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August 19, 2019
Captain's Corner 2007 Volume 5
Updated On: Mar 02, 2008

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 this month is of the late District Chief Willis "Bud" Greene at a Second Alarm on May 22, 1982. The fire heavily damaged an occupied dwelling on the corner of Franklin Street & Perkins Street. Bud is seen standing outside the Perkins Street entrance preparing to direct incoming companies with wheat light in hand. The fire was ruled arson and started in a first floor rear hallway spreading throughout the building. No telephone calls were received, only the pulling of Box 131 @ 0228 hours. The Second was struck @ 0231. Group 2 had the fire. (Photo by Jim Swanton)

Photo #2 shows heavy fire breaking through the roof of 18 Franklin Street/157 Perkins Street in the early morning hours of May 22, 1982. (Jim Swanton photo)

Photo #3 shows Ff Jack Donovan (E3) and District Chief's Aide Nick Pagliuca starting water in the rear of 415 Medford Street during a Working Fire on December 5, 1981. The fire heavily damaged the Rockford Appliance store. The box was struck @ 0341 hours.  (Jim Swanton photo)

Photo #4 is a shot of Ff Jack Quinlan doing some pompier ladder training at the SFD's drill tower which was located in the rear of the Lowell Street station. Photo was taken during his recruit training in 1953. Jack was appointed on June 11, 1953 and retired on June 20, 1981.

Photo #5 - Lt. Dan Matthews (E1) and Ff Charlie Breen (L2) grab a breather after knocking down a Second Alarm at 73 Cross Street on the morning of April 7, 1979. Box 123 was struck at 0549 hrs followed by the Worker at 0557 and a Second at 0602. The fire involved the second and third floors of an occupied three story wood frame. Dan Matthews and Charlie Breen were both appointed on October 13, 1968. Dan was promoted to Lt. on July 27, 1975 and retired on September 30, 2000. Charlie retired on September 17, 1982.

Photo #6 shows Ladder Two's crew operating at a Second Alarm on Windsor Street on February 21, 1975. The fire destroyed the Hyde Shoe plant located on the Cambridge/Somerville line. From l-r are: Fred Carter, Dave Fitzgerald, Jim Considine and Lt. Dick Cahill. Fred was appointed in 1974 and died on June 17, 1987. Dave was appointed in 1969 and died on October 13, 2000. Jim was appointed in 1974 and retired on August 23, 2003. Dick was appointed in 1961, promoted to Lt. in 1970 and died on November 2, 1992. Sadly, three of these four men died while still active on the job. (Photo by Dave Salvi)

Photo #7 and the last for this month is a picture of Ff/Aide George E. Shaw and District Chief Albert J. McMahon. George Shaw was appointed to the call force in 1909 and appointed a permanent firefighter in 1910. He retired in 1947 and passed away on January 20, 1954. Albert McMahon was appointed in 1915 and was promoted to Lt. in 1927, Captain in 1930, District Chief in 1942 and Deputy Chief in 1944. He passed away while still active on August 9, 1948.


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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