This page will provide information from primary sources, such as town reports, official department documents, and original personal and news accounts, about the formation and evolution of the Hamden Fire Department, from its earliest days to present.
We also hope to eventually include historical information about the individual volunteer companies that operated in Hamden before and after they were brought under the munipical authority of the Town.
After many years of research, and a great deal of help from many contributors, a written and photo history of the Hamden Fire Department is finally in the works! "Hamden Firefighting" is being compiled, edited and will be published in late 2017 by Arcadia Publishing as part of their Images of America series.
There will be plenty of original and previously published photos, news accounts, personal stories and historical accounts on the evolution of the volunteer and paid companies from 1896 to 1996. Photos and stories about the fire stations, the apparatus, and notable fires will be featured.
At the present time it is expected that the book will be organized chronologically in chapters covering specific eras.
Revised and Re-posted 2/17/17
128 pages - 214 photos
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The Hamden Fire Department - Beginnings -
1913 - Highwood Volunteer Fire Association became the Connecticut Hose Laying Championship Team in competiton during the state convention at Savin Rock. L-R: George Visel, Bill Weise, Larry Cashman, Stan Mautte, Dan McMullen, George Yardley, Charles Visel, Truman Gilbert, Roland Ruwet, Art Norman, George Ruwet, Julius Norman, and Marlin Recor. (Newspaper photo courtesy of the James Strain family and the Hamden Historical Society)
From the 1925 Annual Report of the Town of Hamden
During the past year the fire department became an official branch of the town government, with the Board of Fire Commissioners being raised by an act of the legislature and ratification of a special town meeting. The commission is made up of three members who have been named by the selectmen, the personnel of the commission now being: Edgar W. Munson, chairman; George W. Warner, chairman ex-officio; William Balke and Thomas J. Callahan, and Harry Andrews, secretary. The commission organized shortly after the first of July last , and among the chief matters before that body at its inception was arranging plans for outlining the work of the future whcih [sic] embraces the budget for the coming year. After lengthy sessions of careful consideration the commission prepared its budget, and found that its list of recommendations to the Board of Finance was favorably received and recommended to the town meeting which was approved by the voters, and it is to the credit of the finance board and town meeting, that the budget was accepted and now makes it possible for the commission to carry on its program of giving to the town the service of the fire department which has grown in late years to one of efficiency, equal to that of any town of Hamden's size. In addition to the naming of a fire commission by the Selectmen the department has three superior officers in the title of chief and two assistant chiefs. One of the first acts of the commission was to name these officers, and Charles P. Loller for many years chief of the Highwood Fire Department, Hamden's first fire company, was the unanimous choice for chief. Shortly after, C. Raymond Brock of the Whitneyville fire company was selected as first assistant chief and Raymond C. Spencer as second assistant chief.
Photo courtesy by Gilbert Spencer
This view of Hamden Memorial Town Hall was on the cover of the September 1931 issue of HAMDEN, the official publication of the Hamden Chamber of Commerce. A brief history of the Hamden Fire Department, written by Highwood Volunteer Fire Association member and future Hamden First Selectman Michael J. Whalen, was printed in that issue and is shown below.
The watering trough in the middle of Dixwell Avenue suggests that Hamden residents were not completely "motorized" in 1931, when this photo was taken. Station 4 was in its present location, but the bay doors faced north until 1940. Part of Grace Episcopal Church can be seen on the west side of the town hall. The church was moved across Dixwell Avenue to its present location in September of 1966.
In the 1931 article above, Mr. Whalen made reference to Hamden's "nine fire companies." This was a quarter of a century before the formation of West Woods Volunteer Co. 9. So it is likely that the nine fire companies to which Mr. Whalen referred were Engine Companies 1 through 8 plus the Hook & Ladder Co., which shared quarters with Engine Co. 1.
1938 Connecticut State Firemen's Assn. Convention Parade at Milford. Shown posing with Hamden's new Diamond-T rescue squard are: Commissioners Albert Ruwet and Leroy L. Jackson (standing on running board) and (L-R) Asst. Chief August Ball, 1st Asst. Chief Raymond C. Spencer, Chief Charles Loller, and Asst. Chief Thayer P. Jones. (Photo by G. Donald Steele)
1939 - Chief Charles Loller (1867-1961) beside his coupe
Chief Charles Loller posed for this photo in 1939 for a young Hamden fire buff, G. Donald Steele, who was later a member and future captain of the Mt. Carmel Volunteer Fire Co. No. 5.
Chief Loller served as Hamden's Building Inspector and was appointed Hamden's first fire chief when the Hamden Fire Department was created in 1925 by an act of the state legislature. Chief Loller served as chief until April 1942, when paid officers were appointed and Raymond C. Spencer was appointed chief.
Hamden Fire Department
1925 - 1942
In June 1925, the Hamden Fire Department was created under the General Statutes of the State of Connecticut. Until April 1942, the Hamden Fire Department was managed by the Hamden Board of Fire Commissioners under the direction of volunteer Fire Chief Charles Loller, who was also the Town's Building Inspector.
Hamden Fire Department - 1939 - CLICK to enlarge
Hamden Fire Department - 1939 - CLICK to enlarge
Standing: Roland Ruwet, Arthur Norman, Edward Kromer, Robert Reutenauer, 1st Asst. Chief Raymond C. Spencer, Asst. Chief Thayer Jones, Everett Doherty, Joseph Marchitto, Albert Purce and Julius Norman.
Seated: David F. Howe, Albert Molleur, Joseph Dukat, Frank Nolan, Chief Charles Loller, Ralph Rosson, Clem Kammerer, Joseph Marchitto and Joseph Hromadka.
Charles Loller (1867-1961), seated in the white bell cap, was appointed fire chief when the Hamden Fire Department was created in 1925. Loller, who was also Hamden's Building Inspector, had been Chief of Highwood Co. 1 since 1898.
Standing: Roland Ruwet, Arthur Norman, Albert Molleur, Edward Kromer, Frank Nolan, Robert Reutenauer, Joseph Dukat, 1st Asst. Chief Raymond C. Spencer, Ralph Rosson, Asst. Chief Thayer Jones, Clem Kammerer, Everett Doherty, Joseph Marchitto, Albert Purce and Julius Norman.
Seated: David F. Howe, Fire Alarm Supt. Elton Wetmore, Asst. Chief August Ball, Commissioner Albert H. Ruwet (Chairman of the Bd. of Fire Commissioners), Chief Charles Loller, Commissioner Thomas Miller, Commissioner Leroy L. Jackson, Benjamin Bamford (Clerk of the Bd. of Fire Commssioners) and Joseph Hromadka.
Hamden Fire Department
1942 - 1965
In April 1942, the Hamden Fire Department was reorganized under a paid fire chief, Raymond C. Spencer, and four paid line officers: Captains Joseph Hromadka and Albert Purce, and Lieutenants Everett Doherty and Roland Ruwet.
The Board of Fire Commissioners still made all the big decisions until a charter revision took effect on January 1, 1966, which put the Chief in charge of running the entire Department. The Commssion's main responsibilities thereafter were limited primarily to making appointments and promotions from civil service lists.
1942 - Stations 2, 3 and 6 Personnel (CLICK to enlarge)
1942 - HQ and Station 5 Personnel (CLICK to enlarge)
Front Row: Daniel Hume, Joseph Marchitto, Frank Nolan
Middle Row: Clement Wetmore, Albert Molleur, Capt. Joseph Hromadka, Lieut. Everett Doherty, George Thatcher
Back Row: Stewart Keeler, James Strain, Arthur Norman
Front Row: Julius Norman, Clem Kammerer, Joseph Dukat, Walter Thomas
Middle Row: David Howe, Sr., Ralph Rosson
Back Row: Capt. Albert Purce, Emil Strain, Robert Reutenauer, Lieut. Roland Ruwet
Mario “Bucky” Serafino, Ed Kromer and V. Paul Leddy. Leddy had joined
the department five weeks before Pearl Harbor and was on leave from the department for service
in the armed forces.)
Connecting the Leadership Dots - 1942-1964
In April 1942, the Town reorganized the Hamden Fire Department under the leadership of career officers. Exams were conducted and the following career members of the Department were appointed according to their scores: Raymond C. Spencer, fire chief; Joseph Hromadka and Albert Purce, captains; and Everett Doherty and Roland Ruwett, lieutenants.
Hamden Fire Department line personnel were divided into two platoons, each working an 84-hour workweek. The work schedule was six 10-hour day shifts, followed by one 24-hour day/night shift, followed by six 14-hour night shifts, then one 24-hour day off. Then the cycle started all over again.
In February 1948, the workweek was shortened to 67.1 hours. A 56-hour workweek was adopted in 1951 and line personnel were assigned to three platoons. The 56-hour-a-week work schedule consisted of four 10-hour day shifts, followed by 72 hours off, followed by four 14-hour night shifts, followed by 48 hours off.
On Tuesday, October 6, 1970, a 3-day-on/3-day-off 42-hour workweek was inaugurated and personnel were assigned to four platoons.
(Starting December 1, 2010, the department began a one-year trial of the 24-hour on/72-hour off schedule, maintaining the same average 42-hour workweek for line personnel that was established forty years earlier. Following the trial period, the new 24-hour schedule was adopted by both the union and the town.)
In 1954, all three shift commanders, Captains Joe Hromadka, Everett Doherty and Paul Leddy, were elevated to the newly created rank of Battalion Chief. The three line lieutenants, Daniel Hume, Emil Strain, and James Strain, were elevated to the rank of captain.
In 1956, Firefighters William Hines, Francis Leddy, Robert O'Donnell, and Paul Rosadina were promoted to fill the lieutenant positions, which had been vacant for two years.
Shortly thereafter, Capt. Hume was promoted to the new position of Battalion Chief Training Officer, and Lt. O'Donnell was promoted to captain.
Upon the retirement of Raymond C. Spencer in November 1960, Battalion Chief V. Paul Leddy was appointed Chief. Captain James Strain was promoted to fill Leddy's battalion chief vacancy. Lt. Paul Rosadina moved up to captain and Firefighter George Reutenauer was promoted to lieutenant.
In December 1963, a second lieutenant slot was added to each of the three platoons. Firefighters Joseph McDermott, Kenneth Harrington, and Daniel O'Connell were promoted to the new positions. Now each of the three platoons was led by a deputy chief, with a captain and two lieutenants. (These numbers would remain in place for each platoon until November 1984, when a third lieutenant was added to each of the four platoons. And a fourth lieutenant was added in 1985.)
When Capt. Emil Strain retired in 1964, Lt. Francis Leddy was promoted to captain and Ff. Luke Tobin to lieutenant.
In the fire service, a department's second-in-command is usually the "assistant chief," the platoon commanders are usually titled "deputy chief," and in larger municipalities, where fire department assets are organized into different districts (or battlions) of companies, the chief officer in charge of each district is usually called a "district chief" or "battalion chief." Hamden Fire Department engine, truck and rescue companies are not organized into "battlions."
That being the case, in October 1961, Chief Leddy recommended that the title "battalion chief" for the shift commanders and training officer be changed to the more appropriate title of "deputy chief." The Board of Fire Commissioners concurred and voted to make the change. The new deputy chiefs traded their two crossed horns for three crossed horns and three stripes.
By 1984, many in Hamden's political establishment did not have the cognative horsepower to grasp the differences between a fire department "deputy chief" (shift commander) and the police department's "deputy chief" (second-in-command).
"How is it, Chief, that your department needs five deputy chiefs and the police department only has one?"
Even using the analogy of army captain versus navy captain (the equivalent of an army full colonel), the politicians still didn't get it. Duh! As a result, the fire department's "deputy chief" title was changed to "commander."
Fortunately, a small compromise was achieved in 1995, when the title "commander" was dropped in favor of the present designation of "battalion chief." (But the HFD still has no battalions!) And, to conform with police department nomenclature, the title for the fire department's second-in-command, a position created in 1983, was changed from "assistant chief" to "deputy chief.
Originally posted 6/16/09
Photo credited to Sgt. George Moehl, HPD in The Hamden Chronicle, 12/15/49
L-R: Lt. V. Paul Leddy, Capt. Everett Doherty, and Lt. James Strain.
In 1943, Capt. Albert Purce was appointed fire marshal. His fire marshal duties, for a whopping $50 more a year, were in addition to Capt. Purce's role as one of two department shift commanders. The position of fire marshal finally became fulltime in 1949 and Purce was appointed to fill it. Lt. Everett Doherty was promoted to captain to fill Purce's vacancy on the line.
In January 1948, the work week was reduced from 84 hours a week to 67.1 hours, which eventually required more officers. In 1949, Firefighters Paul Leddy and James Strain were advanced to the rank of lieutenant. Lt. Roland Ruwet, one of the original career officers appointed during the 1942 department reorganization, was re-assigned to training duties. In October 1950, Firefighters Daniel Hume and Emil Strain (James' brother) were also promoted to lieutenant, making five the total number of lieutenants.
When a third platoon was added for the new 56-hour week in 1951, Leddy was promoted to captain. In 1954, Captains Leddy, Doherty and Hromadka were designated as platoon commanders with the new rank of battalion chief (later called "Deputy Chief"). Leddy went on to become Chief of the Department in 1960, and retired in 1984. Dep. Chief Doherty retired in 1966. Strain was promoted to captain in 1956, and went on to fill Leddy's vacated battalion chief's position in 1960. He retired in April 1973.
October 5, 1950
October 5, 1950 - Fire Chief Raymond C. Spencer congratulates two newly promoted lieutenants and six new firefighters upon their appointments. (L-R): Ff. Lawrence Bellemore, Ff. Richard Lostritto, Ff. Robert Williams, Ff. William Bossoli, Ff. Burton Hillocks, Ff. Thomas Cummins, Lieut. Daniel Hume, Lieut. Emil Strain, and Chief Spencer.
Chief Raymond C. Spencer - 1942-1960 - CLICK on photo to view more
50 Years Ago Leddy Becomes Chief
On November 19, 1960, Raymond C. Spencer retired after serving 18 years as Hamden's first paid fire chief. He was succeeded by Batt. Chief V. Paul Leddy.
V. Paul Leddy joined the Department in November 1941. Following service in the U.S. Navy during the Second World War, he returned to his firefighter position in Hamden. He was promoted to lieutenant in 1949, and captain two years later. In 1954, all platoon captains became battalion chiefs. For several years before his appointment as chief, Leddy also served as Hamden's Civil Defense Director.
Chief V. Paul Leddy - 1960-1984 - CLICK on photo to view more
The Hamden Fire Department experienced its greatest expansion during Chief Leddy's nearly 24 years as chief. The number of Hamden Fire Department personnel grew from 67 to 125, two new fire stations were built, an additional truck company was added, and paramedic (ALS) emergency medical service was introduced.
Chief Leddy retired on his 65th birthday in 1984, and passed away April 29, 1994.
Sam Jones was a pioneer
When Sam Jones was appointed to the Hamden Fire Department on May 8, 1961 he became the first African-American career firefighter in the Department's history. Sam's son, Ken, recently sent us this New Haven Register photo and accompanying article. "I have fond memories of the Hamden Fire Dept," Ken wrote. "I used to slide down the pole in the mid 70's and firefighters also helping my father with projects around the house. One name I remember is Gene Maturo."
Ken Jones, 43, also works as a firefighter in Eastpoint, Georgia. Sam retired in November 1990. He's doing well and now lives in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Posted July 2009
CLICK to enlarge
1966 Personnel Roster
This scan of an August 1966 department roster shows who was on each of the three platoons four years before the 42-hour work week was established.
This roster once hung behind the watch desk at Station 2 for all to see. It was discovered in a drawer there in the mid-1980s. The names AND telephone numbers of all line personnel made it easier to call the off-duty guys in case of a large emergency.
Alas, 1966 was a simpler time. Today, posting personnel names with phone numbers where the public could view them would not be a good idea. (Believe it or not, after forty-four years some of the telephone numbers are still valid, so all of them have been removed from the scan.)
Working Hard for a 42-Hour Workweek
In February 1967, the Hamden Paid Firemen's Sick Benefit Association formally requested a 42-hour work week from the Town. When ongoing attempts by the Association to discuss the proposal with Town officials proved disappointing, State Senator Pat Barbato, on behalf of the firefighters, submitted a special act before the Cities and Borroughs Committee of the General Assembly that would allow the matter to be decided by Hamden voters in a November 1967 referendum.
On April 25, 1967, Senator Barbato's bill was approved by the Committee. Town officials knew that if the bill passed, the resulting mandated referendum in November would also pass and the new 42-hour work week would have to go into effect immediately. So, before the bill could be voted on by the General Assembly, the Town agreed to the 42-hour work week for Hamden firefighters. In return, the Sick Benefit Association agreed to a three-year phase-in that the firefighters had proposed to the Town originally.
From The New Haven Register (Thursday, June 15, 1967): "Frederick Knudsen, president of the firemen's association, said his group agreed to the three-year period, which had been their original plan. However, the mayor's [John DeNicola, Sr.] reluctance to agree to the plan forced the firemen to take the bill before the State Legislature."
But despite the settlement between the Town and the firefighters, the referendum bill went forward in the General Assembly - and it passed. Now, by law, the referendum on a 42-hour workweek would have to be voted on by Hamden voters in November 1967, and a positive outcome would mean immediate implementation of the new schedule.
With the Town and the Sick Benefit Association both agreeing on a 42-hour work week with a three-year phase-in, the question now was "How do you turn off a referendum?" According to a New Haven Register article dated July 20, 1967, the Association's attorney Herman Bershtein opined that the solution was in the U.S. Constitution. He stated that Article One, Section10 of the Constitution reads that no law shall be passed that impairs the obligations of a contract. "Bershtein maintains that a contract exists inasmuch as the town and the firemen have signed an agreement on a 42-hour work week." Regardless, the referendum went forward.
On November 7, 1967, the voters of Hamden elected their second Mayor, William Adams. By a three-to-one margin they also approved the referendum to give Hamden firefighters a 42-hour work week.
January 1968 - L-R: Chief V. Paul Leddy; Carmen Amarante; Joseph Greco, town attorney; Mayor William Adams; Fred Knudsen; Luke Tobin; and John Tramontano. Both sides working out the details of the 42-hour work week.
Mayor Adams took office on January 1, 1968. Within two weeks, the Adams administration and the members Hamden Paid Firemen's Sick Benefit Association finalized the agreement to implement the 42-hour work week with a phase-in period. During the phase-in period, the Town built two new fire stations, hired the necessary additional personnel and purchased two pumpers and one ladder truck.
In 1967, there were four officers and 20 firefighters on each of the three platoons. By July 1970, the Town had hired 40 more firefighters, bringing the total to four officers and 24 firefighters on each of four platoons. The increased manpower and shortened work week can be attributed to the efforts of the members of the Hamden Paid Firemen's Sick Benefit Association, led by Fred Knudsen, Carmen Amarante, Luke Tobin and John Tramontano.
The 42-hour work week went into effect on Tuesday, October 6, 1970 at 8 a.m. Below is a transcription of the first personnel roster for the new schedule.
Class of July 1970
Class of July 1970 - CLICK to view more (Photo courtesy of Bob Kelo)
Bob Kelo sent in this great group photo taken at Station 9, when he and 14 other recruit firefighters were in training with Dep. Chief Hume in the summer of 1970. This was the final group hired to fill out the four platoons required by the 42-hour work week that was scheduled to begin three months later. CLICK on the photo to view the other photos taken the same day.
Front (L-R): John Calamo, John Corbett, Tony D'Agostino, Dep. Chief Daniel Hume, Tom Mikolinski, and Bill Giaquinto.
Rear (L-R): Frank Dorman, Bill Coppola, Steve Hitchcock, Jeff Stoehr, Dennis Cosgrove, Ray Chase, Howie Hurlburt, Jr., Bob Kelo, Bob, Kenney, and Jim Hagerty.
The last of these men to retire was Bill Coppola, who retired as a Battalion Chief in 2006.
May 1973 - Dep. Chief Joseph McDermott, Capt. Jack Laffin, and Lieut. Walter Macdowall are sworn in by Town Clerk Thomas Raccio, as witnessed by Chief V. Paul Leddy.
Dep. Chief McDermott replaced retiring Dep. Chief James Strain as the shift commander of Platoon 2. Capt. Laffin replaced McDermott on Platoon 4, and Lieut. Macdowall replaced Laffin on Platoon 3.
Dep. Chief McDermott retired in September 1991 after 38 years on the Department. Capt. Laffin was promoted again in 1984, as the shift commander of Platoon 1, and retired on the first day on 1990 as the only man to serve in six different decades. Lieut. Macdowall became the Department's first EMS Officer and was appointed Asst. Chief in 1984. In 1991, he was appointed Chief of the La Grange Fire Department in Illinois, where he served until his death in 1995.
April 1976 - Second Rescue is Placed in Service
This presentation photo was taken in front of Fire Headquarters
September 17, 1979 - Hamden Firefighters Protest Town's Intransigence
Paul Petrillo, Bill Coppola and Harry Cubbellotti were among dozens of Hamden firefighters picketing town hall. (Dan Satran photo from the New Haven Journal-Courier courtesy of Paul Petrillo) - CLICK to enlarge
Frank Kafka, John Corbett, Bob Macauley, Dave Johnson and Wayne Lowry on the picket line at town hall. (New Haven Register staff photo by Patricia G. Barnes) - CLICK to enlarge
It's hard to imagine today, but in the late 1970s inflation was running at a crazy annual rate of 14%. Many employees in private industry were getting annual double-digit percentage raises. Municipal public safety employees, however, were getting raises in the low single digits - if they got any raises at all.
Hamden firefighters hadn't received a raise in over three years and they were well into their third year without a contract. Despite the union's attempts to negotiate in good faith, the current administration was not "into" negotiating.
On Monday, September 17, 1979, armed with picket signs, dozens of members of the newly-organized Hamden Professional Firefighters, Local 2687, IAFF, hit the sidewalks in front of Memorial Town Hall. When the town hall closed at five o'clock picketing resumed in front of the mayor's campaign headquarters in Highwood, which opened that night. November saw the election of a new mayor, Richard Harris.
May 1981 - New Lieutenants
May 1981 - Four new lieutenants bring total to eight - CLICK
November 1984 - New Lieutenants
November 2, 1984 - New lieutenants sworn in
November 2, 1984 - Seven new lieutenants were promoted from among the 104 line firefighters. Three of the new lieutenants filled vacancies created when three lieutenants were promoted to captain in September and October.
In conjunction with the Department reorganization following the appointments of Chief John Tramontano and Asst. Chief Walter T. Macdowall, an additional four lieutenant positions were created for officers to be assigned at Station 9 for the first time. Previously, the officer assigned to Station 4 was also in charge of Stations 9 and 5.
L-R: Lt. Howard Hurlburt, Jr., Lt. Dennis Baker, Lt. Robert Viglione, Chief John Tramontano, Asst. Chief Walter T. Macdowall, Lt. Robert Kelo, Lt. David Strawhince and Lt. Robert Mordecai. (Lt. John Calamo was sworn in at the same time but is not pictured)
1985 Town Report (Courtesy of Jim Moore)
December 1984 - Two More New Lieutenants
Lt. Charles Esposito
Lt. Donald LaBanca
Awards Ceremony - October 18, 1985
During his tenure, Fire Chief John Tramontano held three ceremonies to honor department members. The 1st Awards Ceremony took place on October 18, 1985, at which time the crew members of Engine 2, Platoon 3 were awarded the department's Medal of Honor.
On February 9, 1985, Engine 2 was first to arrive at a working fire in a three family house at 27 Edwards Street. Alerted by neighbors that a woman was trapped on the third floor, the crew raced up two flights of a rear stairway. Firefighter Carl Backus (extreme right) broke down the door to the third floor apartment, which was well involved. The crew rescued a 23-year old pregnant woman. Three from Engine 2 were injured; one was hospitalized.
Pictured left to right: Lieut. Donald LaBanca, Ff. Jim Moore, Dep. Chief Walter Macdowall, Chief Tramontano, Firefighters Wayne Lowry and Carl Backus.
Ff. Alfred Ramelli
The final presentation at the 1st Awards Ceremony was a very special one for all department members.
The Department's Medal of Honor was awarded posthumously to Firefighter Alfred Ramelli. Firefighter Ramelli was stricken on duty Christmas Eve 1971 and died January 1, 1972.
Chief Tramontano presented the award to Firefighter Ramelli's son, Firefighter Raymond Ramelli.
March 1987 - New Mechanic
March 13, 1987
"Sign zee papers!"
(L-R) Newly promoted Lt. Joseph Anderson, Lt. Brian Bird, Capt. Rich Otlowski and Capt. Greg Bannon with Fire Chief David Berardesca at the Elk's Hall last Wednesday's swearing in ceremony. (Register photo by Peter Hvizdak) - CLICK for more photos
New Hamden Firefighters Russell Quick, Michael Mordecai, and Stephen Postemsky are sworn in by Town Clerk Vera Morrison.
Three New Firefighters Join the Ranks
Friday, March 4 - Three new firefighters were sworn in at the Hamden Government Center today, all of them with previous experience as career firefighters.
Firefighter Russell Quick, who comes from Middletown South District Fire Department, is a decorated U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served in Afghanistan.
Firefighter Michael Mordecai, son of retired Lieut. Jack Mordecai, is a paramedic who was with the West Shore Fire Department in West Haven.
Firefighter Stephen Postempsky comes from the Willimantic Fire Department and has B.S. degrees in Fire Arson Investigation and Fire Administration from UNH.
The members of HFRA wish Russell, Mike, and Stephen long, successful and safe careers with the Hamden Fire Department.
Several Hamden firemen worked at the Web Shop in Centerville before joining the fire department. Among them were Mario "Bucky" Serafino and Al Purce. The building was located on the east side of Whitney Avenue at Mill River, where the Wilbur Cross Pky. now crosses. Home of the American Mills Co. until the late 1930s, the building was torn down about 1940 to make way for the parkway.
CLICK for CBS News Feature
March 25, 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Co. Fire New York City
One hundred years ago, 146 employees, mostly young women, perished in a tragic fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Co. in New York City.
Sweatshop conditions on the upper floors of the occupancy, including blocked fire doors, contributed to the horrendous death toll.
The Triangle Shirtwaist Co. fire, which gave rise to the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union, would eventually result in improved conditions for garment workers and legislation to replace inadequate fire codes.