CLICK on this logo for more on the 1995 World Games in Hamden
1995 Special Olympics
Fifteen years ago, the Town of Hamden hosted three of the several sports venues for the Special Olympics World Games. For over a year, the Hamden Fire Department, with the assistance of several other area fire departments, spent hundreds of hours preparing for the enormous ten-day increase in the town's population.
Hamden Safety Coordinator Batt. Chief Tom Doherty, assisted by Batt. Chief Mike Ambriscoe, headed the Game's Safety Committee for all Hamden venues. On Hamden's Safety Committee, Capt. Dave Johnson and Capt. Bob Viglione coordinated Fire Safety operations, Capt. Paul Wetmore, Jr. organized Emergency Medical Services, and Capt. Don LaBanca was responsible for Logistical operations.
For more than a year before the start of the Games, and during ten days the Games were held, virtually all Hamden career and volunteer personnel contributed their time and effort to make the department's safety mission a success. Fire personnel from North Haven, Bethany, Cheshire, and Madison offered a tremendous amount of assistance as well.
June-July 1996 - In observance of the 220th anniversary of our country and the 210th anniversary of the Town of Hamden, historic flags flew at Station 4 from Flag Day until July 4th. All of the flags were new and were purchased by a two department members through retail establishments that specialized in historic flags.
Any authentic U.S. flag design from the past, regardless of the number stars, is considered an official U.S. flag and may be flown as such. Each day from June 14th until July 4th 1996, a U.S. flag with a different number of stars flew from Station 4's flag pole. A large informational card was displayed on an easel in front of the station, providing details about the number of stars and the dates of service.
June 1996 - L-R: Firefighters Paul Turner, Roberta Angiletta, Jim Dunlop, Ron Desroches, Lt. Frank Critchett, Capt. Paul Wetmore, Batt. Chief Bill Coppola and Ff. Mark Barletta. CLICK TO ENLARGE
Department members went to great lengths to ensure that the multi-flag display above the bay doors was properly anchored, and that the display itself was in strict conformance with the U.S. Flag Code. However, after about a week, concerns were expressed that Engine 4's exit and re-entry might cause damage to those flags flying above it, so the multi-flag display was taken down a few days early. But a different historic U.S. flag continued to be flown each day from Station 4's flagpole until July 4, 1996.
Station 3 Bell Tower as photographed from the rear yard of 55 Putnam Avenue in 1932. That's the tail end of a 1929 Model A in the foreground.
Pillars of Fire Sunday School at Mix District Firehouse
1929 - Pillars of Fire Sunday School class in front of Company 7's brand new quarters.
HFRA member Rev. Owen Sandersen provided us with a fascinating memoir by Verna Schulze Nedovich, in which she recalls the formation of the Mix District Volunteer Fire Co. 7, of which her father was the first president, as well as the members of the Pillars of Fire Sunday School, which met at the firehouse from its earliest days until a tragic and notorious crime occurred there in April 1931.
On July 7, 1970, the last fifteen* of forty firefighters, hired between 1968 and 1970 in anticipation of the 42-hour work week, were sworn in by Town Clerk Thomas Raccio. (*One firefighter was not pictured.)
Before the expansion, each of the three platoons had four officers and 20 firefighters. When the 42-hour workweek was implemented in October 1970, there were four platoons of four officers and 24 firefighters each. By 1980, each platoon had four officers and 26 firefighters each.
Grilled Steak Pasta Salad Potato Salad Corn on the Cob Baked Beans Homemade Strawberry Shortcake
Available : Darts, Boccie, Cards with poker chips
Pool Table available for 50 cent charge
As always, members may attend without purchasing the dinner. But those having dinner should notify Brian Forsyth by Friday, July 16th - firstname.lastname@example.org or 203-887-3409
Bobby Viglione, Jimmy Koutsopolos and Ray Dobbs right after hot-wiring the T-Bird. CLICK on this photo to read the meeting minutes. User IDs and Password haven't changed.
Bob Mordecai, Dennis Baker, Jimmy Dunlop and Jack Mordecai digging in. CLICK HERE TO VIEW ALL 25 PHOTOS OF THE SUMMER GATHERING AT THE ELKS.
Washdown Whitney and Day Spring December 1968
1968 - Whitney and Day Spring (Photo by Irving R. 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. This was standard operating procedure for all fire departments when dealing with almost all types of spills on roadways, especially following motor vehicle accidents. L-R: Ff. Paul Reutenauer, Ff. Milner Benham, Lt. Hines, and Ff. Jim Moore.
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 and a Dunkin' Donuts shop 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.
This year marks the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II.On Memorial Day 2010, it is especially fitting to remember those Hamden firefighters who served in the U.S. military during World War II. For well over a generation, they represented the majority of the personnel who served on the Hamden Fire Department.
More than half of our brothers in this 1950 photo served during World War II. Most of us retirees knew them and worked with them.
Hamden has the highest concentration of World War II vets in the state!
Help Send a WWII Vet to D.C.
American Warriors Spaghetti Dinner $10 per person THIS AFTERNOON! Sunday, August 1 - 4-7 p.m. at the Hamden Elks Hall 175 School Street
To benefit the American Warriors to send local WWII veterans to Washington D.C. to visit the World War II Memorial
Sponsored by 2nd Company Governor's Foot Guard Hamden Elks American Legion Post 88
Hamden Civil Defense in 1960 Future Fire Chief Concerned About Public Apathy
The article below, published in the New Haven Journal-Courier, Thursday, August 4, 1960, provided an interesting and somewhat scary Cold War snapshot of the local plans to address civil defense and public safety following an nuclear attack. Batt. Chief V. Paul Leddy, Hamden Civil Defense Director, candidly expressed his own concern for what he saw as public apathy - a concern that some may see as having changed little in 50 years.
New Haven Journal-Courier, Thursday, August 4, 1960 (Donated by G. Donald Steele)
HFRA Chairman Mark Barletta presents BC Dave Strawhince with his HFRA membership card
Dave Strawhince Retires After 32 Years
August 30 - Many present and former colleagues gathered at Station 3 this evening to wish Battalion Chief Dave Strawhince well on the final night of his 32-year career with the Hamden Fire Department. On behalf of the members of Platoon 4, Capt. Ron Desroches presented Dave with a plaque and a group picture of his shift. After being congratulated on his milestone by several retirees, Dave was enlisted as the HFRA's newest member.
Dave joined the department September of 1978. He was promoted to lieutenant in 1984, captain in 1998, and battalion chief in 2005.
Dave and his wife Molly will soon relocate to Anthem, Arizona. We all wish Dave many happy and healthy years of retirement.
Capt. Ron Desroches says a few words on behalf of Platoon 4 . . .
. . . and then presents Dave with this plaque and a photo of Pl. 4.
Photos by Daryl Osiecki
An alarm comes in and Dan Murphy answers the "house phone" at Station 3.
The Gamewell alert bell struck once, followed by a tone signal. Each station answered its house phone in order, "Station 2," "Station 3," "Station 4," "Station 5," "Station 9," "Headquarters." ("Headquarters" was the dispatcher.) Dispatcher: "Engine 3, respond to . . . "
When the dispatch was completed, the station(s) involved acknowledged first ("3 OK"), followed in order by the other stations. Map numbers and cross streets were added to the dispatch information starting in 1981.
Friday, June 9, 1978
1939 - Chief Charles Loller (1867-1961) beside his coupe
Chief Charles Loller posed for this photo in 1939 for a young Hamden fire buff, G. Donald Steele, who was later a member and future captain of the Mt. Carmel Volunteer Fire Co. No. 5.
Chief Loller served as Hamden's Building Inspector and was appointed Hamden's first fire chief when the Hamden Fire Department was created in 1925 by an act of the state legislature.
Chief Loller served as chief until April 1942, when paid officers were appointed and Raymond C. Spencer was appointed chief.
Battalion Chief Bill Fitzmaurice
The Hamden Board of Fire Commissioners has promoted Capt. Bill Fitzmaurice to the rank of Battalion Chief. Bill joined the Department in 1987 as a firefighter-paramedic. He was promoted to Lieutenant in 1993. Since 1999, Bill has served as the department's Training Officer/EMS Officer. While serving in that position, he was promoted to Captain. Bill's promotion fills the Platoon 2 B/C vacancy created by the March appointment of Bob Surprise as Deputy Chief.
Motorcycle-Riding Retirees Invited to Join 9/11 Tribute! CLICK photo for more details
Lt. Dave Herrmann - Date and fire location unknown, but overhaul is in progress. (Photo courtesy of Clark Hurlburt)
The naming of hurricanes began in 1954, sixteen years after the most devastating hurricane to hit New England in the 20th century. Another hurricane did more damage to Hamden in 1950, although that storm was not nearly as devastating overall as the '38 storm. The last official hurricane to hit Hamden with significant damage was Gloria, in 1985.
New England Hurricane of 1938
Damage in Hamden
but much worse east of the area
Hurricane of November 1950
Hamden hit as bad as,
or worse than '38
Dixwell Avenue near Skiff - CLICK to view more Hamden photos of the '38 Hurricane
Whitney Avenue where Whitney Manor Convalescent Home stands today - CLICK to view Hamden photos of the '50 Hurricane
September 17, 1979 - Hamden Firefighters Protest Town's Intransigence
Paul Petrillo, Bill Coppola and Harry Cubbellotti were among dozens of Hamden firefighters picketing town hall. (Dan Satran photo from the New Haven Journal-Courier courtesy of Paul Petrillo) - CLICK to enlarge
Frank Kafka, John Corbett, Bob Macauley, Dave Johnson and Wayne Lowry on the picket line at town hall. (New Haven Register staff photo by Patricia G. Barnes) - CLICK to enlarge
It's hard to imagine today, but in the late 1970s inflation was running at a crazy annual rate of 14%. Many employees in private industry were getting annual raises in the double digits. Municipal public safety emplyees, however, were getting raises in the low single digits - if they got raises at all.
It was a difficult time. Hamden firefighters hadn't received any raise in over two years and they were well into their second year without a contract. And the town wasn't "into" negotiating.
On Monday, September 17, 1979, members of the newly-formed Hamden Professional Firefighters, Local 2687, IAFF, hit the streets with picket signs in front of Memorial Town Hall.
Chan Brainard's Amazing Collection!
Regular visitors to this website are probably familiar with Chan Brainard, whose numerous photos and written contributions have been published here since the website began over a year ago. Since he was a young kid in the mid-1940s, Chan has amassed an enormous collection of fire department equipment, photos, uniforms, documents, and other related artifacts and memorabilia from all over the world - all of which got started in Hamden.
Chan sent us some photos of his magnificent collection, which occupies a significant portion of his Signal Hill, California home. Among his Hamden items are Chief Spencer's helmet, a homemade annunciator used at Station 2 many years ago, and many one-of-a-kind photos which Chan has been kind enough to share with the website since the beginning. Enjoy!
1965 - Three unidentified Hamden High School student government participants are given a quick tour of Hamden's 1954 Maxim 750 pumper at Headquarters. Fire personnel (L-R) are Dep. Chief Daniel Hume, Chief V. Paul Leddy, and Marshal Albert Purce. The new Mack 750 replaced this piece in August of that year. (I.A. Sneiderman photo)
September 4, 1975 Mt. Carmel Annex Dedication
Thirty-five years ago, the annex of Station 5 in Mt. Carmel was officially dedicated in a ceremony that featured Mayor Lucien DiMeo, Chief V. Paul Leddy and Rev. Owen Sandesron, department chaplain, as the featured speaker.
Two unrelated facts about the event stand out three and one-half decades later. First, it was the last time a completely new structure was built for the purpose of housing Hamden fire apparatus. And second, the event was video taped at a time when home video was still years in the future.
CLICK to view remarks by Chief Leddy, Mayor DiMeo and Rev. Sanderson. Several past and present members of the paid department (in 1975!) were introduced by Chief Leddy.
April 9, 1975 - Ff. Ron Altieri at the watch desk at Station 2. Within the next couple of hours Truck 1 would move to Station 5 to make room for Rescue 2.
1926 Maxim at the 2010 Engine 260 Muster - This pumper is most like Hamden's 1928 750 GPM Maxim that served as Engine 3 from 1928 until 1952.