The Rondo of America factory and warehouse were located at 100 Sanford Street. The company manufactured cardboard packaging and inserts.
On Friday evening, August 24, 1979, the Rondo complex was almost totally destroyed by a multiple alarm fire that was well under way when the first apparatus arrived.
Platoon 4, under the direction of Dep. Chief Francis "Chalky" Leddy, worked for hours to keep flames from the front offices, but firefighters' efforts to save the rest of the complex were largely in vain.
Firefighter Harold Mangler was transported to HSR for smoke inhalation, but released the next day. The building was rebuilt shortly thereafter and it now houses B-P Products, which also fabricates cardboard packaging.
Originally posted 3/9/12
Rondo of America, 100 Sanford Street - August 24, 1979 (Photo by John Mongillo, Jr.) - CLICK to enlarge
New Haven Journal-Courier, Saturday, August 25, 1979 - (Article courtesy of Gil Spencer)
Hamden Firefighter Rescue of Man's Best Friend "Sadie" was lost for four days
Four days earlier, while walking with her master on the Tower Trail at Sleeping Giant State Park, Sadie pulled herself off her leashed collar and bolted off the trail. Her frantic owner immediately posted her escape on social media, which brought forth many volunteer searchers. Four days later, one such searcher heard Sadie whimpering among some rocks about 25-feet off the trail not far from where she disappeared.
Hamden Fire Department personnel responded to rescue a very weakened Sadie from among the rocks where she had been lying, bringing her out to safety on a stretcher. Bravo, guys!
CLICK ON THE PHOTO BELOW TO WATCH THE STORY THAT WAS BROADCAST THURSDAY EVENING ON WTNH NEWS-8.
CLICK TO WATCH THE VIDEO - HFD photo captured from Twitter
Hamden firefighters reached Sadie about 25-feet off the Sleeping Giant Tower Trail,
not far from where she had escaped her owner's leash four days earlier.
The Board of Fire Commissioners posed with Chief Merwede following the recent swearing-in of Training/EMS Officer, Lieut. Richard Lennon, and Deputy Fire Marshal Nelson Hwang. Left to right: Commissioner Eric Curtis, Commission Chairman Henry Candido, Chief Merwede, Commissioner Austin Cesare, and Commissioner Jim O'Brien. Commissioner Cesare was appointed to fill the vacancy created by the recent passing of Commissioner Richard "Dick" Reilly. CLICK TO ENLARGE
The members of the Hamden Fire Retirees Association held their 42nd regular meeting on July 10th at the Hamden Elks Lodge hall. A moment of silence was observed for our brother member, Capt. Bob Chadwick and Honorary Member Bonnie Cargan, who passed away since the April meeting. Several important issues were discussed (see minutes). The autumn meeting is scheduled for Thursday, October 10th, at noon. Members will be notified well in advance.
Regular and Honorary Members:
To access the April 11, 2019 meeting minutes, click on the Members Only tab on the menu, then enter the current user name and password.
In front (L-R): Mike Murray, Dennis Baker, Paul Frodel, Bob Viglione, Ralph Purificato, Mark Barletta, Bill Fitzmaurice,
and Augie Williams / Standing (L-R): Dave Johnson, Sam DeBurra, Dave Berardesca, Bob Mordecai, Ray Dobbs,
Jim Koutsopolos, Jim Dunlop, and Carl Backus. Missing: Brian Forsyth, Don LaBanca, Jim Leddy, and Harold Mangler
July 14, 2019 - Cheshire Firefighter Dennis Pechmann and his dad, Lieut. Jeff Pechmann at Station 2 during the lieutenant's final shift
Lieut. Jeff Pechmann worked his final shift on the department last Sunday, July 14th. Pictured here with his son, Cheshire Firefighter Dennis Pechmann, who rode Engine 2 with his dad on his last shift, Jeff had requested that he serve his final shift at Station 2, where he began his career as a Hamden firefighter in January 1996.
Jeff's connection to the department goes way back, through his great-uncle, HFRA member Richie Lostritto, who served on the department for 35 years (1950-85), most of them as Supt. of Alarms and Apparatus.
Jeff will continue to serve the guardian services, this time in his Cheshire hometown, as the newest dispatcher for the Cheshire Police Department. Our older members will remember our late brother, Firefighter Joe Yoga, who retired from the HFD in 1980 and then served 25 years as a Cheshire police dispatcher.
Jeff Pechmann, who has been an ardent fan and supporter of the HFRA since it was organized, is now its newest member. Your fellow members thank you for your service to the HFD, Jeff, and wish you success in your new career. (Hope to see you at the October meeting, if you're off duty.)
John Wolf, son of our late brother Firefighter Gerry Wolf, donated this wonderful original newspaper glossy of his dad, taken sometime in the 1960s, holding a small owl while on the apparatus floor at Station 5. Does anyone know the backstory?
The unknown photographer may have been I.A. Sneiderman, John Mongillo Sr., or, perhaps, John Mongillo Jr., all of them Hamden-based photographers who contributed their photos to The New Haven Register, New Haven Journal-Courier, and, of course, our town's iconic weekly, The Hamden Chronicle.
Gerry Wolf began his career with the HFD on December 3, 1957. He retired September 1, 1991. Gerry passed away in 2013 at the age of 86.
This is the best photo we have of Gerry and we're grateful to his son John to have it for our archives.
Next week's HFRA summer meeting takes place at the exact hour the tornado struck Hamden thirty years to the day earlier. So please set your DVR to record the WVIT (Ch. 30) newscasts during the afternoon of Wednesday, July 10th to catch Channel 30's Ryan Hanrahan's interviews with Captain Bernie Amatrudo and retired Batt. Chief Don LaBanca, who were both working that day, and who will share some some literally hair-raising experiences. We also will link recordings of their interviews to the website as soon as possible after they air.
July 5, 2019 - The worst loss of life in a Connecticut fire took place in Hartford seventy-five years ago this week on Thursday, July 6, 1944, when a small fire ignited the gasoline-soaked paraffin coating that was intended to waterproof the 500-foot big top of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus. The conflagration took 168 lives, mostly women and children, and injured about 700 of the 9,000 people in attendance that day.
News media at the time reported that the exact cause was unknown, but six years later a man with a history of mental illness confessed to the fire, although no evidence connected him to the blaze. He retracted the confession years later.
The YouTube video linked below is a vivid account of the fire by several survivors. According to the documentary, the rapidly spreading fire consumed the tent so quickly, there was little fire to be extinguished by the time the Hartford Fire Department arrived.
Sixty years ago the department took delivery on a brand-new Maxim 750 g.p.m. pumper from the Middleboro, Massachusetts fire appartuas manufacturer. Department lore had long maintained that Hamden received Maxim's first cab-forward pumper because Hamden had taken delivery of Maxim's first pumping engine in 1915. However, records show there were other deliveries of cab-forward Maxim apparatus earlier in 1959.
New Haven Register, Tuesday, July 7, 1969 (I.A. Sneiderman photo)
Governor Lamont: Flags Lowered to Half-Staff for the Victims of the Mass Shootings in Texas and Ohio
Posted on August 4, 2019
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that – in accordance with a presidential proclamation directing flags to be lowered throughout the country as a mark of solemn respect for the victims of this weekend’s mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio – U.S. and state flags in Connecticut will fly at half-staff beginning immediately until sunset on Thursday, August 8, 2019.
Accordingly, since no flag should fly higher than the U.S. flag, all other flags, including state, municipal, corporate, or otherwise, should also be lowered during this same duration of time.