Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced that – in accordance with a presidential proclamation directing flags to be lowered to honor the victims of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida – U.S. and state flags in Connecticut will fly at half-staff beginning immediately until sunset on Monday, February 19, 2018.
Please keep the victims, their families and loved ones, and the first responders in your thoughts and prayers.
About eight years ago, Chan Brainard sent us several photos of a 1948 incident at the corner of Whitney and Santa Fe Avenues. The photos contained the Squad, Engines 3 and 4, and the ladder truck. One of the photos even had Chief Spencer's 1946 Pontiac in the background. With the 70th anniversary approaching - maybe already past - we wanted to know more about this incident.
Engine 4 in the driveway at #1763 Whitney Avenue, corner of Santa Fe Avenue
Unfortunately, when he sent the photos years ago, Chan could not recall anything specific about the call or its exact location. But he thought it occurred in 1948.
We needed more information. What was the name of the family? What was the address?
Since scorching is clearly visible on the outside of the house, it was undoubtedly a structure fire that would have been reported in the Hamden Chronicle, which covered anything that was deemed newsworthy. If someone blew his nose at the town hall on Monday, you could be sure it would be in the Chronicle the following Thursday.
Eight years ago, we could find nothing about a Spring Glen fire in 1948 because we didn't have a name and we didn't have an address. But when we recently discovered the envelope containing the original photo negatives, "Dr. A. Gamm - 1948" was printed on it.
Aha, now we had a name! Flipping through the 1948 city directory, there it was: Alexander Gamm was listed at 1763 Whitney Avenue, corner of Santa Fe.
We're almost there!
This photo of the ladder truck shows Firefighter Danny O'Connell replacing a hook in preparation for leaving the scene. The rear of Engine 3, the 1928 Maxim 750 GPM pumper, can be seen at the extreme righthand side of the photo.
In the previously-unpublished photo above, Whitneyville's mascot, Belle, a beautiful Dalmation, is seen perched in her special seat on Engine 3.
"You're getting warmer!"
Now that we had the homeowner's name and the exact address, we thought it would be a cinch to find out what happened that day 70 years ago. So we scoured every 1948 issue of the Hamden Chronicle to find the story about a fire in the Spring Glen residence of Dr. Alexander Gamm.
We checked and double-checked. Nothing! Absolutely nothing. How can that be?
Then, earlier this week, a vital clue was discovered in one of the photos that proved we were barking up a wrong tree. We thought we had all the information we needed to find the article about this fire, but one bit of crucial information was wrong. Look closely. Did any of my fellow "gearheads" notice it too?
HFD conducts "Fire Safety and Prevention" demo at SCSU
On February 13, 2018 the Hamden Fire Department participated in a fire safety and fire prevention demonstration on the campus of Southern Connecticut State University. The event was coordinated with Lisa Kortfelt, SCSU Director of Environmental Health and Safety, and the HFD Fire Marshal’s office.
A mock dorm room was constructed in a parking area and furnished with items found regularly in student residence halls or apartments. Engine 2 and Rescue 2 from Circular Avenue were positioned on scene for public safety and to demonstrate fire suppression tools and techniques for SCSU students.
Deputy Fire Marshal Timothy Lunn narrated the event over a public address system while a small fire was set inside the training prop.
Spectators were instructed on the exponential growth of fire and fire spread, the need for early detection and prompt evacuation, notification of the fire department, and various technical aspects of the demonstration.
Using thermal imaging cameras and infrared detectors, firefighters measured the floor temperature in the demonstration room at 200 degrees F, and ceiling temperatures exceeding 700 degrees. The fire was extinguished without incident, concluding the successful demonstration.
The website thanks the Fire Chief's Office and Dep. Chief Gary Merwede for providing all info and photos.
Safety Car Dixwell Avenue and Putnam Avenue Wednesday, February 20, 1918
Taken one hundred years ago this week, this photo shows the Safety Car plant under construction. It was located at the corner of Dixwell and Putnam Avenues. Later called the Safety Electric Company, the complex was demolished in the early 1980s to make way for the commercial establishments there today.
Courtesy of the Hamden Historical Society - CLICK TO ENLARGE
Wash Down! Whitney and Day Spring Friday, December 13, 1968
Whitney and Day Spring. L-R: Ff. Paul Reutenauer, Ff. Milner Benham, Lt. Hines, and Ff. Jim Moore (Photo by Irving Saslow)
Lt. William Hines and the crew of Engine 4 use two 1-1/2" lines to dissipate a fuel oil spill at the corner of Whitney and Day Spring Avenues in Centerville. Until the E.P.A. established standards, this was standard operating procedure for all fire departments when dealing with almost all types of spills on roadways, especially following motor vehicle accidents.
When this photo was taken in late 1968, the brick building in the background was an architectural hardware company. It later housed Shopper's World. The building was razed a few years ago to make way for a new Dunkin' Donuts shop that is presently located on the site. This photo was taken by Irving R. Saslow, who served on the Board of Fire Commissioners numerous times from the 1960s to the 2000s.
The website wishes to call its visitors' attention to a new book, Connecticut Vanguards - Historic Trailblazers and Their Legacies, by noted Hamden author, Eric Lehman.
Noah Webster, Charles Goodyear, P.T. Barnum and Katharine Hepburn all have Connecticut in common. Like so many other residents, they had an inventive spirit and drive that changed the course of history for the rest of the state. Some of the state's natives, like Eli Whitney and Henry C. Lee, pioneered new methods. Prudence Crandall and Helen Keller championed the rights of the underprivileged. Some, like Frederick Law Olmsted and Sol LeWitt, changed our perception of the world. Author Eric D. Lehman chronicles the lives of two dozen men and women who left their marks on Connecticut and the world as a whole.
Connecticut Vanguards will be published soon. We'll keep you posted.
The Hamden Chronicle, Thursday, February 17, 1949 - Courtesy of the Hamden Historical Society
Answer: We had the wrong year. Did you notice the 1949 Pontiac in the Engine 4 photo - also partly visible in the Engine 3 photo?
So, among the Chronicle fire articles for 1949 was this one (at right) about two fires that occurred on Sunday, February 13, 1949. The second fire was at the Gamm residence at #1763 Whitney Avenue. Mystery solved.
The error was not Chan's fault. After all, he had written that he thought the fire was in 1948. (Good thing he wasn't under oath.)