With this update, website looks forward to a new year with some reflections on the old one.
The Executive Board and membership of the Hamden Fire Retirees Association, Inc. wish our active members of the Hamden Fire Department and all of our other website visitors a Happy, Healthy and SAFE 2018.
On Thursday, December 28th at 1:09 p.m., the Hamden Fire Department was dispatched to a smoke investigation inside a home locate at 103 Carleton Street. The homeowner reported smoke from an unknown source entering his first floor living area with no flame visible.
When Engine 2 arrived on scene at 1:11, crews found a fire inside an exterior wall and extinguished it quickly. It was determined the fire had not extended to the second floor or attic spaces.
To prevent the fire from spreading, minor water and overhaul damage to the home was unavoidable. There were no injuries, and the residents were able to remain in their home that evening.
Deputy Fire Marshal Timothy Lunn investigated the origin and cause of the fire and determined that the accidental cause of the fire was wood ashes, placed in a non-metal container, that were placed too close to the exterior siding of the home.
As a public service reminder, the Hamden Fire Department recommends the safe disposal of wood or coal ash in lidded metal cans that are designed for that purpose. Ash disposal cans should be placed at least ten feet from the structure on a non-combustible surface.
Ash cans should not be placed on decks or porches or left unattended inside a garage. Exterior fires can quickly become interior fires.
For specific questions about this fire or any code compliance issue, please contact the Hamden Fire Marshal’s Office at 203-407-3181.
December 23 - Governor Dannel P. Malloy has announced his decision to accept the State of Connecticut into the federal First Responder Network Authority plan to deliver a wireless broadband network to the state’s public safety community. Known as FirstNet, the state-of-the-art technology will connect first responders to a highly secure, wireless broadband network and enhance communications during emergency and disaster response situations.
The department lost two alumni in 2017. Bill Davin, who passed on January 14th, began his fire service career in the Mt. Carmel Volunteer Fire Co. in 1959. He joined the department as a career member in 1965 and served for 30 years, before retiring in 1995. Bill is survived by his wife, Patricia. Ed Doiron, who passed away on October 4th, also got his fire service start at Mt. Carmel. He was appointed to the career department in 1964 and served until his June 1993 retirement. Ed was treasurer of Local 2687 from its formation in 1979 until his retirement fourteen years later. He is survived by his wife Peg, five children, a step-daughter and numerous grandchildren.
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.
Chatham Colleagues Fete Mike Ambriscoe at Retirement Dinner
Surprise Visit from Hamden Colleagues
April 21st Update
Chief & Mrs. Mike Ambriscoe
Mike Ambriscoe's more than twelve years' service as Chief of the Chatham Fire Department on Cape Cod was recognized by his fellow firefighters and Chatham municipal leaders last Friday evening at a gala retirement testimonial dinner at the Wequassett Banquet Hall in East Harwich. Mike hit the mandatory retirement age last month. Despite protestations from just about everyone, including the Town Manager, Mike had to retire by the end of the month.
In a region where area fire departments have close working relartionships, many present and former area fire chiefs praised Mike's contributions, not only to his own department, but to the regional fire service. Under Mike's leadership, the Chatham Fire Department department was able to acquire new pumpers, the department's first aerial ladder truck and a brand new fire headquarters.
In remarks following the praise and mild roasting from his colleagues, Mike emphasized that his biggest priority was training. After praising his fellow department members and other municipal colleagues, Mike saved a final tribute for his wife, Evelyn, for her support and encouragement for his decision to apply for the chief's position at Chatham.
Mike Ambriscoe joined the Hamden Fire Department in April 1979. He was promoted to lieutenant in 1985, captain in 1988 and battalion chief in 1993. Retiring in 2004 following 25 years of service, Mike was looking for a chief's position in a smaller department in a municipality with a town manager. Chatham was looking for a fire chief with command level experience and impeccable credentials. It was a perfect fit.
The Hamden visitors, who were invited by the Chatham organizers, were a total surprise to Mike. Several of them told Mike's Chatham colleagues they will now experience the same sense of loss that the HFD experienced when Mike retired from Hamden in 2004.
The retirement dinner for Chief Michael Ambriscoe was a fitting testament to an outstanding fire department leader and colleague. Mike's fellow members at the HFRA wish him a long, happy and healthy retirement.
Lieut. Charles Lubowicki, Jr. Named Training Officer
March 10th Update
Sixteen-year department veteran, Lieut. Charles Lubowicki, Jr., was named by the Board of Fire Commissioners last week to be the department's eighth training officer, replacing Capt. John Grasso, who retired last month to become fire chief in Sturbridge, Massachusetts.
A Hamden native, Lubowicki joined the department in October 2000 and was promoted to lieutenant in September 2007. Lieut. Lubowicki, son of retired veteran Hamden police officer, Charles Lubowicki, Sr., was sworn in last Monday in a ceremony in the rotunda of Memorial Town Hall.
The members of the HFRA wish Lieut. Charles Lubowicki, Jr., success and all the very best in his new and challenging department role.
Department's Newest Officer Sworn In Before Huge Crowd
September 22 Update
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!"
New Faces of 2017
Jan. 3 - Recruit Ff/Paramedic David DeMarest is sworn in by Town Clerk Vera Morrison
Dec. 4 - Recruit Ff/Paramedic Christopher Parmalee is flanked by Chief Berardesca and Dep. Chief Merwede.
2016 retirees Hedges and Tavaras honored at Local 2687 Retirement Dinner on April 8th.
Local 2687 Pres. Kurt Vogt, Fire Commission Chairman Henry Candido and Lieut. C.J. Hedges
Local 2687 Pres. Kurt Vogt, Fire Commission Chairman Henry Candido and Firefighter Paul Tavaras
Giovanni Bugiani lowering the Flag on the New Haven Green
Remember Flag Day
June 9th Update
Our brother fire retiree and former HFRA president Mark Barletta shared this moving photo of his grandfather, Giovaini Bugiani (1892-1971), carefully lowering the Flag on the New Haven Green sometime in the 1940s - note the 48-star pattern.
Mr. Bugiani arrived in the United States from Italy in 1907 and became a U.S. citizen in 1919.
Mark is an avid flag historian, with an amazing knowledge of the continuing story Old Glory, from 13 to 50 stars.
Please remember to fly your U.S. flag next Wednesday, June 14th - and every day.
Off-Duty Hamden Firefighter Pulls Inured Driver From Burning Auto
Remarkable act caught on iPhone video
Added August 30th to the Summer '17 Update
Off-duty Hamden Firefighter Tom Parazino rescuing driver from blazing auto
August 30 - WTNH TV-8 News ran a story yesterday of this remarkable rescue of an injured man from his blazing auto across the street from Station 4 on Whitney Avenue. The unidentified driver was pulled from his flaming car by off-duty Hamden Firefighter Tom Paranzino, who is assigned to Station 4 on Platoon 4. The rescue, which happened a few days ago, was caught on the iPhone on an unidentified pedestrian in front of Eli's-on-Whitney.
According to the story, the man's car hit the utility pole nearly opposite Station 4, rolled over, then caught fire. Firefighter/Paramedic Paranzino, who was off duty at the time and had no protective gear on, ran toward the burning vehicle and pulled the man to safety. In an interview with TV-8, Paranzino said he didn't consider himself a hero. Put simply, he said, "We love our job - you just do it." Kudos to Firefighter Paranzino, from your future brothers and sisters at the HFRA!
August 18 - A brand new full-size Class A pumper was placed in service yesterday afternoon at Mt. Carmel's Station 5. The new Smeal 1,500 g.p.m. pumper, technically a "Quint," also carries 1,000 feet of 5" supply line, a 485-gallon tank, an array of ground ladders, and is equipped with a 75-foot rear-mount aerial ladder.
As Engine 5, the new quint will respond as a regular pumping engine when it is first and second due. When third due on box assignments for working fires, when its crew is an RIT, Engine 5 may also operate as a truck company.
The new Smeal quint replaces the department's spare pumper, Engine 1, which had served as Engine 5 since the 2005 Ferrara was sold recently.
While Hamden career companies were working on the fire at Townhouse Road on Wednesday evening, May 10th, New Haven Fire Department's Engine 8 out of Whitney station stood by at Station 2 with Dunbar Hill's Engine 8. Easy to tell which was which.
A few weeks back, an anonymous gentlemen stopped by Station 2. He had found this 1890s metal "HAMDEN" Cairns fire helmet and wanted to donate it to the department. The gentleman did not know where the helmet came from, but the "1" on the leather ID suggests that it was from Highwood Co. 1, Hamden's first fire company, organized in 1896.
"1897" is the most recent patent date on the tag inside the helmet.
Following HFD Chaplain Rev. Owen Sanderson's benediction at the conclusion of the meeting, HFRA president Bob Mordecai asked "the Rev" to stand by for a special surprise presentation. Rev. Sanderson was presented with a plaque from the HFRA members commemorating the 60th anniversary of his ordination. President Mordecai noted Rev. Sanderson's more than 50 years of dedication to his fellow Hamden career and volunteer firefighters of all faiths.
Now 85, and no longer an active firefighter, Rev. Sanderson was among the few area fire department chaplains who was an active volunteer firefighter. He is the only Regular member of the HFRA who is actually not retired. "I'm not ready for that yet," he told the crowd before a spontaneous standing ovation.
Hamden Fire Department Encourages Residents to “Adopt a Hydrant”
HAMDEN – The Hamden Fire Department encourages residents to “Adopt a fire hydrant”. When fire hydrants are covered by plowed snow, our Firefighters do their best to clear them as quickly as possible. With over 1000 fire hydrants in the Town of Hamden and an annual call volume of over 10,000 calls, the task of clearing fire hydrants is sometimes extended and of course time consuming. The department asks that residents, who are physically able, to assist your Firefighters in clearing fire hydrants close to your home or business.