At the recent annual meeting, the members of the fire company presented Life Member Eddy Doiron with a plaque recognizing his "many years of dedicated volunteer and career service in the Hamden Fire Department." By coincidence, the date of the presentation was the anniversary of Ed's application to join the company in 1961.
Ed served as a lieutenant in the 1960s and as the company's secretary from 1965 to 1970, and again from 1973 to 1977. As a career department member (1964-1993), Ed was instrumental in organizing and coordinating many fire company training exercises during the early 1970s through training officers Deputy Chief Daniel Hume and Deputy Chief Ken Harrington.
Ed's efforts also resulted in many out-of-town parade invitations, including trips to the Southern New York Volunteer Firemen's Convention Parade in 1973, 1974 and 1975. Ed's dedication led to a vigorous active membership during his years with the company.
Eddy Doiron joined the career department in November 1964. While a career member, he was actively involved with the department's rank-and-file bargaining units, serving as the first treasurer of the Hamden Professional Firefighters Assn. Local 2687, IAFF from 1979 until his retirement in June 1993.
In August 2010, Ed was voted to Life Membership and subsequently served on the company's Centennal Celebration committee. He recently completed three years as a Co. 5 trustee and continues to be active in company affairs.
Close friends and family members attended to honor Ed.
Following the meeting the members had plenty of refreshments on hand, including this cake commemorating the 55th anniversary of Ed's application to join Company 5. (He was unanimously voted to membership the following month.)
Seated: Ed and his wife Peggy. Standing: Retired Batt. Chief Gil Spencer, Capt. Greg Bannon (Station 5 career officer), Gail and Victor Mitchell, daughter Judy Burke, ex-wife Pat, and daughter Barbara Miller. Pat was instrumental in forming the company's ladies' auxiliary and assisted in notifying members without plectrons of fire and activities. Gil, who is Co. 5's most senior member (1951), was Ed's company officer on Platoon 2 for many years.
New officers for 2016-2018 were elected at Company 5's annual meeting on June 28th. Mark Guarino, president; Peter Nizen, vice president and secretary; Sue Guarino, treasurer; Dave Johnson, asst. secretary; Mark Guarino and Tom Corbett, co-captains; Peter Nizen, lieutenant; Barry Bailin, trustee until 2019. Other trustees are Heather Cohen (2017) and Emily Corbett (2018).
A ceremony and plaque presentation for Life Member Ed Doiron followed the meeting, with plenty of refreshments.
1961 - Co. 5 President Ray Spencer and Captain Find Pedersen at one of the old round poker tables in the upstairs dayroom, long before the bunkroom was constructed. The door behind Pedersen led to one of the two bedrooms for the two career firefighters who worked there. Seventeen years later that particular bedroom was expanded into a four-bed bunkroom.
April 5, 1967 - Zukel Realty, 3383 Whitney Avenue, right across from the gas station. The old 2nd Platoon was working. (L to R) Unidentified Hamden career firefighter, Lieut. Bill Hines (career), Co. 5 Ff. Ray Spencer, unidentified Co. 5 member, Co. 5 Captain Find Peterson, Co. 5 Ff. G. Donald Steele. Career Firefighter Milner Benham and Chief V. Paul Leddy are on the roof.
1973 - Bob "Whitey" Williams and Eddy Doiron at the change of shifts
Photo by Russ Loller
Volunteer Co. 5 alumnus, Russ Loller, provided this photo of Firefighters Bob "Whitey" Williams and Ed Doiron, taken at Station 5 right after Ed was transferred in 1973 to replace newly-retired Mario "Bucky" Serafino. Whitey was either surprised by the camera, or just mugging it up for the photographer.
Whitey was on Platoon 1 and Ed was on Platoon 2. This photo was most likely snapped during the change of shift, when the 2nd was coming off nights and the 1st was starting its three days.
Notice the Gamewell telegraph take-up reel at the front of the desk and the fresh roll of ticker tape for the Gamewell tape register in the desk drawer.
On October 6, 1970, Whitey was a member of the first two-man crew assigned to Station 5 on the first day of the new 42-hour workweek. Ff. Frank Kafka was the other member of the crew.
Whitey Williams, as he was known to everyone, was on the department from September 1950 until his retirement on the first day of 1979. He passed away on December 5, 1990.
The building, built and paid for by the Mt. Carmel Volunteer Fire Co., opened in 1926. Career personnel have been stationed there ever since. But it wasn't until the late 1970s that one of the upstairs bedrooms at Station 5 was converted into a real kitchen. Now, after nearly four decades, it was clearly time for a new kitchen, also paid for by the volunteer company.
Some relics of historical interest were revealed during demolition of the old kitchen/bedroom walls two weeks ago. First, was the discovery of many old newspapers dating from 1935 to 1937 tucked away within the exterior walls, presumably an attempt at insulation. Second, was the discovery of a doorway, long since covered up, that once connected the kitchen area (when it was a bedroom) with the adjacent bedroom, which was expanded into a much lareger bunkroom when the kitchen was built in the late 1970s.
The finished product!
The wall opening to the left of George allowed the firefighter in the lefthand bedroom to reach the house phone at night.
This 1978 photo of Firefighter George Edwards talking on the PBX phone to the Alarm Room, was taken just before the inner bedroom (background - right) was converted into the kitchen. To the left of that room was another bedroom of about the same size. The opening in the wall behind George allowed the firefighter in the outermost bedroom to reach out to answer the house phone at night.
When the station was a two-man house, each firefighter had his own room. Once Truck 1 was transferred to Station 5 in 1976, two firefighters occupied each bedroom. Two bunks can be seen in the bedroom behind George.
The obvious need for a kitchen and more room for additional bunks for personnel resulted in the late '70s conversion of the inner bedroom into a kitchen and the expansion of the outermost bedroom into a four-bunk facility. Today, the south wall of the bunkroon is right about where George is standing.
The alarm bells on the wall and the red "house phone" on the shelf behind George were moved to the south wall of the "new" bunkroom. The old 3-slot pay telephone that was mounted on the wall to the left of the calendar (just out of view), was removed and a regular residential rotary dial telephone was installed.
An old doorway to the adjacent bedroom area can been seen to the right of the kitchen door. This doorway was long gone by the 1950s. It was probably removed during the late 1930s when the newspaper "insulation" was crammed in the bays between the studs of the exterior walls.
Also discovered inside the walls were two modest storage areas that may have provided a minimum of closet space for the early personnel.
When the station opened in January 1926, Al Purce was the driver. He was succeeded by Everett Doherty. They both worked a 168 hour workweek. Time off for early paid firefighters was courtesy of call men, or "substitutes," who were qualified to take their places when they wanted a day off now and then.
The workweek was cut to 84 hours in the 1930s and remained so until 1948, when it was cut again to 67.5 hours. Firefighters achieved a 56-hour workweek in 1951 that lasted until October 1970, when the current 42-hour workweek was adopted.
November 13, 2015
Eighty year-old newspapers found during kitchen demolition.
A couple of Co. 5 members demolished the kitchen walls last weekend in preparation for a complete renovation which took place during the week. All of the exterior bays between the 2x4 studs were crammed with local newspapers dated between 1934 and 1937, suggesting that some kind of renovation to that area of the fire station took place when the building was eleven years old.
Studs exposed for new drywall. Some remnants of ancient newspapers, apparently used for insulation, can be seen in some of the bays between the studs.
The newspapers apparently were used for insulation. A few of the newspapers - very few - remained intact and quite readable eighty years later (see photo below).
More photos next week, and a possible answer to what changes were made to the upstairs c. 1937.
These two front sections of the New Haven Evening Register, as it was known until December 31, 1960, were found crammed between the exterior 2x4s of the kitchen. They are dated May 24th and May 25th of 1935. Others were dated 1934 through 1937. CLICK TO ENLARGE
November 6, 2015
Ff. Eddy Doiron leaning on the left front fender of the '54 Maxim. The '78 Pierce minipumper was delivered a short time later.
October 30, 2015
September 6, 1954 Co. 5 Outing (New Haven Evening Register article courtesy of Tom Waite) - Posted 10/30/2015