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January 17, 2020
Captain's Corner 2009 Volume 1
Updated On: Jan 31, 2009

Welcome to "Captain's Corner" which is a periodic production created by Captain Charlie Breen.  "Captain's Corner" will take a look back into the history of the Somerville Fire Department and spotlight the fires and the firefighters who fought them. 

Photo #1 for this issue is of the Class of 1980. Appointed on March 2, 1980 were: (back row (l-r) : Jim Hodnett, Jim Nolan, Kevin Cabral, Jim King and Jim Lucia. (I guess they had a liking for the name James)(front row l-r): Ruben Fajardo, Larry Sullivan, Mayor Eugene Brune and Chief Engineer Charles Donovan.
Jim Hodnett is currently a Deputy Chief in command of Group 1, Jim Nolan is a Lt. on Ladder 3, Group 2, Kevin Cabral retired on June 30, 1998, Jim King is a District Chief assigned to Group 2, Jim Lucia is a Deputy Chief in command of Group 2, Ruben Fajardo retired on June 30, 2002, Larry Sullivan is assigned to Engine 7, Group 2. Chief Donovan retired on July 14, 1985 and passed away on August 15, 2000.

Picture #2 for this month is a shot of Firefighters Jackson Roderick and John F.Fitzgerald of Engine Six operating a big line inside the auditorium of the Western Junior High School on March 18, 1979. Box 744 was struck @ 1944 hrs followed by the Working Fire @1950. An additional engine and truck were requested above the first alarm. The cause of the fire was as it often was in those days, arson. The Western Junior High along with the Southern and Northeastern are long gone. The Western is still standing but now owned and occupied by Tufts University. The Southern is a community garden, recreation field and a dog park. The Northeastern was replaced with townhouses.
Jack Roderick was appointed in 1973 and retired in 2002. Jack passed away on March 25, 2006. Jack Fitzgerald was appointed in 1963 and retired in 1990. Jack passed away on December 22, 2007. (Photo by Jim Swanton)

Picture #3 is a shot of a Third Alarm at 185-187 Beacon Street which occurred on November 26, 1983. Group 4 was working. Box 2632 was struck at 1343 followed by a Working Fire at 1346, 2nd Alarm at 1347 and 3rd Alarm at 1407. Fire in a second floor front apartment extended throughout the 2nd and 3rd floors and through the roof of the large 2 1/2 story multiple dwelling. Ladder Three's aerial suffered a hydraulic failure during the fire and dropped from a third floor window onto a small porch overhang below. Both the overhang and telephone trunk lines kept the ladder from dropping further. Ladder Three's American LaFrance 75 foot aerial was over THIRTY years old at the time!  (Photo by Jay Pozark)


Picture #4  is another view looking up Ladder Three's aerial. Repairs were made and the truck was returned to service. It's days were numbered, however, and it was finally retired the following year.   (Photo by Jay Pozark)


Picture #5  Deputy Chief Walter Cullinane and Firefighter/Aide Louis Drouin are seen outside the Somerville Avenue quarters of Engine Five. Walter Cullinane would eventually become Chief Engineer of the SFD from 1960-1965. He passed away on July 23, 1971. Louis Drouin was appointed in 1943 and retired in 1973. Louie passed away on August 4, 1991.   (Photo courtesy of Louis Drouin Jr.)


The last photo for this issue: Firefighter Leon N. Arbeene is seen operating Engine Two's wagon (a 1932 Seagrave). Leon N. Arbeene was appointed in 1934 and promoted to Lt. in 1949. Leon retired in 1952 and passed away on October 8, 1995.


 Anyone who has any old photos or newspaper clippings and would like to share

them for a future posting of "Captain's Corner" can contact Capt. Charlie Breen at Engine 7's quarters or via email at




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