During the opening years of the Cold War, the Town of Hamden established a Civil Defense Fire Auxiliary, consisting of civilian volunteers as well as many members of Hamden's several active volunteer companies. Hamden's spare 1930 Maxim 600 GPM pumper, housed at Station 5, served as the Auxiliary's apparatus.
Fire Marshal Al Purce, who was also Civil Defense Director, appointed Batt. Chief Paul Leddy to head the unit.
The article below appeared in the March 6, 1955 edition of The New Haven Sunday Register. The two photos below the article show one of the Auxiliary's first training sessions. They appeared in the Register about two months later.
Batt. Chief V. Paul Leddy training CD Fire Auxiliary members in drafting operations on the unit's 1930 Maxim 600 GPM pumper. The volunteer firefighter next to Leddy is Merton (Bill) McAvoy, who was a longtime member of Co. 5. (Kurtz photo)
(Photograph by Kurtz)
From The New Haven Sunday Register, May 8, 1955: "Handling a high pressure hose line may look easy for by-standers but these members of Hamden's new Fire Auxiliary found out the hard way at a practice session last week that it takes teamwork, strength, and experience to make sure the stream of water goes where it will do the most good. Volunteers handling the hose line, left to right, are Ben Feinn, Merton McAvoy, and John Tramontano. Giving the neophyte firefighters instructions in the rear are Battalion Chief [Paul] Leddy and Fred Clarke."
The Heart Fund
Over the years, members of the Civil Defense Fire Auxiliary donated their time and effort during the month of February to assist with the annual Heart Fund Drive. Below are two Register articles that appeared about three years apart.
From The New Haven Evening Register, Friday, February 10, 1956
February 20, 1958 - The 1930 Maxim pumper, now the department's spare housed at Mt. Carmel, was once again the backdrop for career and volunteer firefighters who contributed their time to the annual Hamden Heart Fund Drive. Francis "Chalky" Leddy and Charlie Esposito served as career members for 40 years and 30 years respectively. Bill Scott was also a Hamden career firefighter for a time in the 1960s.
This photo appeared in The New Haven Evening Register in January 1959