The Hamden Fire Retirees' Association's website got its first hit on June 16, 2009. During the past nine years hundreds of photographs and scores of articles have been published here thanks to the generous contributions of our retirees, active HFD department members, and our website fans. The members of the HFRA are grateful for your interest and appreciate your contributions. Thank you!
Firefighter Nelson Hwang Appointed to Second Inspector Slot
To further streamline the prevention and investigative services of the department, a second fulltime fire inspector's position in the Marshal's Office was funded in the current budget. After recent civil service testing, 13-year HFD veteran Firefighter Nelson Hwang was appointed to the new position, where he joins Marshal Brian Dolan, Dep. Marshal Tim Lunn, and Fire Inspector Ralph Defonzo, who was appointed the department's first fulltime inspector in August 2016.
Town Clerk Vera Morrison administers oath to Inspector Hwang.
Now fully certified by the State of Connecticut, Fire Inspector Hwang was sworn in last Monday in the town hall rotunda, surrounded by many colleagues and family members.
The greater part of a fire inspector's day is spent inspecting multi-family dwellings, places of assembly and mercantile occupancies, as well as enforcing the fire code and where necessary abating the property. The other aspects of the Marshals’ office, such as permits, plan review, tank inspections, liquor licenses, fire investigations, etc., will continue to be handled by the Marshal and Deputy Marshal However, the Fire Inspector may be used for overflow in these areas, especially investigation coverage, for vacationing marshals, though not on a regular basis.
The members of the HFRA wish Fire Inspector Hwang all the very best as he takes on his new role with the Hamden Fire Department.
Nelson's wife pins on the new badge.
Fire Chief David Berardesca and Fire Inspector Hwang
Chief David Berardesca praised Inspector Hwang for his service as a respected firefighter and union official, noting that as he moves into his new position he will be missed by his fellow firefighters on Platoon 3, where he had served for thirteen years following 17 years with the Branford Fire Department.
Nelson surrounded by his family. His cousin, Frank, is a sergeant with the Connecticut State Police.
The Team is Complete
Newly-sworn-in Fire Inspector Nelson Hwang is surrounded by the rest of the fire prevention and investigation team: Deputy Marshal Tim Lunn (far left), Fire Inspector Ralph Defonzo, and Fire Marshal Brian Dolan.
This photo of future Hamden Fire Marshal Brian Dolan, taken by his dad at Station 3 around 1975, shows young Dolan with a very youthful-looking Firefighter Bob Slater alongside Truck 2, driven by Slater on Platoon 1. The Dolan family lived on Edgecomb Street, two doors away from Stevens Street, where Slater owned a house occupied by a friend of the future fire marshal.
Six-year old Brian Dolan and Firefighter Bob Slater beside Truck 2 at Station 3 (Photo by Dolan's dad)
There is a wonderful irony to this photo: When Bobby Slater was president of the firefighters' bargaining unit, he lobbied aggressively for a badly-needed deputy fire marshal for the department, a position to which Dolan would be appointed in 2010.
Slater's efforts were finally realized three years after his 1981 retirement, with the appointment of Lieut. Robert Westervelt as Hamden's first Assistant (now-Deputy) Fire Marshal in December 1984. Westervelt, like Dolan, would go on to serve as Hamden Fire Marshal.
1975: Future Fire Marshal Brian Dolan preparing for his role as truckie when he was assigned to 3s from 2007 to 2010
Young Brian Dolan is pictured sitting in Truck 2, the ancestor of a piece of apparatus that he would ride decades later when he was assigned to Station 3. Except for Jay Connolly, Hamden's most senior firefighter (appointed in 1981), Dolan may be the only currently active department member to have sported that eight-point hat. Hamden's eight-point hats were replaced in December 1984 by the traditional round firefighters' cap.
June 19, 2010 at the SPAAMFAA Summer Muster at Littleton, Colorado. HFRA Honorary Member Chan Brainard (right) is pictured with Walter McCall, noted author of books on fire apparatus. McCall's 1975 edition of American Fire Engines Since 1900 is now a collector's item. The Seagrave canopy cab pumper pictured here is very much like the one purchased by Hamden in 1938.
Over the years, those of us who worked at Station 3 spent literally hundreds of hours at the watch desk - two hours on each day shift and one hour, up to 11 p.m., on the night shifts.
With nothing better to do at the tail end of the 4-6 p.m. watch, on Thursday, June 15, 1978, the firefighter on duty at the Station 3 watch desk decided to take this photo for posterity (or, as he liked to say, "for posterior").
On any given day we often take our surroundings for granted, but just let a few decades pass and those surroundings that we once took for granted may seem a bit "quaint."
There are at least four items in this 40-year old photo that you will not see at an HFD watch desk in 2018. Any ideas?
5:57 p.m., June 15, 1978
The partially visible apparatus beyond the watch desk window is Engine 3, the 1973 Maxim "Telesqurt," which can be distinguished from Truck 2 by the blurry image of the sideview mirror that was quite different from the one mounted on the truck. At the time this photo was taken, Engine 3 occupied the north bay, Truck 2 was in the middle bay, and Car 30 and Engine 6 (spare) were parked in the south bay.