Tuesday, September 22 - At approximately 3:45 this afternoon Station 4 was vacated as the Squad and its three-man crew rolled down the ramp onto Whitney Avenue and headed to a new temporary home at Station 3, as work soon begins on a complete renovation of the apparatus floor and living quarters. This will be the first major structural renovation of Station 4 since 1940, when the bay doors were moved to face Whitney Avenue and the Alarm Room was added.
Until the job is done, the Squad will run out of Station 3. Rescue 1 will run out of Station 5. With Station 4 closed, Engines 2, 5 and 9 will have expanded first alarm territories for the duration of the renovation, which is expected to take from 18 to 24 months.
The spiral staircase and sliding pole were unique to Station 4. The pole afforded a somewhat more expeditious way of getting to the apparatus floor (vs. the spitral staircase). Anyone who ever worked there had to learn just how to slide the pole. And doing it in short sleeves could be challenging.
L-R: Firefighters Craig Smart, Ed Hilbert and Lt. Dave Proulx pose on the apparatus floor next to the only sliding pole ever installed in a Hamden fire station. Less than fifteen minutes later, these three guys mounted the Squad as the last crew to leave "old" Station 4. In 18 to 24 months, a totally "new" Station 4, in the same location, will be ready for occupancy. Although the spiral staircase will be gone, there will be a pole.
The Squad leaves 4's (as we knew it) for the last time
Station 4 Renovation (2009 - ?) Late 2011 Update
Until two years ago, fire department apparatus had been stationed on Whitney Avenue in Centerville since Company 4 was organized in 1907. From 1908 until 1924, Company 4 was quartered in a two-and-a-half story wood frame building on the north side of the old town hall.
When the Memorial Town Hall was built in 1924, a new fire station was incorporated into the northeast corner of the building. Company 4 was provided with a meeting room in the new building, which their members continued to use until the last member passed away in the 1990s.
The fire station at Memorial Town Hall was officially "Fire Headquarters" until the chief's office was relocated to the old Centerville School (now Miller Library) in 1974, at which time the town hall fire station became "Station 4." The chief's office returned to the town hall in the late 1970s, occupying two different basement areas until 1989. But Station 4 remained "Station 4."
In an article published in The New Haven Register on March 14, 1966, Chief V. Paul Leddy noted that the town hall fire station, "is too old and too small to accommodate the proper apparatus, offices and living quarters." The same month, a Hamden Chronicle editorial referred to the station as "inadequate and poorly located," a opinion shared by many in the department in the four-plus decades since.
Today, a multi-million dollar addition to Memorial Town Hall is in progress. The project includes a renovation of the fire station - the first since 1940. When the job is done, it will be interesting to see how Chief Leddy's concerns of 45 years ago have been addressed.
Since September 22, 2009, Station 4 apparatus have been temporarily reassigned to other quarters. The Squad (formerly Engine 4) is at Station 3 and Rescue 1 is assigned to Station 5. Original estimates for the completion of the renovation of Station 4 were eighteen to 24 months. Station 4 is now expected to reopen sometime after January 2012. We'll keep you posted.