At 3:52 p.m. on Sunday, November 26, 2017, Central Communications dispatched a box assignment to a fire alarm activation located at Regency Hills Condos, 302 Pine Rock Avenue. As fire apparatus were responding, Central Communications also received multiple 911 calls reporting smoke in the building.
Engine 2 arrived on scene at 3:58 and reported smoke showing from one side of the building. Upon entry, fire crews encountered smoke banking down in the second-floor hallway. Fire personnel conducted searches of all second-floor apartments to ensure all residents had evacuated. The fire was located in unit B-13 and quickly extinguished.
During suppression operations, windows were broken in two apartments for ventilation. The fire was contained to the apartment of origin. But as seen in the photo (above right), smoke and products of combustion travelled throughout the second floor.
Battalion Chief John Spencer declared the fire under control at 4:48 and ordered the building to be metered for carbon monoxide and other gases before residents were allowed back to the unaffected units. One resident from the unit affected by the fire was transported to YNHH for smoke inhalation treatment. Five total residents of the building were displaced, and are being assisted by the Red Cross for temporary housing.
Fire Marshal Brian Dolan concluded the kitchen fire was caused by ignited cooking oil, spreading to the cabinets, nearby walls and ceiling. Water from the suppression effort also damaged the unit directly below the fire.
The website thanks the Fire Chief's Office and Dep. Chief Gary Merwede for providing this article and photos.
Regency Hills Apartment Fire
306 Pine Rock Avenue
Macowall and Williams in 1976
The press release about the November 26th fire at Regency Hills Condos evoked some chuckle-worthy memories of another kitchen fire in the same complex many years ago.
In January 1976, a "full assignment" was dispatched to a kitchen fire in a basement level apartment at 306 Pine Rock Avenue. Lieut. Walter Macdowall and Engine 2 driver Firefighter Austin "Augie" Williams responded with Firefighters Reilly, Pratt and Johnson riding the tailboard.
Firefighters Fred Knudsen and Charlie Carlson were on Engine 1, and Firefighters Greg Shammett and Ron Altieri on Truck 1. Deputy Chief George Reutenauer, the shift commander in Car 30, was en route from Station 3.
On arrival, Engine 2's three tailboard riders pulled the "skid load" off the 1968 Maxim. Macdowall and Augie got out of the cab to pull up their boots. As the lieutenant reached back inside Engine 2 to grab his helmet, he recoiled suddenly, yelled "Aaaugh!," and threw the helmet back inside the cab.
"What's the matter, Lieutenant?" Augie shouted through the open driver's side door.
Macdowall was visibly shaken. "There's an animal inside my helmet!" he declared. "I think it's a rat!
Unbeknownst to Lieutenant Macdowall, in the usual commotion following their arrival, Augie's hairpiece had fallen inside the lieutenant's helmet as it lay beside him on the seat.
The 1976 fire at Regency Hills was confined to the stove and some kitchen cabinets above it - a good stop.
It has been over 40 years. Shammett, Reilly, Altieri, Macdowall, Knudsen, and Reutenauer are no longer with us. But they, like the other four members of Walt's crew who are still here, always remembered how Augie's toupee spooked the lieutenant that day. It's a story which, this week, Augie laughingly gave his blessing for us to share.
("When the legend becomes fact, print the legend." But, the fact is, this really happened.)
Department Stunned by Sudden Loss of Esteemed Member
Thirty-five years ago, on December 4, 1982, our department was shocked and saddened when Firefighter-Paramedic Edward G. Charbonneau died sudddenly while on weekend exercises with the U.S. Army Reserve. He was 43.
Newspaper article courtesy of Gilbert Spencer
Firefighter-Paramedic Edward Charbonneau (1939-82)
A very dedicated firefighter and paramedic, Eddie Charbonneau personified the word "professionalism." He was one of Hamden's first EMTs when the program was established in 1971, and was in the first Advanced Life Support class in 1976, becoming one of Hamden's first paramedics.
Charbonneau also was one of the first members of the department's Mountain Rescue Team. Ed can be seen in the photo below with Firefighter Tom Conway (right) carrying a Stokes stretcher down the quarry at Sleeping Giant State Park during a training session in the spring of 1982.
Check out the 40-year old Hamden Chronicle newspaper article at right to read more about Ed and his contributions to Hamden's early EMS program.
Firefighter-Paramedic Edward Charbonneau was survived by his wife, Joan Longley Charbonneau, his daughter Amy Elizabeth, and his three sons, Edward G. Jr., Peter and David.
This April 9, 1976 photo of Truck 1 in the center bay at Station 2 was snapped right before Firefighter Ernie Braun drove it to Station 5, where it would remain in service until November 1984 before moving to 9's.
Note the black mourning bunting hanging above the front door. A long-standing fire service tradition, the black bunting in this photo signified the recent passing of retired Capt. Emil Strain (1911-76), who had served on the department from 1941 until 1964, when a heart ailment forced an early retirement.
By the end of 1985, after two active and two retired department members all passed away inside one year - the two retirees in the same month - the period for displaying black buntings was shortened from one month to one week. And bythe early 1990s, the tradition had been abandoned altogether.
Stretching across both bay doors at Station 5, this black bunting honored the memory of Joseph Dukat when he passed away in April 1971.
The black mourning bunting honoring Howard Hurlburt Sr. can be seen between the bay doors at Station 4 in this March 1985 photo of the new Engine 4.
Governor Dannel P. Malloy has announced that he is directing U.S. and State of Connecticut flags to be lowered to half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Thursday, December 7, 2017, in recognition of National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.
The national observation honors the lives lost in the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Accordingly, since no flag should fly higher than the U.S. flag, all other flags – including state, municipal, corporate, or otherwise – should also be lowered during this same duration of time.