Important announcements will be posted immediately above the masthead.
This Summer HOME page "bulletin board" will be updated from time to time.
CLICK to monitor HFD radio
This page last updated on July 17, 2019
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)