From June 1925, when the Hamden Fire Department was created under the General Statutes of the State of Connecticut, until April 1942, the Hamden Fire Department was managed by the Hamden Board of Fire Commissioners under the direction of Fire Chief Charles Loller, who was also the Town's Building Inspector.
Hamden Fire Department - 1939 - CLICK to enlarge
Hamden Fire Department - 1939 - CLICK to enlarge
Standing: Roland Ruwet, Arthur Norman, Edward Kromer, Robert Reutenauer, 1st Asst. Chief Raymond C. Spencer, Ralph Rosson, Asst. Chief Thayer Jones, Everett Doherty, Joseph Marchitto, Albert Purce and Julius Norman.
Seated: David F. Howe, Albert Molleur, Joseph Dukat, Frank Nolan, Chief Charles Loller, Ralph Rosson, Clem Kammerer, Joseph Marchitto and Joseph Hromadka.
Charles Loller (1867-1961), seated in the white bell cap, was appointed fire chief when the Hamden Fire Department was created in 1925. Loller, who was also Hamden's Building Inspector, had been Chief of Highwood Co. 1 since 1898.
Standing: Roland Ruwet, Arthur Norman, Albert Molleur, Edward Kromer, Frank Nolan, Robert Reutenauer, Joseph Dukat, 1st Asst. Chief Raymond C. Spencer, Ralph Rosson, Asst. Chief Thayer Jones, Clem Kammerer, Everett Doherty, Joseph Marchitto, Albert Purce and Julius Norman.
Seated: David F. Howe, Fire Alarm Supt. Elton Wetmore, Asst. Chief August Ball, Commissioner Albert H. Ruwet (Chairman of the Bd. of Fire Commissioners), Chief Charles Loller, Commissioner Thomas Miller, Commissioner Leroy L. Jackson, Benjamin Bamford (Clerk of the Bd. of Fire Commssioners) and Joseph Hromadka.
Originally posted 6/16/09
Hamden Fire Department
1942 - 1965
In April 1942, the Hamden Fire Department was reorganized under a paid fire chief, Raymond C. Spencer, and four paid line officers: Captains Joesph Hromadka and Albert Purce, and Lieutenants Everett Doherty and Roland Ruwet.
The Board of Fire Commissioners still made all the big decisions until a charter revision took effect on January 1, 1966, which put the Chief in charge of running the entire Department. The Commssion's main responsibilities thereafter were limited primarily to making appointments and promotions from civil service lists.
Front Row: Daniel Hume, Joseph Marchitto, Frank Nolan
Middle Row: Clement Wetmore, Albert Moeller, Capt. Joseph Hromadka, Lieut. Everett Doherty, George Thatcher
Back Row: Stewart Keeler, James Strain, Arthur Norman
Front Row: Julius Norman, Clem Kammerer, Joseph Dukat, Walter Thomas
Middle Row: David Howe, Sr., Ralph Rosson
Back Row: Capt. Albert Purce, Emil Strain, Robert Reutenauer, Lieut. Roland Ruwet
Mario “Bucky” Serafino, Ed Kromer and V. Paul Leddy. Leddy had joined
the department five weeks before Pearl Harbor and was on leave from the department for service
in the armed forces.)
Connecting the Leadership Dots - 1942-1964
In April 1942, the Town reorganized the Hamden Fire Department under the leadership of career officers. Exams were conducted and the following career members of the Department were appointed according to their scores: Raymond C. Spencer, fire chief; Joseph Hromadka and Albert Purce, captains; and Everett Doherty and Roland Ruwett, lieutenants.
Hamden Fire Department line personnel were divided into two platoons, each working an 84-hour workweek. The work schedule was six 10-hour day shifts, followed by one 24-hour day/night shift, followed by six 14-hour night shifts, then one 24-hour day off. Then the cycle started all over again.
In February 1948, the workweek was shortened to 67.1 hours. A 56-hour workweek was adopted in 1951 and line personnel were assigned to three platoons. The 56-hour-a-week work schedule consisted of four 10-hour day shifts, followed by 72 hours off, followed by four 14-hour night shifts, followed by 48 hours off.
On Tuesday, October 6, 1970, a 3-day-on/3-day-off 42-hour workweek was inaugurated and personnel were organizedinto four platoons. (Ed. Note: Starting on December 1, 2010, the department's line personnel tried a 24-on-72-off 42-hour-a-week work schedule for one year, after which the personnel voted to make it permanent.)
In 1954, all three captains were elevated to the newly created rank of battalion chief. In 1956, the Department's three line lieutenants, Daniel Hume, Emil Strain, and James Strain, were elevated to the rank of captain. Firefighters Francis Leddy, Robert O'Donnell, and Paul Rosadina were promoted to fill the lieutenant vacancies.
Shortly thereafter, Capt. Hume was promoted to the new position of deputy chief training officer, and Lt. O'Donnell was promoted to captain. Firefighter Williams Hines was promoted to fill the lieutenant vacancy.
In 1960, James Strain was promoted to battalion chief when V. Paul Leddy became fire chief. Lt. Paul Rosadina became captain and Firefighter George Reutenauer was promoted to lieutenant.
In December 1963, a second lieutenant was added to each of the three platoons. Firefighters Joseph McDermott, Kenneth Harrington, and Daniel O'Connell were promoted to the new positions. Now each of the three platoons was led by a deputy chief, with a captain and two lieutenants. These numbers would remain in place for each platoon until November 1984, when a third lieutenant was added to each of the four platoons. And a fourth lieutenant was added in 1985.
Capt. Emil Strain retired in 1964. Lt. Francis Leddy was promoted to captain and Ff. Luke Tobin to lieutenant.
In The-More-Things-Change Dept: In October 1961, Chief Leddy recommended that the shift commanders' designation "Battalion Chief" be changed to the more appropriate title of "Deputy Chief." The Board of Fire Commissioners concurred and voted to make the change. The new deputy chiefs traded their two crossed horns for three crossed horns and three stripes. In 1984, the title "Deputy Chief" was changed to "Commander." And in the mid-1990s, the title "Commander" was dropped in favor of the present designation, "Battalion Chief."
Originally posted 6/16/09
Photo credited to Sgt. George Moehl, HPD in The Hamden Chronicle, 12/15/49
L-R: Lt. V. Paul Leddy, Capt. Everett Doherty, and Lt. James Strain.
Capt. Albert Purce was appointed Hamden's first full-time fire marshal in 1943. Purce was also the shift commander of one of the two platoons. Between his duties as captain of his platoon and fire marshal, Capt. Purce had his hands full. In 1949, the position of fire marshal finally became a full-time position by itself. Lt. Everett Doherty was promoted to captain to fill Purce's vacancy on the line.
In January 1948, the work week was reduced from 84 hours a week to 67.1 hours, which eventually required more officers. In 1949, Firefighters Paul Leddy and James Strain were advanced to the rank of lieutenant. Lt. Roland Ruwet, one of the original career officers appointed during the 1942 department reorganization, was assigned to training duties. In October 1950, Firefighters Daniel Hume and Emil Strain (James' brother) were also promoted to lieutenant, making five the total number of lieutenants.
When a third platoon was added for the new 56-hour week in 1951, Leddy was promoted to captain. In 1954, Captains Leddy, Doherty and Hromadka were designated as platoon commanders with the new rank of battalion chief (later designated "Deputy Chief"). Leddy went on to become Chief of the Department in 1960, and retired in 1984. Dep. Chief Doherty retired in 1966. Strain was promoted to captain in 1956, and went on to fill Leddy's vacated battalion chief's position in 1960. He retired in April 1973.