The West Haven Fire Department has donated copies of its History Book to the West Haven High School library. Published as part of the department’s 125th Anniversary project, the hard-cover book outlines the history of the WHFD and the many organizations that make up the fire service in West Haven.
“Everyone is familiar with the day to day operations of the fire department. They all see how we respond to different emergencies whether they be fires or medical in nature. What many people don’t get to see is the other organizations that also make up the fire service,” said Lt. William Heffernan.
“We have the Firemen’s Memorial Board of Trustees, which manages the Memorial on the Green and honors our deceased members with a ceremony every October,” Heffernan said. “We have the Firemen’s Benevolent Association, which dates back to 1927 and is comprised of Career members and Volunteers. One of the most recognizable organizations is our Fire Union. The West Haven Professional Firefighters Local 1198 undoubtedly has the most interaction with the public. They can be seen at most city events and are out in force to collect donations for MDA and the Christmas Toy Drive throughout the year. These are just a few of the organizations featured in our book.”
One of the newest organizations arose with the 2010 refurbishment of the Firemen’s Memorial on the Green. The year 2010 marked the 50th anniversary of the Firemen’s Memorial and the department began a research project into its history. As a result, the West Haven Fire Department Historical Library came into being. A few years later the department celebrated its 125th anniversary and the Historical Library was in important part of that project.
“When we started our research I went to the WHHS library and asked if they had any historical information about the WHFD. I was surprised to find that they had very little,” said Heffernan. “I spent a great deal of time in the library when I attended WHHS and it has always held a special place in my heart. We had a group that always sat at our own table and it was sort of our own little “Algonquin Round Table.” Our current Police Chief, John Karajanis, had his own seat at the table. We have many fond memories of those times and speak of them often. Now that the book has been published in hard cover, we thought it only fitting that the WHHS library received a few copies.”
The 100-page book features 125 years of department history as well as ads from local businesses both past and present. The committee had a little fun going through some old program books and recreating ads from many local businesses from days gone by. It also has sections on each of our volunteer companies and their origins including the James Graham Hook & Ladder who disbanded in 1902. Every section includes photos from the department’s archives.
Books are still available for purchase. The cost is $25 per book and you can obtain them by contacting Lt. William Heffernan at the West Haven Fire Department (203) 937-3710 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.