Lieut. Kurt Vogt Retiring after 27 years' service in the HFD
Local 2687 president for ten years
The website has been informed that Friday will be Lieut. Kurt Vogt's final shift, as he retires from the Hamden Fire Department following twenty-seven years on the job. In 2011 Kurt succeeded then-Lieut. Gary Merwede, with whom he came on the job in September 1994, as fourth president of Local 2687. He stepped down several months ago in anticipation of his upcoming retirement and was succeeded by Firefighter Dave Beaton. Prior to his promotion to lieutenant in 2019, Kurt had held Badge No. 1 as the department's most senior firefighter.
The members of the Hamden Fire Retirees Association thank Lieut. Vogt for his 27 years of dedicated service in the HFD and for his many years of leadership in Local 2687. We wish him a long, happy, and healthy retirement.
A 3 p.m. reception on Friday is planned for Kurt at Station 3, to which all retirees are invited.
John O'Hare Recuperating
We talked on the phone with John O'Hare this afternoon, only to find out that he had been hospitalized last month with some serious heart problems. With John's blessing, the website wants his fellow active and retired Hamden firefighters to know about his status.
While hospitalized, John underwent surgery for a pacemaker. Now he's home and on the mend, but he is still "feeling lousy" (his description).
The website regrets to report the passing on July 14th of retired NHFD Lt. Clyde D. Stewart. Lt. Stewart was the company officer on New Haven's Truck 6 (Whitney Avenue) on May 25, 1988, when he and his crew responded on a mutual aid call to assist in the successful evacuation and rescue of numerous elderly tenants during the fire at the Davenport Residence on Putnam Avenue. His crew of NHFD Truck 6 was responsible for many of the rescues that night, and they were honored at the HFD Awards Ceremony on February 17, 1989. The HFRA extends sincere condolences to Lt. Stewart's family, friends, and to the members of the New Haven Fire Department.
The fire service was part of the Stewart family tradition. Lt. Stewart's uncle, the late John Stewart, was Chief of the Hartford Fire Department in the 1980s, and in 1987 conducted training at Hamden on women in the fire servce.
CLICK HERE for Lt. Stewart's obituary in The New Haven Register.
From the February 17, 1989 HFD Awards Ceremony Program
5 Years Ago
New Engine 3 Placed in Service
July 25, 2016 - Hamden Fire Department officials, personnel and some retirees were present at Station 3 today when Hamden's new Engine 3 was officially placed in service at exactly 0918 hours.
The new Smeal replaces the 1999 HME that will now become a department spare.
National Fallen Firefighters Foundation at Emmitsburg, Maryland
Growing up in Hamden, HFRA Honorary Member Chandler "Chan" Brainard was an enthusiastic fan of fire apparatus. Over the course of many decades, Chan has collected thousands of items related to firefighting, including photos, toys, newspaper articles, firefighting tools, uniforms, turnout gear, technical manuals, and probably the largest and most complete collection of fire apparatus sales literature extant.
Chan's vast collection took up the majority of the home that he and his partner Gil Griego have shared in Signal Hill, California for the past eighteen years. Although still a remarkably youthful looking at 83, Chan is mindful that, as he has puts, "I ain't gonna be around forever." So for the past several years Chan has been looking for a permanent home for his collection, where it can be viewed and appreciated by others.
One group that Chan approached was eager to acquire his collection, but only to sell it in order to raise funds for its museum. That was an obvious non-starter for Chan, who wanted to have all of his entire collection intact and in one place - hopefully a fire museum.
After several other locations were considered and respectfully rejected, Chan decided to donate his entire collection to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Maryland.
This brief YouTube video, produced by Amy Tibbett and narrated by Chan, illustrates the vastness of his remarkable collection and the effort that went into getting it from one coast to the other this past spring. Chan's remarkable collection is now available to delight and educate visitors to the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Maryland.
July 18, 1998 - On this hot July afternoon twenty-three years ago, the crew of Engine 2 on Platoon 3 was asked by a member of the Fire Commission to provide irrigation to some newly planted local flora near the corner of Dixwell and Putnam Avenues.
"Red Ralph" Purificato, working extra that day with Dave, Gary and Joe, handled the chore . . . well . . . quite handily.
July 18, 1998 - Dixwell near Putnam
June and Joe Rahl
Honorary Member June Rahl 1929-2021
We are deeply saddened to report the passing early yesterday morning of HFRA Honorary Member June Rahl, at Connecticut Hospice in Branford, with her son Bill at her bedside. Her daughter Kathy was there every day for her mom at Hospice. June was the widow of our late brother retiree, Firefighter Joseph T. Rahl (1924-2019).
Friends are invited to visit with her family on Monday, July 19th from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at BEECHER & BENNETT FUNERAL HOME, 2300 Whitney Ave., Hamden. Her Prayer Service will begin at 12:30 p.m. in the funeral home, followed by burial in Centerville Cemetery. Contributions in June's memory may be made to the Alzheimer's Association at act.alz.org or to Conn. Hospice, 100 Double Beach Rd., Branford, CT 06405. To send a condolence to her family, please see her obituary at: www.beecherandbennett.com.
Posted 7/17/2021 - 1544 hours
CLICK HERE to read June's complete obituary in The New Haven Register
Platoon 1, Station 2 - Today
* July 14th - L-R: Lt. Daryl Osiecki and Firefighters Chris Dosin, Jason Davis, Terry Gould and Bill Fitzmaurice Jr. (extra today, filling a shift vacancy).
Ffs. Larry DeBurra and Mike DeLine Jr.
In the early morning hours of July 5th, Lt. Osiecki's Engine 2 and Rescue 2 crews were first in at that Beechwood Lane house fire (see photo below). Firefighters Larry DeBurra and Mike DeLine Jr. were both working extra that night on Engine 2, as pump operator and nozzleman, respectively.
Arriving at Beechwood Lane, Engine 2's crew stretched a ladder to the second floor of the house, where a male occupant was trapped by flames. Rescue 2's crew, Firefighter-Paramedic Chris Dosin and Firefighter-EMT Terry Gould, got the guy out the window and down the ladder, whereupon he was transported to the hospital with smoke inhalation and burns. He is expected to survive. Lt. Osiecki noted that if the man had stayed inside the house any longer he likely would have perished.
Chief Gary Merwede notified the website that Lt. Daryl Osiecki, Firefighter Larry DeBurra, Firefighter Mike Deline Jr., Firefighter-Paramedic Chris Dosin, and Firefighter-EMT Terry Gould all received commendation letters last week for their efforts of the Beechwood Lane fire. Website congraulations to all for a job well done!
Ladder Rescue at Beechwood Lane Home
Chief Gary Mewrwede reported this morning via Twitter that Hamden firefighters had rescued a second-floor occupant of this Cape Cod style house on Beechwood Lane during an early morning fire.
The occupant was transported to Yale-New Haven Hospital suffering from smoke inhalation. The Fire Marshal's Office is investigating.
1981 - Platoon 1 at Station 2 (CLICK to enlarge) - L-R: Firefighters Tom Conway, Bill Coppola, Mike Murray (kneeling), Hugh McLean, Paul Petrillo (on running board), Gene Maturo, John Corbett, Bernie Early, and Jack Mordecai.
The 1965 Mack was Engine 9, manned by Maturo and McLean when this photo was taken by Dave Strawhince. It was probably at the Shop for fuel. The front of the yellow Chevy appears to be the van that belonged to Lt. Walt Macdowall (not pictured), who was the Pl. 1 officer at Station 2 in those days.
Bernie Early and Gene Maturo both retired in the late 1980s and died within four months of each other in 1997.
Hamden's ladder trucks were often available for situations, emergency or not, where conventional means of working well above grade were not readily available.
This photo, captioned "Feeling High," appeared in a mid-April 1969 edition of the New Haven Journal-Courier (a great caption given the era). It appears that some kind of adjustment is being made to the radio antenna atop Hamden's old police department headquarters (1951-2011), opposite Centerville School.
The lower man on the ladder is undoubtedly a Hamden firefighter. But the top guy is probably a radio technician, possibly from Utility Communications.
The non-emergency use of the aerial ladder for this job was certainly appropriate given it was for a town facility, and for the police and fire radios. But the ladder truck also was often available, for "training," to install new halyards on flagpoles at schools, churches, and other government and non-government occupancies that were open to the public.
The building at the far left was then the Miller Memorial Library, constructed at about the same time as the police building. By the 1980 opening of the new Miller Library across the street, the older library building became a police department annex. In November 1981, the newly established Hamden Central Comunications coccupied the basement.
* I.A. Sneiderman Photo
Both of these buildings were demolished in 2011 to make way for a new Hamden police headquaerters and parking garage.
Below, in August 1973, the 1970 Maxim 100' aerial ladder was used to rid the cupola atop the Mt. Carmel Congregational Church of some unwanted flora. Pictured are Lieut. Gil Spencer, and Firefighters Tom Mikolinski and Bob Chadwick. Engine 5's Ff. Ed Doiron took the photo.
July 1, 2021 - Wishing Gilbert and Helen Spencer a very Happy 60th Anniversary today! Gil's Best Man that day was Milner Benham. Gil and Milner worked at Headquarters on Platoon 2 with Lieut. Bill Hines, John Hoffman, Paul Reutenauer, and Wilbur Baker, among others.
Gil says that he and Helen have lived in the same house for those 60 years, where they raised two kids. One of them, Batt. Chief John Spencer, is in his 35th year on the job.
Sunday morning fire at Chestnut Hills Apartment goes to 5 alarms
Website thanks to Asst.Chief Lubowicki and Marshal Brian Dolan for providing all the information below.
In what may be the largest mutual aid response to Hamden in fire department history, Hamden firefighters, assisted by New Haven and other neighboring communities, fought a stubborn fire Sunday morning at the Chestnut Hills Apartments in the void between the third floor ceiling and the solar panel-laden roof. Over 90 residents from 57 apartments had to be evacuated.
925 Mix Avenue - Photo from FOX 61
It all began Saturday night at 11:36, when Engines 2 and 3, Tower 1, the Squad, Rescue 2 and Car 3 were dispatched on a box assignment to a reported fire at the Chestnut Hill Apartments, 925 Mix Avenue. Responding companies arrived at 11:40 PM and reported heavy fire and smoke coming from the roof of the apartment complex.
On the report of a working fire, Engine 5, Cars 1, 2, 4, Marshal's office and Shop personnel were dispatched. Additional firefighting crews began a room by room search of the 57 unit building to ensure that all occupants had exited safely.
Firefighters manually activated the building alarm to evacuate all residents as interior smoke detectors had not yet been activated. Upon accessing the roof firefighters encountered multiple solar panels, HVAC equipment, and the roof deck itself on fire. Smoke began to bank down into the hallways of the building.
A nightmare scenario: Trying to contain the fire, which was rolling across a common cockloft between the third floor ceiling and the roof, which was covered with solar panels. (New Haven Register photos)
A second alarm was ordered, which brought to the scene Hamden's Engine 9, North Haven's Engine 1, Tower 1, Car 2, and AMR's Car 50. Hamden's Stations 3, 5, and 9 were covered by NoH Engine 6, Cheshire Engine 5, and Bethany Engine 9, respectively. CERT was alerted and responded quickly.
The fire was running an internal void space between the third floor ceilings of the apartments and the roof deck. This made for a very labor intensive fire attack and posed many challenges for firefighters. Fire crews had limited access from the roof due to the limited walkable surfaces.
NHFD's Truck 4 out of Station 6 with aerial ladder to the roof (New Haven Register photo)
A 3rd alarm was ordered, which brought to the scene New Haven's Engine 6, Truck 4, Car 33 (East Battalion Chief), and Wallingford's Engine 2, and Car 1. Woodbridge, North Branford, and Prospect each sent an engine company to add coverage to Stations 5, 4, and 3, respectively.
** Hamden's Tower 1 on the south side of the building
A majority of the roof was covered with solar panels and mechanical equipment. Other roof areas had been made structurally unsafe from the volume of fire. The fire had to be accessed from the third floor apartments which involved pulling down the drywall ceilings in the hallway and dwelling units.
On the 4th alarm, Bethany and Cheshire each sent an additional engine company and New Haven's Car 31 (Chief of Department) and Car 39 (Asst. Chief of Operations) both responded.
With the help of neighboring departments, firefighters were able to bring the fire under control after approximately three hours. Firefighters were able to limit the fire spread to the void space and the roof. The fire did not extend into the units, but there was heavy smoke and water damage throughout the building. Personnel remained on scene to check for any hot spots.
Three firefighters were treated at the scene by American Medical Response for heat exhaustion. There were no reported civilian injuries. Ninety residents were displaced as a result of the fire and the building is currently uninhabitable. The American Red Cross and Hamden Community Services are providing assistance with housing and other needs for the residents.
The fire is believed to have started in the ceiling void space of the third floor of the building. The Hamden Fire Marshal’s Office and the Connecticut State Police Fire Investigation Unit are conducting an ongoing investigation into the exact cause of the fire.
Among the best local TV news coverage was that of WFSB reporter Christian Colon - CLICK HERE
Posted 6/28/2021 - 1700 hrs.
CERT provided needed on-scene rehab and refreshments - Great job, CERT! (Still captured from WFSB news footage)
Revisions to the posting about this fire will be ongoing as new information is provided.
GoFundMe account set up for residents impacted by Hamden apartment fire.
Fires advancing through voids can be devastating!
The Sunday morning fire at the Chestnut Hills Apartment is very reminiscent of the January 24, 1985 fire that severely damaged the so-called "French-Italian" Building at 1206-1216 Dixwell Avenue.
That fire got started in a second floor electrical panel and, like Mix Avenue, the fire rolled across a common cockloft between the top-floor floor ceiling and the roof. Firefighters had to deal with two false second-floor ceilings to get to the fire, and a trench was eventually cut across the roof in an attempt to keep the fire from advancing.
The nightmare for the firefighters at Mix Avenue last weekend was gaining access to the void above the third floor and the roof, which was covered almost entirely with solar panels. Despite these extraordinary obstacles, firefighters did an outstanding job of locating and extinguishing the fire.