Tuesday, January 11th - Starting at 11 AM at the Hamden Elks Lodge, 175 School Street
Brief meeting right after the lodge opens at 11 AM Dinner at Noon.
Three-Alarm Chili with homemade French Fries - $6.00 No reservation necessary
MEETING AGENDA Committee Reports Vote to adopt By-laws Vote on affiliation with the UPFFA Alumni Alumni Assn Anything for the Good of the Association
Members still owing 2011 dues ($12) may pay at the meeting - see Chick Manware.
1969 - Lt. Joe McDermott (Photo by Ed Doiron, Sr.)
Radio Station WDEE 473 Denslow Hill Road Thursday, January 21, 1965
In 1965, most Hamden kids were listening to at least one of three local Top-40 radio stations: WPOP (1410 KHz) in Hartford, WAVZ (1300 KHz) in New Haven, and WDEE (1220 KHz), located in a converted ranch house on Denslow Hill Road right here in Hamden.
Unlike WPOP and WAVZ, Hamden's radio station WDEE was a "daytimer," with a relatively low power output and an FCC license that restricted its airtime to daytime hours only. This, of course, meant that its broadcasting hours varied with the length of the day. In summer, you could listen to WDEE until almost 9. In winter, they were off the air by dinnertime, a possible factor in the destruction of WDEE.
On Wednesday evening, January 20, 1965, WDEE was all closed up by 7 p.m. Whatever caused the fire - it was never determined - got a good head start before flames were discovered by neighbors in the wee hours of the following morning.
Young Hamden fire apparatus buff, Chan Brainard, was visiting Station 6 with his mom on his birthday in 1951. It was his first visit to the small fire station on Merritt Street, which housed a 1926 Maxim 500 GPM pumper.
As Chan and his mom were about to leave, the bell hit and the dispatcher sent Engine 6 and Engine 3 to Fennbrook Drive for a brush fire. Chan had a camera and took several photos of the action, including two ancient Maxim pumpers that would be gone within a year or two afterward.
Check out the unusual hydrant placement in this Greater New Haven area parking lot that is shared by two restaurants.
Question 1: Would you get a ticket for parking here?
Question 2: Who the hell placed this hydrant? (It is NOT in Hamden.)
Perhaps the parking space should be marked "RESERVED FOR FD ONLY."
September 26, 2009 - CLICK to enlarge
HFRA Winter Meeting Photos
Hydrant Stuff - CLICK
April 1976 - The Hamden Fire Department held a blood pressure clinic in the high school gym during the 1976 Goldenbells Festival. Ff. Ralph Dievert takes the blood pressure of Dep. Chief Francis "Chalky" Leddy, while Lt. John Tramontano looks on. (Courtesy of the Hamden Historical Society)
August 1971 - Firefighters Tony "Moonman" Melillo, Howie Hurlburt, Sr., and Walt Macdowall mugging it up during foam drill at the new Public Works building on Shepard Avenue. (Photo by Ed Doiron, Sr.)
Snow Removal - Station 3's Roof!
New Tower 1 Under Construction
Very Scary Times The Cold War Comes to Hamden
For those who could afford them, fallout shelters were below-ground backyard sanctuaries designed to protect the family from radioactive fallout following a nuclear exchange.
Chief V. Paul Leddy and State Civil Defense Director William Schatzman are pictured inside the fence at this 1961 fallout shelter display at the Hamden Plaza. Fire Marshal Albert Purce (back to the camera) is seen in the foreground. The fire officer on the right appears to be from another department, perhaps New Haven.
Four weeks after this photo was taken, the Soviet Union tested a 58 megaton hydrogen bomb in the atmosphere, which only escalated the fears of an already worried populace. Fortunately, the questionable efficacy of fallout shelters was never put to the test in a real wartime situation. But we came very close one year later in what became known as the Cuban Missile Crisis. It was a very scary time, indeed.
October 4, 1961 - Hamden Plaza (CLICK to enlarge - Photo by I.A. Sneiderman)
A year earlier, then-CD Director Leddy, inspects another fallout shelter (CLICK to enlarge)
CLICK to enlarge
JOE WAS THERE!
February 17, 2011 - We want to thank regular website visitor, Sgt. Joe Murray (Hamden Police Dept, Ret.), who immediately recognized the 1961 Hamden Plaza fallout shelter photo. He was there! Joe, only five years old at the time, is pictured in the lower left with his mom, Jean Murray (in the white coat).
Jean Murray was a Hamden school crossing guard from 1960 until 1979. But most Hamden fire retirees probably remember her as the really nice lady who was Hamden's Animal Control Officer from 1979 until her retirement in 2006. Joe, who was also well known to most Hamden firefighters, joined the Hamden Police Department in 1979 and served for 27 years.
In his email to the website, Joe noted that right above his mom's head in the photo is the Murray family car, a red 1961 Chevrolet Bel-Air. Nice! Even though he was only five at the time, Joe says he thinks he remembers that day. Like many other kids who grew up in Hamden, Joe spent a lot of time in the Plaza and remembers many of the earlier stores that were located there.
Zemel Brothers, in the larger photo above, sold household appliances. The Union & New Haven Trust Co. bank is pictured at the end of the northern wing of the Plaza. It became Union Trust in 1970, and is now Wachovia Bank. The old brick building seen across Dixwell Avenue was the W.I. Clark Co., which specialized in heavy construction equipment. A 1974 fire did extensive damage to some of the equipment stored there.
Jean Murray is well and still lives in Hamden. From 1998 until his retirement in 2006, Sgt. Joe Murray was in charge of Central Communications.
October 11, 1945 - Ives Street Fire Demonstration with New Haven Fire Department
NHFD & HFD Drill on Ives Street
Two 5th Graders (and Future BCs) Were There!
On October 11, 1945, in a joint demonstration by the New Haven and Hamden Fire Departments, this 2 1/2 story wood frame house on Ives Street was torched to demonstrate the effectiveness of fog on Class A fires.
CLICK below to read the results, and about the two future Hamden battalion chiefs, both in 5th grade at the time, who played hookey to see this unique cooperative demonstration. Find out what happened to them.
Several other photos taken at the time were reprinted in a 1948 Fire Engineering article. See also a New Haven Evening Register article from the following day.
- once a landmark Hamden hotel - The news articles on this page were donated by G. Donald Steele
$15,000 was the estimated loss when fire gutted the 111-year old Malavolti building at the corner of Whitney and Dixwell Avenues on the night of February 18, 1941. The fire in the two-and-a-half story combination commercial-residential wood frame building was believed to have started when faulty electrical wiring led to an exploding gas meter.
Ten residents of the second floor apartments escaped without injuries. Hamden firefighters worked through the night to contain the blaze to the building of origin. The Hamden branch of the American Red Cross assisted the ten individuals who were displaced by the fire.
The building was condemned and razed, leaving a vacant lot on which local kids played softball until the Malavolti family built the Brown Stone House Restaurant on the site in 1949. We are grateful to G. Donald Steele for the newspaper articles and photos that are posted below.
What was to later become known as the Malavolti Building, started out as a hotel in the early 19th century. From an article published years ago in The Hamden Chronicle, "The former Centerville House, also known as the Sackett Hotel, was located on Whitney Avenue near the intersectrion with Dixwell Avenue. Built in 1830, the inn also had a popular tavern."
Retiree Bob Slater recently received the photo at left from Deputy Fire Marshal Brain Dolan, who reported that Bob's old boots, marked "Slater," are still in service with the Hamden Police Dept.
Bob's grandson took the photo at right when the two of them visited Station 4 in 2002. No one was home when they stopped by, so Bob shinnied up the pole for a great photo op.
A department member from 1966 until 1981, and a former president of the early bargaining units, Bob has worked at Walt Disney World Security for nearly 30 years. He says he may finally retire from Disney early next year - but, hey, you never know. Thanks, Bob!
CLICK to enlarge
Station 4 - March 31, 1991 (Easter)
They Came Off a '53 Mercury!
Just about every Hamden firefighter is going to have photos of family members visiting them at work, usually on a holiday.
In this somewhat fuzzy photo, Dave Johnson's four young sons are shown visiting Station 4 on Easter 1991.
Check out the equally fuzzy items that hung above the dashboard of Engine 4. Love it!
Walt Macdowall's Roast November 1991
Many of Deputy Chief Walt Macdowall's friends and colleagues gathered at Laurel View Country Club in November 1991 to "roast" him. Walt retired from the Hamden Fire Department after 26 years of service to take command of the LaGrange Fire Department in Illinois.
Three Veteran Firefighters Honored at Annual Dinner LaBanca Gets Jake Award
Plenty of retirees were on hand as the Hamden Professional Firefighters Association, Local 2687, I.A.F.F. honored three veteran firefighters at the local's Annual Retirement Dinner on Saturday evening, March 5th, at Laurel View Country Club.
HFRA SPRING MEETING Tuesday, Apr. 12, 2011 Hamden Elks Hall, 175 School Street Brief meeting starts promptly at 3 PM MENU B & R Burger 1/2 lb. burger with your choice of cheddar or American cheese, your choice of mayonaise, BBQ sauce or both, your choice of bacon, sauteed onions, or both, and your choice of homemade french fries, onion rings or both! All for SIX BUCKS! Meeting Agenda will be posted by April 1st.
Bobby Kelo was in town for the Annual Dinner and treated three former colleagues to lunch at the Athena Diner on Route 5. Bob lives in Midlothian, VA. Thank you, Bob!
70 Years Ago
March 19, 1941 - Dixwell and Mather
March 25, 2011 - 1991 Pierce Tower, 1990 Pierce Aerial, and 2011 Smeal Tower stand together before the '91 tower is traded in. CLICK for more pix.
Hamden's first motorized ladder truck was delivered 85 years ago, in March 1926. It cost approximately $8,000. (It was delivered with a new Maxim 500 GPM pumper. Together they cost $12,500.)
At 4:31 p.m. on March 19, 1941, Ff. David F. Howe was by himself at the wheel of Hamden's ladder truck. Miraculously, Ff. Howe was uninjured when his truck and a Connecticut Company trolley car tried to occupy the intersection of Dixwell and Mather at the same time. Old timers used to say that Ff. Howe was thrown clear of the truck with the steering wheel still in his hands.
The truck was deemed unsalvageable. It was traded in for a brand new 1941 Diamond-T city service ladder truck from the Wood Engineering Co. in Topsfield, Massachuetts, which was delivered the following year.
Hamden's new Smeal 100' midship-mounted platform arrived last week. Ff. Daryl Osiecki sent some new photos of the truck, which can be viewed by clicking on the photo above.
CLICK for CBS News Feature
March 25, 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Co. Fire New York City
One hundred years ago, 146 employees, mostly young women, perished in a tragic fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Co. in New York City.
Sweatshop conditions on the upper floors of the occupancy, including blocked fire doors, contributed to the horrendous death toll.
The Triangle Shirtwaist Co. fire, which gave rise to the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union, would eventually result in improved conditions for garment workers and legislation to replace inadequate fire codes.