Massive Cold War Era Civil Defense Exercise at Groton Sub Base
On Sunday, May 19, 1957, a statewide Civil Defense exercise was conducted at the U.S. Submarine Base at Groton. 105 pumpers from all over Connecticut included Hamden's 1954 Maxim, pictured below on a New Haven Railroad flatcar. This photo, shot by I.A. Sneiderman, was featured with several others in the New Haven Evening Register the following day. This original 8x10 photo is from the archives of the HFRA.
HFRA Honorary Member Chan Brainard donated these news articles to the HFRA, along with hundreds of other HFD articles from 1955 through the end of the century.
CLICK on any of the articles below to enlarge them for easier reading.
New Haven's 1920s Seagrave Suburbanite (pictured above) was probably the oldest piece of apparatus at the drill.
Oct. 1968 - Ff. Bill Davin, Chief V. Paul Leddy, Commissioner Irving Saslow, and Lt. Jack Laffin pose in front of the '65 Mack at Headquarters to kick off Hamden's annual Muscular Dystrophy Assn. drive. (From the HFRA archives)
Website thanks to Sally Hines Rowe for providing this 1956 news photo from the New Haven Evening Register.
May 2013 - Platoon 3 at Station 2 - Ff/Paramedic Brett Rinehart, Lt. Adam Barletta, Ff. Cerrone Davis, Ff. Larry Deburra, and Ff. Mike Sperl posed this week next to the new Engine 2, a 2013 Smeal 1,250 GPM pumper.
This new pumper replaces the 1997 3D HME, which is now Engine 1, the Department's spare.
25 Years Ago
April 1988 - Platoon 2 at Station 2 - Ff. Tom Mikolinski, Ff. Tony D'Agostino, Ff. Jim Dunlop, Lt. Clark Hurlburt, Ff. Richard Greening, Ff/Paramedic Harold Prescher.
One of Hamden's First Career Firefighters Told It Like It Was
(How 'bout a 168 Hour Workweek?)
New Haven Register, January 24, 1965 (Courtesy of Chan Brainard) - CLICK to enlarge for easier reading
The "three major fire losses" referred to in the above article were the December 7, 1964 Weather Vane fire, the Christmas Day 1964 fire at Reilly's, and the January 21, 1965 fire at radio station WDEE on Denslow Hill Road.
40 Years Ago
May 15, 1973 - Following civil service exams and the recent retirement of Dep Chief James Strain, Capt. Joseph McDermott was promoted to deputy chief, Lieut. Jack Laffin was promoted to captain, and Firefighter Walt Macdowall was promoted to lieutenant.
Photo from the HFRA archives. Photographer unknown. CLICK to enlarge.
This photo had been in the HFRA archives for years, but it contained no IDs or date. A few months back, retiree John O'Hare allowed us to scan a few news articles of his. One of them included this photo, which was published in the December 11, 1964 edition of the New Haven Journal-Courier.
John is shown in the bow of the Department's rowboat while Lieut. Danny O'Connell rows on an icy Lake Whitney just after they rescued a five-year old Labrador retriever named "Traze," belonging Chris Pedersen of 71 Augur Street.
According to the article, "Lt. O'Connell said Thursday night that the rescuers had to row about 200 feet out into the lake, where the canine was swimming in a hole in the ice.
"O'Connell said the boat was almost swamped when O'Hare attempted to lift the dog in. Once inside the boat, the grateful dog sat quietly until shore was reached."
45 Years Ago!
Maselli Fireplace Center 3547 Whitney Avenue May 1, 1968
The quarried head of Sleeping Giant literally provides the backdrop for this photo. This early evening fire was not a big one, but it was a nasty one that did a lot of damage to merchandise stored in the basement of the Maselli Fireplace Center on the east side of Whitney Avenue, just north of West Woods Road.
CLICK for more photos
40 Years Ago!
On Saturday, May 5, 1973, Hamden Lieut. Gilbert Spencer and Firefighters Dave Howe, Ed Doiron and Tony Melillo assisted New Haven Fire Department Drillmaster, Capt. Charles Doll, with numerous live fire exercises for seventeen members of Co. 5 at the Hamilton Street training ground. Many of the exercises were documented by Ed Doiron in several dozen slides, some of which can be viewed by clicking on this photo.
Photo by Ed Doiron, Sr. / CLICK for more photos.
35 Years Ago!
As a bona fide member of the department, HFD Chaplain Owen Sanderson has always pitched in. This nasty ground cover fire in the West Rock area 35 year ago was no exception. The "almost antique" truck in the photo was Co. 7's 1935 Dodge, which was still in service in '78, and is still around today. But, like most of us who were active in 1978, the '35 Dodge is now retired.
The lower photo could be captioned, "Sometimes you just have to improvise."
Article courtesy of Gilbert Spencer
Telling Our Story on May 9th
CLICK photo for more information on Hamden Patch
The First 100 Years of Hamden Firefighters - the History, the Evolution, and Memorable Eventswill be the subject of a Powerpoint presentation by your webmaster at the annual meeting of the Hamden Historical Society NEXT Thursday evening, May 9th at 7 p.m. in the Senior Center Hall of the Miller Memorial Cultural Complex, 2901 Dixwell Avenue. Please enter through the rear entrance. No charge, and refreshments will be served. All - especially Hamden's fire retirees - are welcome!
quick reaction by Supt. Mike Murray saved life of Ff. John Reynolds.
The New Haven Register, April 27, 1993 (Courtesy of Gil Spencer)
Fire service support for West Texas, TX this week. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
60 Years Ago!
(scroll slowly and read everything)
(Photo courtesy of Tom Doherty)
60 years ago someone snapped this photo of Hamden's "Emergency Squad" outside Fire Headquarters. This week, the special significance of this particular photo isn't the truck, it's the building in the background. Scroll down.
Going . . .
Going . . .
G O N E !
Website thanks to Lieut. Gary Merwede, who shot the photos of the demolition earlier this week of 2384 Whitney Avenue, the building right next to Station 4. It is sad to see the disappearance of a landmark that held so many fond memories for those of us who worked at 4's ("Flo Alerts" anyone?).
Over the past century many different commercial establishments and apartments occupied the building. It even survived a fire 41 years ago in a fabric shop that occupied the same store that later housed Conte's Jewelry Store. Early Centerville photos confirm that this building was older than the town hall and even the old Reilly's Restaurant building that once stood on the other side, where Eli's stands today. Bye, bye!
Website thanks to Bob Freeman for yet another view of the mayhem next to 4's.
(Is that really a power shovel in the basement?)
Hamden's 1926 Maxim city service ladder truck near old Staion 3 on Putnam Avenue. This photo was provided to the archives many years ago by the late G. Donald Steele, who served as a volunteer at Co. 5 from the early 1960s until the 1980s.
The victims in Boston are in our thoughts and prayers.
Please keep them in yours.
The Bridgeport Telegram, Thursday, April 17, 1947 (CLICK to enlarge)
It has been a tough week. The Boston Marathon bombing on Monday, an act of terror that will be avenged, brought us together once again as a country steeled with resolve. Now, a few days later, our thoughts and prayers are also with the people of West Texas, Texas, following a devastating explosion in a fertilizer plant located there. Many lives were lost, including several members of the fire department.
This week's Texas explosion was reminiscent of another horrendous Texas disaster, exactly 66 years earlier (April 16-17, 1947), when the freighter Grand Camp, loaded with ammonium nitrate, caught fire and exploded in the harbor at Texas City. It was the worst industrial disaster in American history. Hundreds of lives were lost and the entire Texas City Fire Department was wiped out.
Click below to view a 50th anniversary YouTube video account of the 1947 Texas City disaster.
1972 - At Station 3, Joe Rahl (left), leaning on Doug Yocher's 1971 Chevy, watches as Ray Dobbs gives his 1972 Datsun 240-Z a bath. (Photo by Doug Yocher)
This May 1982 photo by future fire chief John Tramontano shows Asst. Supt. of Alarms (and future fire chief) Paul Wetmore, Sr. in the "bucket" of Car 53, a 1969 Ford.
CLICK TO ENLARGE
Department Bulletin - April 19, 1982 reveals lots of changes in 31 years.
The Hamden Fire Department Communications Bulletins, issued from 1982 until 1989, are among the Department's many time capsules. Of all the buildings mentioned in the bulletin issued on April 19, 1982, only the new Miller Library at 2901 Dixwell Avenue is still standing. The other seven buildings (and even one street) are but a memory.
Not only is the apartment building at 10 Prescott Street gone, but so is the entire street. What was Prescott Street is now part of the S.C.S.U. campus. 251 Leeder Hill Road was replaced by condos. The building at 1881 Dixwell Avenue was razed to make way for the shopping plaza located just north of where Home Depot is today.
Long after the W.I. Clark Company moved to Wallingford, their old building at 2195 Dixwell Avenue was transformed into a roller skating facility during the "Disco Era." A Wendy's restaurant stands there today.
Chimney Square, at 1125 Dixwell Avenue, was a small group of businesses (and one very popular gin mill) that was originally part of the Safety Electric Company, a large complex that ran from the corner of Putnam Avenue, south to opposite Third Street.
The original Spring Glen School was razed several years ago and replaced by a new school.
Finally, the "old" Miller Library, mentioned in the final entry at the bottom, was torn down only a couple of months ago to make way for the new police parking garage.