The members of Platoon 4, the Chief, two fire commissioners, and all staff personnel were joined by several off-duty and retired personnel last Monday at Station 2 to honor Captain Hugh O'Callaghan, who was working his final shift with the department. Hugh's wife Kate, their two daughters, and his mother-in-law Mary, were also present as Platoon 4 Batt. Chief Gary Couture presented Captain O'Callaghan with one of several gifts from members of his platoon.
Captain O'Callaghan's first day on the job was March 4, 2002. Seventeen years to the day later, he worked his final shift in Hamden and is moving on to become assistant chief of the West Hartford Fire Department. Our loss, but a gain for West Hartford and a fine opportunity for a respected fire officer.
The members of the Hamden Fire Retirees Association thank Capt. Callaghan for his service with the HFD and welcome him as their newest member. Good luck, Asst. Chief Callaghan, in your new duties at West Hartford. Be safe!
One of several gifts was this photo of Hugh, new on the job, checking out a compartment on E2
Cake for everyone - Yeah, it was GOOD!
Capt. John O'Dea (Ret.) and Firefighter Craig Smart
Capt. O'Callaghan with B/C John Spencer, B/C Bill Fitzmaurice (Ret.), and Capt. Bernie Amatrudo
Pictured here in front of Engine 2 are Capt. O'Callaghan's mother-in-law Mary O'Toole, both daughters, and wife Kate.
CLICK TO ENLARGE - Photo by Kate O'Callaghan
The entire 4th Platoon rotated in and out of Station 2 last Monday afternoon to wish Capt. O'Callaghan well on his last shift. The occasion was the perfect opportunity for a group photo, which included several off-duty members and retirees. Kate O'Callaghan's steady hand and perfect framing resulted in this real keeper of a photo.
All in a Day's Work
Your last day on the job is no different than any other day when it comes to doing what has to be done. The website got this photo from a prominent department member showing Capt. Hugh O'Callaghan last Monday morning, shoveling out the hydrant in front of the Plaza along with his Engine 2 crew, after Mother Nature dumped up to a foot of snow on Hamden in this late winter storm.
Pictured here in this May 2015 swearing-in photo of three newly-promoted fire officers, Capt. O'Callaghan is flanked by Lieut. Daryl Osiecki and Batt. Chief Rich Otlowski.
A "Hamden Fire Alarm Directory" was distributed annually by members of the Hamden Firemen's Benevolent Association to Hamden businesses and residents who provided financial support for the annual Thanksgiving Eve Firemen's Ball.
This particular directory was printed on red card stock (5 3/8" x 13") around 1940, when 98 Gamewell fire alarm boxes were in service. The fact that these cards were distributed to the public suggests that none of these boxes were "phantom" boxes.
The HFBA existed from 1932 until 1947 and was comprised of regular paid and substitute firemen, including the volunteer chief officers. It was succeeded in 1948 by the Hamden Paid Firemen's Sick Benefit Association, which later became the first bargaining unit for Hamden paid firefighters when collective bargaining for public safety employees became law in the 1960s.
(Hamden Fire Alarm Directory card courtesy of G. Donald Steele)
December 2001 - Ff. Kevin O'Hare, Capt. Don LaBanca and Ff. Ray Dobbs at Station 9, celebrating Ray's last day on the shift after 32 years on the job. Kevin retired two years later, and Don in 2015 as a battalion chief and the most senior man on the department.
December 2001 - Firefighter Kevin O'Hare, Capt. Don LaBanca, and Firefighter Ray Dobbs (Bob Mordecai photo)
Some Historical Observations from a bona fide "Old-Timer"
Firefighter Frank Nolan was on the job before the HFD was established in 1925
The Hamden Chronicle, Thursday, March 4, 1954 (Courtesy of the Hamden Historical Society)
Frank Nolan lived on Old Dixwell Avenue, a stone's throw from Headquarters. He was hired on June 1, 1924, before the Hamden Fire Department was created as a legal municipal entity in February 1925. He retired at age 57 on August 31, 1959, and passed away on May 7, 1968, just before his 66th birthday.
These shots of a Seagrave 750 GPM pumper on a mid-1950s International chassis, taken by Joel Van Horne, were sent to the website by Mel Kooper. Both men were "antiquing" with their wives in Zephyrhills, Florida when they spotted this pumper in front of the office of State Farm Insurance agent Brant Blessing.
Seagrave did manufacture apparatus on commercial chassis, although most of their manufacturing was done using their own rolling stock. Thank you Messrs. Kooper and Van Horne for sharing these images.