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Captain's Corner 2009

Captain's Corner 2009 Volume 1
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  CBSFD@aol.com

 

 

 


Captain's Corner 2009 Volume 2
Apr 05, 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. 

This is a picture of Engine Five's crew circa 1976. (l-r) Lt. Tom Graney, Skip Mullane and Phil Crispo. Tom Graney was appointed in December, 1967 and retired on March 1, 2007 as a Deputy Chief. Skip Mullane was appointed in May, 1973 and retired on August 23, 2003. Phil Crispo was appointed in December, 1966 and retired on January 20, 1998. (Photographer unknown - photo courtesy of Ed Morrissey).

Firefighter Dick Lee of Ladder 4 and Firefighter/Aide Fred Harvey Jr. are seen operating on an exterior fire escape during a 2nd Alarm at 25 Kidder Avenue on November 23, 1976. Dick Lee and Fred Harvey were both appointed in July, 1947. Dick Lee retired on January 9, 1977 and is the father of Captain Bill Lee. Fred Harvey Jr. retired on May 24, 1981 and passed away on February 7, 1999. Fred was a second generation Somerville firefighter. His father, Fred Sr. was a member of the SFD from 1917 to 1954.  (Photo by Senior Fire Alarm Operator Jimmy Swanton)

Master Mechanic George Tripp posing alongside what was then the SFD's version of a "shop truck". George was appointed in November, 1912 and promoted to Master Mechanic in October, 1916. George retired on October 5, 1950 and passed away on September 10, 1968.

Photo #4 was taken in the rear of the old Union Square fire station in the 1950's. From (l-r) are: William Bassette, John L. "Larry" Sullivan and Mark Wall Sr.  Bill Bassette was appointed in January, 1937 and retired on April 5, 1964. Bill passed away on June 9, 1965. John L. "Larry" Sullivan was appointed in June, 1942 and retired on February 1, 1976. Larry passed away on September 12, 1991. Mark Wall was appointed in February, 1942 and retired on February 28, 1981. Mark passed away on November 17, 1983. Mark Wall was the father of Lt. Mark Wall Jr. (E3) and the grandfather of Lt. Matt Wall (E3), Firefighter Mark M. Wall (E2) and Firefighter Mike Powes (E1). (Photo courtesy of Lt. Mark Wall Jr.)

A young boy views the results of an explosion at the Handy Card Company located at 250 Pearl Street. Box 331 was struck at 0255 hours on April 22, 1971. The explosion blew out a side wall and resulted in heavy interior and structural damage. A small fire resulted. This building was torn down and the Pearl Street Park Apartments now occupies the site. 

Firefighters work to control a Second Alarm fire at the Sloane's Furniture store located in Magoun Square. The fire, which started in the basement, extended throughout the building. Box 37 was struck at 0936 on October 14, 1956 followed by a Second Alarm at 0939 hrs. This building would be torn down and replaced by a municipal parking lot. The block of stores to the left were torn down several years ago and replaced by a CVS.

 

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  CBSFD@aol.com

 




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