Hamden Firefighting, published by Arcadia Press in their Images of America series, will go on sale for the first time in a pre-publication event at Hamden Station No. 9, corner of Johnson and Still Hill Roads, on Saturday, November 18th, from 1 to 4 p.m.
The 128-page pictorial history of the Hamden Fire Department was written by HFRA member and Hamden Town Historian Dave Johnson, with photos compiled over 40 years from many local professional and free lance photographers.
With over 200 photographs of historic fires, classic fire apparatus, training exercises & other department activities, as well as images of numerous volunteer and career personnel from all eras, Hamden Firefighting chronicles the evolution of the department from the 1896 formation of Highwood's Pioneer Hose Co. 1 to the present day.
will go on sale at Station 9
(corner of Johnson & Still Hill Roads)
Saturday, November 18th, 1-4 p.m.
Retailing at $21.99, the HFRA sale price for
Hamden Firefighting is only $19.00.
All Arcadia royalties from all Hamden Firefighting sales will be shared equally by the HFRA and the Hamden Historical Society.
Profits from this sale will benefit the HFRA museum fund.
The public is welcome!
Hamden Firefighting will be available at Barnes & Noble and other retail outlets starting November 20th for $21.99. The book may be purchased for only $19 during the HFRA's "pre-publication sale" at Hamden Fire Department Station 9 in West Woods on Saturday, November 18th from 1 until 4 p.m.
The public is invited. Proceeds will benefit the HFRA's museum fund.
Hamden fire personnel were kept very busy over the long Veterans Day weekend of 1957. The biggie was a general alarm fire that leveled much of the Eastern Atlantic Lumber Company, located at the corner of Circular and Gorham Avenues, where the Paier School of Art now stands. Years ago, the late Deputy Chief Ken Harrington related how he was sitting at the watch desk at Station 2 when a passer-by reported smoke coming from the lumber yard, located less than a block from the firehouse. The fire was later determined to be arson.
According to an article that appeared in The Suburban Spokesman (1957-58), a short-lived regional replacement for The Hamden Chronicle, news photographer Tom McCarthy hurried from his Malcolm Street home to get to the scene of the fire in order to rescue much of his equipment and business records stored in an adjacent building that was threatened by flames from the lumber yard blaze.
Mr. McCarthy reported flames shooting 75 feet in the air and counted at least nine fire engines. "I think there were even more," he added. It was Hamden's first general alarm blaze in several years. McCarthy went on to praise fire personnel, "They did a wonderful job in getting the fire under control, and later in the night they did a terrific job helping us clean up the debris and mess which had been created. I can't say enough in praise of the firemen."
New Haven Register, November 12, 1957 (Courtesy of Sid Trower)
The two aftermath photos below by I.A. Sneiderman are
from the HFRA collection. The houses in the background are on Helen Street.
New Haven Journal-Courier, Tuesday, November 15, 1977
The 1977 plan never materialized. By 1983, Chief Leddy was pushing once again for an assistant for Marshal Bob O'Donnell. At the same time, Hamden police chief Jack Ambrogio was trying to get the position of assistant fire marshal included in the police department's budget. The inter-departmental tug-of-war was finally settled in 1984 when the town attorney checked § 29-297 of the Connecticut General Statutes:
Fire marshals are appointed by a municipality's board of fire commissioners or corresponding authority or the municipality's legislative body, board of selectmen, or warden, as appropriate. The appointing authority must give preference to members of the municipality's regular or volunteer fire department (CGS § 29-297).
The position of Assistant Fire Marshal (now Deputy Fire Marshal) was eventually funded in the 1984-85 budget. Just before Christmas 1984, Lieut. Robert Westervelt was appointed to the new position and sworn in (see below). He began his duties following lengthy certification training by the State of Connecticut. Westervelt became Hamden's third full-time fire marshal following Bob O'Donnell's 1987 retirement.