Mayor Curt Balzano-Leng congratulates Chief Berardesca following Proclamation
Chief bids farewell to friends and co-workers at Town Hall
The culmination of more than twelve years as Chief of the Hamden Fire Department, David Berardesca's last day before starting his retirement began with a large reception in the rotunda of Memorial Town Hall. Scores of friends, including Hamden's firefighters and department retirees, other department heads and assorted town hall employees, were on hand to congratulate the Chief on the final day of his 39-year career in the fire service.
Mayor Curt Balzano-Leng read a proclamation naming October 12, 2018 as "Chief David A. Berardesca Day in Hamden." State Senator Logan presented the Chief with a Proclamation from the Connecticut General Assembly.
A Very Full Career
David Berardesca began his fire service career as a volunteer firefighter in Wallingford. He was appointed to the career department there in 1978 and rose through the ranks to Deputy Chief, where he was in charge of training. He was appointed Chief of the Hamden Fire Department in August 2006, succeeding Chief James Leddy, who retired following 33 years of service.
In his proclamation, Mayor Curt Balzano-Leng noted, “Chief Berardesca (Chief B as we know him) has been an excellent leader in the Hamden Fire Department and in his role as Hamden’s Director of Emergency Management. We have counted on him to provide fire & emergency management services for over a decade and through his tenure, our medical, fire and emergency management response efforts have strengthened and improved, despite dramatic increases in call volume the Department receives.”
Among many improvements during Chief Berardesca's tenure was the replacement of an aging fleet of apparatus. Throughout his tenure as Fire Chief and Director of Emergency Management, Berardesca strongly advocated for and pursued the purchase and provision of modern fire safety equipment, major apparatus and emergency tools in an overarching effort to improve Hamden’s emergency response efforts and readiness. He replaced all major fire apparatus including paramedic rescues. Three new Paramedic vehicles and a new fire pumper are slated for delivery within the next few months.
Chief Berardesca was instrumental in modernizing the Fire Marshal’s Office and increasing fire prevention inspections with the creation of two permanent fire inspector positions, as well as modernizing the Department’s permitting operations by moving much to an easily accessible and more efficient online system.
Chief Berardesca was also on the forefront of ensuring that other helpful technologies were adopted for public safety; including implementation of electronic patient care reporting for medical incidents via the use of iPads in paramedic vehicles, iPads in all fire apparatus to assist with mapping, preplanning, hazardous material referencing and more. Furthermore, the Chief replaced all portable radios though the “Assistance to Firefighters Grant” or AFG.
Chief Berardesca elevated the Department’s training division though the addition of a well-coordinated approach of requiring mandatory training hours as implemented by the Department’s Training Officer.
Welcomed into the HFRA
Traditionally, new fire department retirees are given their first year's membership gratis, courtesy of the HFRA E-Board. The Secretary of the Hamden Fire Retirees Association presented Chief Berardesca with his freshly-printed HFRA 2019 membership card. The Chief replied that he looks forward to attending the next meeting - a breakfast meeting in January.
The members of the Hamden Fire Retirees Association thank Chief David Berardesca for his twelve years of dedicated service in the Hamden Fire Department and congratulate him on his retirement. We wish him and his wife Opal many happy and healthy years ahead.
The boss with "the boss"
Opal Berardesca beams beside her husband, as he prepares to turn another page in life.
Two of Hamden's three living retired fire chiefs were on hand to congratulate the soon-to-be fourth one. Retired Chief James Leddy (left) served from 2002 to 2006, and retired Chief Paul Wetmore Sr. (right) served from 1993 to 1996.
Commissioners Honor the Chief
Left to Right: Commissioners Eric Curtis, Jim O’Brien, and Henry Candido, Clerk Patrice LeMoine, Chief Berardesca, and Commissioner Dick Reilly. Unable to attend was Commr. Oswald Brown.
Following the regular monthly meeting of the Hamden Board of Fire Commissioners, Wednesday, October 10th, Chief Berardesca was honored for his service to the town and presented with an inscribed clock as a token of the commissioners' appreciation.
The website thanks Dep. Chief Gary Merwede for providing this photo.
The members of the Hamden Fire Retirees Association held their 39th regular meeting this past week at the Hamden Elks Lodge hall. Report on all association activities since the last meeting in April. The current slate of officers was re-elected for another two-year term. Bob Viglione was re-elected to serve another six-year term as one of three association trustees. The winter meeting is tentatively scheduled for a morning sometime during the second week of January. Members will be notified well in advance.
39th Meeting of the HFRA
L-R: (Seated) Bob Anthony, John Corbett, Chick Manware, Bob Mordecai, and Dave Johnson; (Standing) Dennis Baker, Bob Westervelt, Don Buechele, Ray Dobbs, Tom Doherty, Dan Murphy, Jim Leddy, Harold Mangler, Bill Fitzmaurice, and Jim Dunlop
Chief Raymond C. Spencer served as chief from 1942 until 1960 (Courtesy of Chief Paul Wetmore Sr.)
Hamden's first paid fire chief was Raymond C. Spencer (1895-1978), pictured here in Station 4 behind the 1939 Diamond-T 600 GPM pumper that was Engine 4. The pooch is Station 4 mascot, Blackie. The framed photograph in the background is that of the 1908 hand-drawn ladder truck that was built by the members of the Highwood Volunteer Fire Co. That photo is now in the archives of the HFRA.