 Valley Road. The sole occupant, a 19 year-old woman, had just wakened from a nap to find her home filled with smoke and was able to exit the house just prior to the arrival of fire apparatus.
Following a quick primary search, fire personnel determined that no one else was in the house. Fire companies worked quickly to extinguish the fire, containing the flame damage to the room of origin and to the adjacent external wall and siding. The interior of the home sustained some smoke and heat damage.
After Battalion Chief John Spencer declared the fire under control at 4:09, fire crews were committed to overhaul and checking for fire extension. Sections of vinyl siding were removed and the exterior wall was opened to prevent possible fire spread.
The United Illuminating Co. and Southern Connecticut Gas Co. disconnected utilities, which unfortunately resulted in the three occupants being temporarily displaced from their home. The American Red Cross is assisting the family with emergency shelter.
All fire companies cleared the scene by 5:36. No injuries were reported. Deputy Fire Marshal Tim Lunn remained on scene to investigate a possible accidental cause at the origin of the fire.
The website thanks the Fire Chief's Office and Dep. Chief Gary Merwede for providing the article and photos.
One of hundreds of newspaper articles donated to the HFRA by Honorary member Chan Brainard caught our attention this week. This sixty-year old news clipping from the New Haven Sunday Register featured a photo of an 83-year old active member of Company 8, George Slack - 83 years old! - alongside Company 8's still shiny 1925 Seagrave "Suburbanite" that started out as Engine 4.
The article, like all such articles, is a time capsule - a snapshot in time - of how things were way back when. The interview with this gentleman, who was born during the final months of Ulysses S. Grant's presidency and passed away in the first year of JFK's, is a fascinating look at some of the experiences and the times in which he lived. Enjoy!
New Haven Sunday Register, November 3, 1957 (Chan Brainard.)
The 1925 Seagrave "Suburbanite" pumper in May 1939, just before it was turned over to Co. 8.
Six weeks after the above article appeared in the Register's Sunday edition, Co. 8 purchased this 1942 Diamond-T 500 GPM pumper from the Prospect Volunteer Fire Department for $1,500. The 1925 Seagrave Suburbanite, which had been Co. 8's pumper since 1939, was then handed over to the newly formed West Woods Volunteer Fire Co. No. 9.
Department records show that Hamden took delivery of the Prospect pumper on December 10, 1957, the 30th anniversary of the accident that took the life of Centerville Co. 4 volunteer Firefighter Edward Meegan, who was fatally injured when the same 1925 Seagrave Suburbanite that would become Co. 8's pumper in 1939 flipped over on Whitney Avenue on December 10, 1927 after hitting a raised trolley rail. (See the Nov. 30, 2012 website update.)
This 1942 Diamond-T remained in service as Company 8's pumper until 1978, when it was sold to a private buyer. The 1954 Maxim, previously assigned to the career personnel at Station 5, became Company 8's pumper.
The Department had another 1942 Diamond-T pumper. It was delivered new to Hamden in April 1942 from the Wood Engineering Services of Topsfield, Massachusetts. Rated at 600 GPM, it was assigned to Highwood Station 1 as Engine 1, where it remained until the Highwood station closed on October 1, 1951.
During the rest of the 1950s, this 1942 Diamond-T pumper was assigned to Whitneyville Co. 3, Mt. Carmel Co. 5, and Merritt Street Co. 6. It was eventually assigned to the West Woods volunteers at Co. 9 and, very briefly to the Mt. Carmel volunteers in 1975-76. It was eventually sold to a private buyer in February 1977.
Although "graduation" for these four recruits was held twelve days earlier, this article appeared in the Hamden Chronicle thirty years ago this week. The new recruits included Firefighters Bernie Amatrudo, Gary Courtue, Mike DiStefano, and the department's first career female firefighter, Kerry Paul (Castracane), who, like DiStefano, was also a paramedic.
Castracane and DiStefano have both retired. Capt. Amatrudo and B/C Couture are still on the job. DiStefano, who retired at the rank of captain, is now a battalion chief with the The Villages Department of Public Safety in Florida.
Hamden Chronicle, November 4, 1987 (Gilbert Spencer.) - CLICK on image to enlarge for easier reading.
The Broadway farmhouse that was destroyed by fire 70 years ago this week backed up to Mill River on the west side of Broadway, about two hundred feet from where Rolling Ridge Road is today. Engine 5 would have been Mt. Carmel's 1930 Maxim 600 GPM pumper and Engine 4 Centerville's 1939 Diamond-T 500 GPM pumper. Together, both pumpers would have dropped the 1,600 feet of 2-1/2" supply line to handle this structure fire. Imagine the friction loss!
The farmhouse was listed as vacant in the 1948 Hamden city directory and apparently torn down shortly thereafter. Subsequent listings show a 251 Broadway, which is a 1950s era ranch house.
According to the department's 1984 apparatus map books, there were still a couple of two-way hydrants on Broadway, one at #56 and the other at #100, from which the supply line for this fire was likely pumped by Engine 4.
Water mains were extended down Broadway in the years following the fire, and a three-way hydrant was eventually set across from #251. Today, the hydrants at #56 and #100 Broadway are both three-way.
The unfortunate placement of some of the wording in this headline from the November 6, 1952 Hamden Chronicle article caused a few double-takes and lots of chuckles about "nose picking" at the HHS History Room at Miller Library recently.
Apparently two ladies who worked in Hamden's town hall had accurately predicted the total number of votes that would be cast by Hamden voters in the November 4, 1952 presidential election between General Dwight D. Eisenhower and Illinois Governor Adlai Stevenson.
In 2016, the total number of Hamden votes cast was 27,649, or about 44% of Hamden's population (Est. 63,000). Those Hamdenites who voted in 1952 represented 63% of Hamden's population (Est. 30,000).
In Hamden's 2015 municipal election, a total of only 10,356 votes were cast. Compare that total with the nearly 19,000 votes cast by Hamdenites in 1952, when the town's population was roughly half what it was two years ago.
Wherever you live, whatever your choice,
don't forget to exercise your right to vote next Tuesday.