Hamden Fire Chief to retire after decades of service
(From WTHN News 8 - www.wtnh.com)
Chief David A. Berardesca
HAMDEN, Conn. (WTNH - 9/27/2018) - News 8 has learned exclusively that Hamden's Fire Chief is set to retire.
Chief David Berardesca has been a firefighter for 39-years. Twelve of his years of service have been in Hamden. Berardesca served for 27 years in Wallingford
Hamden Mayor Curt Leng says Berardesca's retirement is due to a local regulation that requires public safety official to retire by age 65. Leng released the following statement: "Chief Berardesca wants to continue leading our Fire Department and ensure a smooth transition process for the future. A short-term contract to accomplish this has been submitted to our Legislative Council for their consideration Monday night. During that time we will work together to ensure that our fire and emergency management continues to supply the exemplary safety service we strive to deliver every day."
Berardesca tells News 8, "It's been all rewarding to say the least. I couldn't ask for a better department to work with so its bitter sweet."
Berardesca says he plans to stay in Wallingford after retiring.
(The above was transcribed from the WTNH website]
Chief Berardesca is the eighth Hamden fire chief. With 12+ years of service, he ranks third in longevity among the career chiefs, right behind Chief V. Paul Leddy (23+ years) and Chief Raymond Spencer (18+ years).
We are deeply saddened to report the passing on September 30th of retired Hamden Fire Department Lieut. Douglas Yocher, at Yale-New Haven Hospital, following a long illness.
Doug served on the Hamden Fire Department from July 1969 until his retirement in June 2000. An excellent firefighter and fire officer, Doug was also a member of the Cheshire Volunteer Fire Department all his adult life and served as Chief of Department from 1984 until 1987.
Calling hours are Thursday, October 4th, from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Alderson-Ford Funeral Home, 615 South Main Street (Rt. 10), Cheshire. Services will be held at the funeral home on Friday, October 5th, starting at 10 a.m. Interment with military honors immediately following services at Cheshire Hillside Cemetery, 166 Wallingford Road, Cheshire.
Please keep Doug's family in your thoughts and prayers at this sad time.
On Wednesday September 26, 2018 at 21:20 hrs. the Hamden Fire Department was dispatched to a structure fire at 134-C Sanford Street. Central Communications received multiple 911 reports of a fire at this address. Squad 1 arrived on scene at 21:24 and reported heavy black smoke coming from the garage of one of the units.
Firefighters made a forced entry to the garage through the closed steel door and suppressed the fire. No automobile was present. A family of three who were home at the time of this fire were able to exit the building without injury.
Battalion Chief Richard Otlowski declared the fire under control at 21:33. There was no extension of fire to the living area of the affected home, however smoke damage was present throughout the unit, and the three residents will relocate during repairs.
Adjacent units were metered for toxic gases and ventilated. Occupants of those residences were able to return to their homes. Deputy Fire Marshal Tim Lunn is investigating this fire. The cause is undetermined at this time.
The website thanks the Fire Chief's Office and Dep. Chief Gary Merwede for providing this article and photo.
The New Haven Evening Register, Wednesday, October 1, 1958
Hamden's first aerial ladder truck was ordered from the Maxim Motor Company in December 1957. When the truck arrived a year later, many Hamdenites were stunned to see that it was painted white, just like the fire apparatus of our neighbor to the south.
The Hamden Chronicle, October 1958
The color choice, we were told, was the decision of the Board of Fire Commissioners, which in those days wielded much more authority than the Chief in such matters.
Now we've discover that the color choice apparently was not in the original specifications. Could it be that the truck was originally red? Looks like it was.
This Hamden Chronicle item was found stapled to the above article. It states that the new aerial ladder truck was late in arriving at Hamden because it had to be "sent back to the shop to be painted white." Interesting! Thirteen years and a new chief later, the truck was red once again.
Dixwell Avenue in the late afternoon, September 24, 2018 (Ken Rosello FaceBook posting)
A parkway and a bunch of new buildings have come along since 1938, but this section of Dixwell Avenue has changed very little in one regard. These two photos, shot 80 years apart from different points of view, show the extreme flooding that occurred along same section of Dixwell Avenue. The utility pole at the extreme righthand side of the upper photo is in exactly the same location as the two people standing by the lefthand side of the road in the lower photo. The upper photo was of the aftermath of an 8.5-inch deluge last Tuesday evening and the lower photo was shot in the aftermath of the 1938 hurricane.
Dixwell Avenue in the late afternoon, September 21, 1938 (I.A. Sneiderman photo)
This article was transcribed from an image obtained online from ProQuest Historical Newspapers
This 1868 map of lower Centerville (CLICK to enlarge) shows the small building where, from the newspaper description, the fire likely got started. It communicated with the larger wood-framed buildings through a 50' long wood-lined shaft. The entire complex, built around 1840, was destroyed and replaced with a rambling mill-style factory building which remained on the site until 1940. (1868 Hamden Map courtesy of D.G.J.)
The New Haven Web Company
"The Web Shop"
One of the most notable Hamden fires of the 19th century for which there is a newspaper account occurred on Monday, September 27, 1875, when several buildings owned by the New Haven Web Co. burned on the east side of Whitney Avenue at the Mill River (see 1868 map above), approximately where the Route 15 overpass crosses over today.
According to the article (at left) published the following day in the Hartford Daily Courant, the fire began in a small building at the rear of the complex and spread through a wooden shaft to other, larger buildings which were all part of the New Haven Web Company factory. Hamden had no organized firefighting forces or apparatus in those days and the entire complex was destroyed.
Immediately after the fire, the New Haven Web Company built a new building on the same site, which opened in January 1876. The new factory, which became known as "The Web Shop," was added onto numerous times over the next several decades. Purchased by American Mills in the early 20th century, the business closed during the Depression. The building was purchased by the State of Connecticut in 1939 and razed the following year to make way for the Wilbur Cross Parkway.
HFRA member Tom Doherty recalls that his grandfather and namesake, Thomas Doherty, was a dyer in a cloth factory in Taunton, Massachusetts, where he settled after arriving from Ireland in the late 19th century. Around 1900, the elder Doherty settled in Centerville with his wife and their ten children, which included Tom's father, Everett, who served on the Hamden Fire Department from 1927 until his retirement in 1966. While working as a dyer at the Web Shop, Mr. Doherty developed a process for making a permanent dye.
Hamden's first full-time fire marshal, Albert Purce (1903-1978) and Hamden firefighter Mario "Bucky" Serafino (1909-2001) both worked at the Web Shop prior to coming on the fire department. Centerville Co. 4 volunteer firefighter, Edward D. Meegan, was employed at the Web Shop at the time he was killed in the line of duty in December 1927.
CLICK on the photo below to view several more classic images of this impressive complex which, in its sixty-five years, provided jobs for hundreds of Centerville residents.
Edited from an HFRA article that was originally posted 3/1/13
The Web Shop - c. 1910 (Photo courtesy of the Hamden Historical Society)