By the mid-1970s, log homes were making their way into the Hamden area. New England Log Homes was located at 2301 State Street. Right next door at 2295 State was a two-story log office building, home to the Log Cabin Delicatessen and a Carvel Ice Cream shop. On the second floor were additional offices for N.E. Log Homes.
New Haven Register photo by John Mongillo, Jr. (Courtesy of Gil Spencer)
In the early morning hours of Wednesday, September 15, 1976, as Platoon 2 was about to finish its second night of three, an alarm of fire was phoned in to fire headquarters at 5:15 a.m. Some men driving by saw flames shooting through the roof. Engine 3, Engine 2, Truck 2, Rescue 2 and Car 30 were dispatched.
On arrival, the shift commander, Dep. Chief Joe McDermott, called a second alarm which brought Engine 1, Engine 4, Truck 1, Rescue 1 and Car 40 (Chief Leddy). Engines 5 and 9 relocated to Stations 4 and 2 respectively. All four volunteer companies were alerted for standby in their stations.
Firefighter Frank Dorman of Engine 3 was trapped for a time when a ceiling collapsed between the first and second floors, but fortunately he was rescued unhurt. The oddball construction, which left a large void between floors, apparently contributed to the spread of the fire from the ice cream shop where it got started to the delicatessen at the other end of the first floor.
The New Haven Register, Wednesday, September 15, 1976 (Courtesy of Chan Brainard)
It took firefighters about an hour to bring the blaze under control. However, flames had a good head start before being reported, so damage was extensive and property loss eventually amounted to an estimated at $200,000. Despite reports of the entire structure being a total loss, the first floor of the building was rebuilt (see color photo below taken today).
One man's vivid memory of the fire: Firefighter Ed Doiron drove Engine 4 on the second alarm. He recalled that as he was preparing to pump from a nearby hydrant, his officer, Captain Burt Hillocks, came rushing back from the scene to grab Ed's helmet. The cap's helmet somehow didn't make the trip. (Hey, it can happen to the best of 'em!)
At the time of this fire, Engine 6 was in service as Engine 4. While responding to a car fire during Hurricane Belle on August 9, 1976, Engine 4 was heavily damaged when its brakes locked up and it skidded into a utility pole at the corner of Whitney and Washington Avenues.
FRONT PAGE - The New Haven Register, Wednesday, September 15, 1975 (Courtesy of Gil Spencer)
New Haven Journal-Courier, Thursday, September 16, 1976 (Courtesy of Chan Brainard)
2295 State Street - September 23, 2016
Forty years later, the Log Cabin Delicateesen and Carvel Ice Cream shop of 1976 have given way to a Chinese restaurant and a market specializing in Asian cuisine that now occupy the first (and only) floor of "the log cabin office building" on State Street.
Hamden Fire Department Apparatus Inventory 1976 Station 2 Engine 1 – 1968 Maxim 1000 g.p.m. pumper Engine 2 – 1968 Maxim 1000 g.p.m. pumper Rescue 2 – 1975 Ford Repair Shop Unit 53 - 1969 Ford "Bucket Truck" Car 49 - 1973 Chevrolet truck w/utility body Car 50 - 1955 Ford 1/2 Ton Pickup Truck (CD) Station 3 Car 30 - Dep. Chief - 1974 Chevy Malibu station wagon Engine 3 – 1973 Maxim "Telesqurt" 1000 g.p.m. pumper Truck 2 - 1970 Maxim 100' aerial ladder truck Engine 6 (Spare) – 1959 Maxim "Cab-Forward" 750 g.p.m. pumper Station 4 Engine 4 – 1973 Maxim 1000 g.p.m. pumper w/foam delivery system Rescue 1 - 1971 Ford w/modular body Station 5 Engine 5 – 1954 Maxim 750 g.p.m. pumper Truck 1 – 1958 Maxim 75' "Junior" aerial ladder truck Car 55 - 1960 GMC 3/4 ton Brush Truck Station 7 Engine 57 – 1952 Maxim 750 g.p.m. pumper Engine 47 – 1935 Dodge 150 g.p.m. pumper Station 8 Engine 58 – 1942 Diamond-T 500 g.p.m. pumper
Station 9 Engine 9 – 1965 Mack 750 g.p.m. pumper Engine 59 – 1951 Maxim 750 g.p.m. pumper Staff Vehicles Car 40 - Chief - 1975 Ford LTD sedan - Delivered 8/75 Car 41 - Marshal - 1973 Ford Maverick Car 51 - Training Officer - 1968 Chrysler 4-dr. sedan Car 48 - Asst. Supt. of Alarms - 1966 Ford station wagon Car 52 - Supt. of Alarms & Apparatus - 1970 Ford station wagon
Chief Spencer's '56 "Poncho" parked in front of Fire Headquarters c. 1958
Courtesy of Local 2687
The first three chief's cars, 1946, 1951 and 1956 models, were all Pontiacs. The 1946 and 1951 models were both equipped with straight-8 engines with 248.9 and 268.4 cu. in. displacements, respectively.
1956 was the second year that Pontiac offered a V8 engine. This sleek beauty remained in service long enough for Chief Leddy to drive it until his new Rambler arrived in March 1962.