We regret to report the passing on April 28th of Merton William "Bill" McAvoy Jr., who joined the company on June 22, 1954 and served for many years. Bill is survived by his wife, Mary Ann, his sister Marie Pierson, his daughter Mary Anne McAvoy McKerrow (spouse John), daughter Michele McAvoy-Rubin (spouse Jamie), daughters Marsha McAvoy and Melanie McAvoy, son Michael McAvoy (spouse Vlad), and grandchildren, Dylan, Julian, Amber, and Meliyah. Bill was predeceased by his baby sister Gertrude Ann and infant daughter Maureen.
Bill father, Merton McAvoy Sr., served as secretary of the fire company for several years in the 1950s and 60s. Our thoughts and prayers are with the McAvoy family at this sad time.
We regret to report the passing on April 26th in Kingston, Rhode Island, of longtime Mt. Carmel Volunteer Fire Co. member Woodruff "Woody" Smith, who served as an active volunteer firefighter in the 1970s. Woody's son, Dean Smith, had joined the company first, in 1968. Woody joined a year or two later and served as a Trustee for several years. He also was a member of the committee organized to handle the planning and construction of the 1975 building annex.
A memorial service for Woody will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 30th at the First Congregational Church, 23 South Main Street, Wallingford, CT 06492. Please keep Dean and his family in your thoughts and prayers at this sad time.
We are deeply saddened to report the passing on October 4th of Co. 5 Lifetime member and retired Hamden Firefighter Edward C. Doiron, at Connecticut Hospice in Branford, following a long and courageous battle with Parkinson's Disease. He was 78.
Ed joined the Mount Carmel Volunteer Fire Co. in June 1961. He was appointed to the paid department in November 1964, but never forgot his volunteer roots. His guidance and mentoring of the newer members were instrumental in keeping the company active during some lean times in the early 1970s, and it blossomed once again into a thriving and very active company during that decade.
Ed served as the company's secretary from 1964-70 and again in the mid-1970s. The company elected him to Life membership in August 2010. He served a three-year term as a Trustee, and was a member of the company's Centennial Celebration Committee (2010-11). At the June meeting last year, the company honored Ed on the 55th anniversary of his application to membership.
Ed was an avid photographer, who chronicled many Hamden Fire Department fires and events over the years.
In addition to his earlier work with Co. 5, Ed was a charter member of the Hamden Professional Firefighters Association, Local 2687, I.A.F.F. and served as its first treasurer from 1979 until his retirement 1993. He also was a founding member of the Hamden Fire Retirees Association, Inc. in 2009.
Ed's son, Edward Doiron, Jr., was an active member of the company in the 1980s and 1990s. He is presently chief of the Gainesville [Missouri] Fire Department.
Services took place at Beecher and Bennett on Friday, October 13th at 10 a.m.
Please keep Ed's family in your thoughts and prayers at this sad time.
We regret to report the September 26th passing of Lt. Col. Fred W. Fletcher Jr., USAF (Ret.), former member of the Mt. Carmel Volunteer Fire Co. and son of the late Hamden Fire Department retiree, Firefighter Fred W. Fletcher Sr., who also was a member of Co. 5. Lt. Col. Fletcher (71), a decorated Vietnam War veteran, had resided in Georgia with his wife of 49 years, Carol Niles Fletcher.
We will always remember our brother firefighters who made the supreme sacrifice, and the thousands of other innocent victims who lost their lives sixteen years ago on September 11, 2001.
Always keep them, their families and the FDNY in your thoughts and prayers.
To bring our members and web followers up to date:
June 2014 - Re-elected were Capt. Russ Olson, and Lieutenants Tom Corbett and Mark Guarino.
2015 - Dan Brown was appointed a career member of the New Haven Fire Department. Dan is assigned on Engine 10 at East Battalion Headquarters on Lombard Street in the Fair Haven section of the City, where Engine 10, Truck 3 and Car 33 are stationed.
June 2015 - Tom Corbett and Mark Guarinio were elected to serve as co-captains, filling the vacancy left by Russ Olson, who was appointed a career member of the Waterbury Fire Department later in 2015. Pete Nizen was elected to fill the remainder of Dave Johnson's term as secretary. Johnson will serve as assistant secretary.
June 2016 - Line Officers elected: Tom Corbett and Mark Guarino, co-captains; Pete Nizen, lieutenant/foreman. Administrative Officers elected: Mark Guarino, president; Pete Nizen, vice president and secretary; Sue Guarino, treasurer.
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