At 6:36 p.m. on Sunday April 22, the Hamden Fire Department was dispatched to 192 Eramo Terrace for a reported structure fire. A neighbor had called Central Communications describing smoke coming from the chimney, roof and vents.
Engine 9 from the Johnson Road Station arrived on scene three minutes later, reporting a working fire that had extended from the kitchen to the attic space in the ranch style home. Attack lines were placed in the kitchen and attic area and the fire was declared under control by Incident Commander Battalion Chief Gary Couture at 7:01 p.m.
Most of the fire damage was contained in the kitchen area and attic space directly above the kitchen. Fire Marshal Brian Dolan determined that the fire originated from an unattended pot of boiling oil, which ignited and spread to an interior kitchen wall.
The elderly homeowner, who was home alone, attempted to extinguish the fire in the kitchen with a pan of water, but could not stop the growing fire. He also attempted to use a fire extinguisher, but the fire had already grown too large. Acting as a chimney, the interior wall space enabled the flames and heat to reach the attic.
In attempting to extinguish the fire, the homeowner sustained a hand injury from broken glass. He exited his home to find that a neighbor had notified 911 and was treated on-scene by Hamden Paramedics when they arrived.
In the photo below, firefighters from Tower 1 are shown venting the roof directly above the fire to limit lateral fire spread.
Firefighters used salvage covers to limit damage to household furnishings during overhaul and fire investigation. It is expected the homeowner will be displaced and stay with friends or relatives during renovations.
The website thanks the Fire Chief's Office and Dep. Chief Gary Merwede for providing all info and photos.
Tower 1 firefighters ventilate roof to allow interior crew access to attic
The new-to-the-website photo below was taken at Station 4 in February 1968 to recognize the efforts of Hamden firefighters to raise $4,300 - a staggering $31,270.01 in 2018 dollars - for the Muscular Dystrophy Association during the previous month.
New Haven Journal-Courier, Thursday, February 15, 1968
FIREMEN CITED - Members of the Hamden Fire Department received citations from District Director Walter J. Kane for their part in January's Muscular Dystrophy campaign which raised over $4,300 in town. From left are Milner Benham, Paul Reutenauer, Kane, Chairman Gilbert Spencer and Charles Esposito.
Today, Milner Benham (far left), whose last day on the job was December 31, 1981, has been retired the longest of Hamden's current fire retirees. He lives in New Hampshire. Paul Reutenauer retired in 1993 after 35 years with the department, and passed away in March 2012. Retiring as a shift commander in 1992, Gil Spencer has been a trustee in the HFRA since it was organized. Charlie Esposito went on to become the department's second EMS Officer in 1989 and retired in 1993. He passed away in 2007.
Rescue 2 AKA "Rescue 45"
1962 - Lt. George Reutenauer and driver, Ff. Milner Benham, in Rescue 2. Unidentified person is at passenger window.
Back in 1962, when this photo was taken at Station 4 ("Headquarters" in those days), the rescue assigned there was "Rescue 2." Its radio designation was "Rescue 45," a kind of throw-back to when the fire, police and public works all shared a radio frequency.
Rescue 1 - "Rescue 44" on the air
Police had numbers 1 through 29, fire had numbers 30 through 59, and PW had the rest. The engine companies, paid and volunteer, were 30 plus their company numbers. The shift commander was "Car 30," Engine 1 was "Engine 31," Engine 2 was "Engine 32," Engine 3 was "Engine 33," and so forth. Volunteer Co. 7 had two pieces of apparatus, an engine and a brush truck. The engine was "Engine 37" and the brush truck "Engine 47."
The chief was "Car 40," the marshal "Car 41." The ladder truck was "Ladder 42." When the 1942 Diamond-T became the department's spare ladder truck in 1958, it became "Ladder 43," a designation later assigned to the 1970 Maxim when it went in service as the department's second ladder truck.
The first rescue truck, assigned to Circular Avenue in late 1958, was "Rescue 44" on the radio. As noted in the top photo, the second rescue, assigned a year later to Headquarters, became "Rescue 45."
"Engine 47" - 1935 Dodge
"Car 50" was the 1/2-ton Ford pick-up truck acquired through Civil Defense in 1955. It was an all-around utility truck used by the Shop and for special assignments. When the training officer, Dep. Chief Daniel Hume, was assigned his own car in the early 1960s, his radio designation was "Car 51."
When new Station 9 opened in late 1968, new career Engine 9 became "Engine 39" on the radio and volunteer Co. 9's engine became "Engine 59." The radio IDs of the other volunteer apparatus, except Engine 47, also became their company number added to the number 50. The 3/4-ton GMC brush truck acquired by volunteers at Co. 5 in 1970 was designated "Car 55."
Car ("Unit") 53 - 1969 Ford "Bucket Truck"
Car 48 was the Asst. Superintendent's car, Car 49 was the Shop's 1973 utility truck, Car 52 was the Superintendent's car, and Car 53 (AKA "Unit 53") was the Shop's "bucket truck."
On July 1, 1974, the radio designations for career apparatus became the same as the company designations. On the radio, Rescue 1 was now "Rescue 1," Engine 2 was "Engine 2," etc., and the ladder companies were now called "Truck 1" and "Truck 2."
The staff and volunteer vehicles kept their pre-1974 radio designations until 1983, when Car 40 became "Car 1," the Assistant Chief was "Car 2," shift commander "Car 3," etc. - just as it is today. (Study this - someday it may become a category on Jeopardy!)
Several years ago we received some Station 5 snapshots from Thomas Waite Jr., who was a member of the Mt. Carmel company when the photos were taken in August 1950.
Below, an unidentified member of the Mt. Carmel Volunteer Fire Company leans against the front fender Co. 5's 1930 Maxim. The bay on the right hand side was usually vacant, but in the years that followed it frequently housed the department's spare trucks, like the 1919 Seagrave pumper and the 1938 "Emergency Squad."
August 1950 - Thomas Waite Photo - CLICK TO ENLARGE
At left, beyond the bushes and the ancient cars, part of the Mt. Carmel School gymnasium can be seen. The school closed in the spring of 1974, and the building was razed in 1981.
The lower photo seems to suggest that the volunteers on that day were helping Engine 5's unidentified "paid men" to clean and repack hose.
FIREMEN GET CHECK - Officers of the Mount Carmel Volunteer Fire Company are shown receiving a check from The Journal-Courier for their equipment fund. The members of the fire company assisted in a recent home delivery subscription drive by the newspaper in an effort to raise funds. Robert Feinn, chairman of the annual ball committee, holds the check. Others, left to right, are: Raymond K. Spencer, president of the fire company; William Buckingham, district circulation manager for The Journal Courier; and Find Pedersen, Jr., captain of the fire company.
To this day, R.K. Spencer remains the longest serving member of Co. 5, from August 1925 until his passing in March 1995. He served as its president for about 35 years. Find (short for "Findlay" - pronounced "Finn") Pederson was a respected line officer in the company during the 1950s and 1960s. In 1969, Find and his wife relocated to Tolland, where he accepted a teaching job and shortly thereafter was elected president of the Tolland volunteers. Find passed away in March 2012. Robert "Bob" Feinn, a member of an old Mt. Carmel family, is still with us. Bob is an owner of the Mt. Carmel Wine & Spirits Co., located in the historic 1877 James Ives building at the corner of Whitney Avenue and Ives Street.