Shot by Chan Brainard, this is the only known complete view, in color, of Hamden's 1938 Diamond-T Emergency Squad, parked on the ramp at fire headquarters in 1957.
That huge black suitcase mounted on the running board contained the E&J resuscitator for those rare "oxygen calls." In 1957, the department had 82 of them. Today the department may get eighty times that number in one year.
We found the negative of this photo in the cache of Chan's negatives mentioned in last week's web update. There will be more. Look closely at the right side of the photo and you can see the vertical sign on Reilly's Restaurant just beyond the "package store" sign.
Past and present Connecticut motorized apparatus chronicled in new database.
Five years ago this month, Pawcatuck [CT] Fire Department member Rob Palmer emailed the HFRA about a project he was working on. He was impressed, indeed awed, by the number of photos and the amount of general information about past Hamden fire apparatus posted in our webpages. Rob wrote, "What a fabulous website! It is completely what I am interested in, and it is so well presented."
Rob's extremely generous - and accurate - description of our website was enough to pique our interest in his project. (Hey, sincere flattery will get you anywhere!) "How can we help you?"
Rob, also a member of New London County Fire Chiefs, was endeavoring to document, with photos and technical data, every piece of motorized fire apparatus that has served in the State of Connecticut since the beginning.
Rob's goal was the creation of a database that would be posted on the Connecticut Firemen's Historical Society website, where it would be available for anyone doing historical research on Connecticut fire departments and/or the apparatus thereof.
On Rob's first visit to Hamden, and with the blessing of the HFRA Executive Board and the Hamden Historical Society, we were able to share photos and technical information on virtually every piece of Hamden's motorized fire apparatus.
The only Hamden apparatus for which we had no photo was the 1910 Locomobile chemical truck, donated to Whitneyville in 1915 by the Winchester Repeating Arms Co. The truck ended its active service in 1930 as the first motorized apparatus of Dunbar Hill Co. 8.
Many of the HFRA's records of obsolete Hamden apparatus were obtained years ago from then-Supt. of Alarms Paul Wetmore, Sr. While cleaning out the file drawers in the Repair Shop, Supt. Wetmore resisted the temptation to just throw everything in the trash and instead donated the long forgotten apparatus records to what would become our "archives."
Striving to complete his apparatus database in the years since, Rob has combed through dozens of department and private photo collections throughout Connecticut and elsewhere. On a trip to the West Coast last year, Rob visited HFRA honorary member Chan Brainard, who provided lots of images of Connecticut fire apparatus from his vast collection of photos and negatives.
Rob's intense labors over the past five years have finally resulted in the Connecticut Motorized Fire Apparatus Database, now available on the website of the Connecticut Firemen's Historical Society (www.thefiremuseum.org).
In the most recent edition of The Trumpet, newsletter of the CFHS, Rob wrote, "For the past five years, driven by a lifelong love of fire trucks and a keen interest in the older, more elegant apparatus, I have been gathering information and history on the motorized fire apparatus that have served in the State of Connecticut."
The database is still a work in progress, according to Bob. But the beauty of any Internet reference is that it can be easily updated and corrected as new and better information is obtained.
Bob's vision of his database is not only one of facilitating historical research, but also inspiring an appreciation of fire apparatus by old and young alike. "I hope that this history of the motorized fire apparatus which have served the state will evoke memories and encourage viewers to make this historical record as accurate as possible."
The Connecticut Motorized Apparatus Database is an important contribution to the preservation of fire department histories. It will prove to be a hugely valuable resource for all fire department and fire apparatus historians, now and in the future. Thank you, Rob!
According to the New Haven Evening Register, Hamden firefighters spent five hours at the scene of a mysterious barn fire at 204 West Todd Street, just west of and opposite where Chatterton Road begins today.
Ten years before Engine 9 was manned by career personnel, first on the scene was Engine 5 with two career firefighters who were assisted by Brock-Hall Dairy route salesman Wes DeGroot. Engine 4, the Squad, and volunteers from companies 5, 7, 8 and 9 followed. Damage was estimated at $18,000.
Both photos from The Hamden Chronicle, Thursday, October 9, 1958 (Chan Brainard)
The Hamden Chronicle, Thursday, October 9, 1958 (Chan Brainard)
The fellow in the middle appears to be Firefighter Fred Fletcher of Engine 5. The 2nd Platoon was working that day and that was Fred's platoon.