Hamden firefighters from five companies spent more than six hours fighting a stubborn fire that destroyed over a ton of magnesium at the Hamden Smelting Company, situated near the New York, New Haven and Hartford railroad tracks off State Street. These two articles from New Haven's two daily newspapers of that era tell the story.
New Haven Journal-Courier, Wednesday, June 27, 1956 (Chan Brainard)
New Haven Evening Register, Wednesday, June 27, 1956 (Chan Brainard)
HFRA acquires Co. 1 badge of "The Historian of Highwood"
A lady dropped by Station 2 last week with a gift for the Association. She handed it to the first firefighter she saw. It was a badge from Highwood Hose Co. No. 1. The lady told the firefighter that it had belonged to her late father and that she wanted it to be kept in a safe place where the memory of her dad, the first Italian-American member of the Highwood fire company, would be preserved in perpetuity.
The owner of the badge was none other than the late John DellaVecchia (1916-2007), a genuine legend in Hamden history preservation.
Throughout the 20th century, Mr. DellaVecchia preserved the history of the Highwood neighborhood with his collection of hundreds of photographs and remembrances, most of which are now in the care of the Hamden Historical Society. Photos in his collection include some of the earliest images of the Highwood fire company.
The firefighter thanked the lady, took the badge and turned it over to his officer. When he returned, John DellaVecchia's daughter had already left the station. Her name is unknown!
The HFRA would be very grateful to know the identity of this lady so that we may thank her, properly acknowledge her remarkable gift, and assure her that her father's memory and his Highwood Co. No. 1 badge will be forever preserved by the members of the HFRA.
The Association will attempt to track her down through public records. In the meantime, if anyone knows the identity of this lady we would appreciate hearing from you (email@example.com).
Senior Meteorologist Fred Campagna of WTNH's Storm Team 8 was the featured speaker at last Tuesday evening's monthly meeting of the New Haven County Fire Emergency Plan, held every June at the Dunbar Hill fire station.
Following the business meeting, Mr. Campagna gave a brief talk on weather phenomena of recent years and how they may affect firefighting activities. This was especially significant given the extensive ground cover fires happening out west right now during record breaking three-digit temperatures. North America at present is moving away from the El Nino weather patterns into the La Nina patterns, which could mean an increase in tropical storms during the present hurricane season.
According to his bio on the Channel 8 website, Fred Campagna has a B.A. degree in Economics from the University of Colorado, and, more importantly, a B.S. degree in Meteorology from Plymouth State University in New Hampshire.
Rev. Owen Sanderson and Alan Green
Rev. Owen Sanderson presented a plaque of appreciation on behalf of the membership to Alan Green of Bethany for his two years' service as the Emergency Plan's president from 2014 until last month.
Originally called the New Haven County Fire Chiefs' Emergency Plan, the New Haven County Fire Emergency Plan was established in 1937 by a group of New Haven area fire chiefs. The organization's goal is coordinating regional fire service resources in the event of a major disaster and facilitating effective communication between and among area fire departments.
Many career members of the HFD, active and retired, belong to the Plan. Retired Dep. Chief Clark Hurlburt presently serves as recording secretary. In recent years Hamden Batt. Chief Bill Fitzmaurice (now retired) served as president of the Plan, and he presently serves as a trustee. Membership in the Plan has not always been limited to fire officers either. One of the Plan's most memorable lifetime members was our own Firefighter Mario "Bucky" Serafino, who retired from the department in 1973. Bucky was present at almost all June meetings until 2000. He passed away the following February.
For decades, the June meeting of "the Plan" has been held at the Dunbar Hill fire station, where the Emergency Plan members have been treated to strawberry shortcake courtesy of Company 8 and the Hindinger Farm.
L-R: Financial Secretary Carmen Accousti (Prospect), 2016-17 President Vic Mitchell (Hamden),
Recording Secretary Clark Hurlburt (Hamden) and First V.P. Rev. Owen Sanderson (Hamden)
No, this is not Hamden - Hamden never had horse-drawn apparatus - but it's definitely one for the "Sparks."
This photo, taken on Church Street in New Haven around 1910, shows New Haven's Truck 1, an American LaFrance hook and ladder, delivered in 1905 and stationed at the old fire headquarters at Olive and St. John Streets. The exact nature of the call is unknown, as is the source of this great photo. But most of the businesses that could be identified in the photo are found in the 1910 New Haven City Directory.