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Captain's Corner 2008

Captain's Corner 2008 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 is a shot of Firefighters George McCann and Frank Moran on floor patrol duty at the patrol desk of the Teele Square Station in 1986. The old tapper can be seen on the right wall of the photo. Winding the tapper and making sure the paper tape rolls were in order was once a daily ritual. Gone too is all the original woodwork which once gave the station its character for nearly a century. When the building was renovated it was all ripped out to be replaced by boring, bland sheetrock. George McCann was appointed in 1959 and retired in 1991. George passed away on September 7, 2004. Frank Moran was appointed in 1954 and retired in 1991. Frank passed away on December 26, 2007.   (Photo by Jim Powers)
 
 
 
Photo #2 shows a weary group of firefighters taking a break during the Hans Kissel fire on May 20, 1991. The fire destroyed the one story building which was used to manufacture potato and other salads for supermarkets. Firefighters managed to save an attached two story building. The fire, at 21 South Street, went for seven alarms and produced heavy, acrid smoke. Group 2 had the initial stages of the fire and Group 1 came in for the night tour to relieve them. From l-r are: Jim Powers, Capt. Jack Memory, Ken Parlee and Lt. Dennis Mack. Jim Powers is currently assigned to E7 Gr2, Jack Memory is now a Deputy Chief in command of Group 4, Ken Parlee retired in 2002 and Lt. Dennis Mack is currently assigned to Ladder 3 Gr 3.   (Photo courtesy of Jim Powers)
 
 
 
Photo # 3 is a shot of Engine Three's wagon operating on Broadway in front of Marshall Hall on May 1, 1974. A Three Alarm fire destroyed the large, mostly vacant brick building at the corner of Broadway and Marshall Street. Hose wagons are now a thing of the past and so are the two businesses in the background. Brigham's closed shop many years ago and the Star Market shut its doors just last month. If anyone can identify the firefighter in the photo it would be much appreciated. (Photo by Syd Towle)
 
 
Photo #4 is in honor of Captain John Doherty's recent retirement. As I put this issue together, the winds outside are howling and wind chills are below zero so I figured that this photo was appropriate. John Doherty was appointed in 1977 and promoted to Lieutenant in 1982. He was promoted to Captain in 1994 and recently retired on January 6, 2008. I believe this photo was taken at a fire in Medford in 1998. We wish John many, healthy, happy and warm years in his retirement. (Photo by Justin Ide)
 
 
Photo #5 is a shot of members of Group 3 making the push into the attic of 26 Burnside Avenue on January 8, 1998. The fire went for two alarms and started in a second floor, rear bedroom spreading throughout the attic and roof. An occupant of the home had been using a heat gun to remove paint from a window frame and ended up removing the entire third floor as well. (Photo by Justin Ide)
 
 
In the last photo of this addition, Deputy Chief's Aide Pat Sullivan Jr. updates some distraught occupants of 70 Porter Street during a Working Fire on January 27, 1996. The fire fully involved a second floor bedroom spreading into the hallway and inside a partition to the third floor. The position of Deputy and District chief's aides have been eliminated now for several years falling victim to budget cuts and politicians who only see them as "chief's drivers". One less set of "eyes and ears" for the incident commander gone from the fireground. Pat Sullivan Jr. was appointed in 1963 and retired in 2000. His son, Patrick III, carries on the tradition and is assigned as the District Chief in Group 3. (Photo by Mike Sullivan)
 
 
 

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 2008 Volume 2
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. 

The first picture for this issue is a group shot taken in 1938 in front of Engine Four's quarters which was located at the corner of Highland Avenue & Grove Street (now a municipal parking lot). From l-r: Lt. William Mahoney, S.Clayton Giles and Abijah "Bige" Blanchard.  William Mahoney was appointed in 1922 and promoted to Lt. in 1935. He would go on to the rank of Captain in 1947 and retired in 1959. William Mahoney passed away on July 5, 1973. S. Clayton Giles was appointed in 1937 and retired in 1968. He passed away on May 28, 1978. His son, Dick, followed in his foot steps as a Somerville firefighter. Abijah Blanchard was appointed in 1913 and retired in 1942. He passed away on July 23, 1943.  (Photo courtesy of Dick Giles)

Next we have a shot of Lt. Dick Durkin taken at the corner of College Avenue & Winter Street sometime in the early 1980's. Richard Durkin was appointed to the SFD in 1949 and promoted to the rank of Lieutenant in 1975. Dick retired on March 4, 1986. (Photo by Mike Sullivan)

The third picture for this issue is a shot of Fire Alarm Operator Dick Langille. Dick was appointed in 1968 and died while still active on November 23, 1999. Dick's son Michael followed in his dad's footsteps for a while in the Somerville FAO. Michael is now a firefighter with the Concord, NH F.D. Dick's voice can be heard on the live audio for the M.Scharf fire. (Photo by Jim Swanton) 

Photo #4 this month is a shot of Firefighter/Deputy Chief's Aide Joe Mammola while working a Second Alarm on February 9, 1984. The fire was at 105 Moreland Street and fully involved a single family home. Joe was appointed in 1969 and retired in 1988. Joe passed away on February 8, 2003. (Photo by Jim Swanton)

Photo #5 this issue is a shot of Firefighter Jack Beckwith waiting for water in the rear of 17-19 Mount Pleasant Street on April 14, 1989. A cellar fire spread throughout an occupied duplex requiring a Second Alarm. The box was struck at 2224 followed by the Second Alarm at 2228. One female occupant was treated for smoke inhalation. (Photo by Jim Powers)

The next one for this issue is a picture of a Second Alarm at 243 Elm Street on April 24, 1979. This was one of many arson fires to hit the city in that period. The fire fully involved Pasik's Furniture Store and spread through the ceiling into the adjacent Somerville Jewelers at #241 Elm Street. The box was struck at 2346 hrs followed by the Working Fire @2349 hrs and the Second Alarm @2351. An additional truck company was also requested above the second. (Photo courtesy of Dave Salvi)

The last one for this issue is a shot of Firefighter Jim Pontifex operating Engine Two wagon's deck gun during a Second Alarm in the Boynton Yards on February 21, 1975. The fire destroyed the Hyde Shoe warehouse located on the Cambridge line. Jim Pontifex was appointed in 1950 and retired in 1980. Jim passed away on February 24, 1995.  (Photo by Dave Salvi)
 
 
 

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 2008 Volume 3
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. 

 

  We start off this edition with a classic photo of 70's style firefighting in Somerville. (Safety Officers might want to be sitting down when viewing this one). The fire was at 9 Edmands Street on March 19, 1976. Box 32 was struck at 1039 hours followed by the Second Alarm at 1044. A fully involved second floor front porch spread into the second and third floors. Spontaneous combustion was the alleged cause. On the ladder are Ff Joe Mammola being backed up by Lt. Dan Sarno. Are those gloves Italian leather Dan? When is the last time you saw a hose rope used? The house was torn down after the fire and the land used to expand the adjacent parking lot now occupied by Dunkin Donuts. Back in 1976 that spot would have been occupied by either Arby's Roast Beef or Arthur Treacher's Fish and Chips. Can anyone help me out as to what was there in 1976? Joe Mammola would eventually leave Engine Two to become a Deputy Chief's Aide. Joe retired in 1988 and passed away on February 8, 2003. Lt. Dan Sarno retired from Ladder Two in 1980. Not a training class goes by without Deputy Chief Bob Lyons telling a "Sarno" story!  (Photo by Jim Swanton)

Firefighter Jim Considine communicating with a fellow firefighter on the ground from the roof of 9 Edmands Street. This was a Group 4 job. Jim was appointed in 1974 and retired in 2003. (Jim Swanton photo)
 

 

 Firefighter Jim Wright prepares to tiller Ladder Four home after a job well done. Jim was appointed in 1974 and retired as an Inspector in the Fire Prevention Bureau in 2003. (Jim Swanton photo)

Photo #4 shows Ff Jack McKenzie (E1) and Ff Bob Barletta (E7) making up from the Edmands Street job. Jack was obviously ahead of his time back in 1976 as he is one of the very few wearing a mask. Jack was appointed in 1969 and promoted to Lieutenant in 1977. Jack retired in 2006. Bob Barletta was appointed in 1967 and promoted to Lt. in 1980. Bob retired in 1983. (Jim Swanton photo) 

 Photo #5 for this issue is a Working Fire at 26 Boston Street on February 21, 1976. Box 231 was struck at 1501 hours followed by the Working Fire at 1503. The fire, of undetermined origin, fully involved the rear of the first floor and extended up a rear stairway to the second floor. Group 3 had this one. District Chief Chester Timmons is on the front porch directing operations as a truck company vents the heavily charged second floor and a hoseline is advanced into the front doorway. Chester Timmons was appointed in 1947 and rose to the rank of District Chief in 1967. He retired in 1981 and passed away on May 1, 2004. (Jim Swanton photo)

 Ff George Janus and Lt. Paul Keane grab a breath of fresh air while working the Boston Street fire. George did his entire career on Engine One. George was appointed in 1969 and retired in 2001 and only then because he had reached the mandatory age of 65! He could have easily retired on disability after suffering severe burns in the Arrow Paper fire but battled back to full duty. George, sadly, was not able to enjoy much of his retirement and passed away on March 6, 2003. Paul Keane was appointed in 1965 and reached the rank of Captain. Paul retired in 1996 and passed away on August 2, 2001.

 You have to love the ladder work!  And no saws back in them days! Ladder crews work to open up the roof of 26 Boston Street. Their work was successful and a good stop was made. (Jim Swanton photo)

  The last shot for this issue is of Ff Dave Salvi operating Engine Two's Pirsch pump during a Second Alarm on Marshall Street in 1976. Dave was appointed in 1973 and has been a Deputy Chief since 1986 currently in command of Group 3. Behind Dave is the infamous garage where the Winter Hill Gang operated. Dave, whatever happened to "get the pumps out of the way so other companies can get by" ??????

Another Jim Swanton photo - please visit Jim's website - http://hotshotphoto.smugmug.com/

 

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

 




Page Last Updated: Jan 31, 2009 (11:33:00)
 
 
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