In 2017, Haddam Volunteer Fire Company responded to a total of 475 calls for emergency services.

Of these:

332 involved emergency medical service, motor vehicle accidents and rescues;
22 fires;
22 non-fire hazardous conditions;
38 good-intent calls
20 service calls
41 false alarms or alarms cancelled-in-route

The company’s top responders were Peter Brown with 184 calls; Lt. Tony Lafo with 182 calls and Probationary Member EJ Adametz with 173 calls.

The company currently has 53 active members. In 2017, the company lost seven members and welcomed nine new members.

The Junior Division currently has six members, three of which joined in 2017. Chief Becky Durinick, completed the Introduction to the Fire Service course at the Connecticut Fire Academy in July.

Highlights of 2017:

HVFC welcomed a new engine to its fleet in April.
It replaces a 1991 American LaFrance and should serve the Town of Haddam for the next 20 years. Haddam’s Engine 6-13 was built by E-One in 2016 and includes a 2,000 gallons-per-minute (gpm) Waterous top-mount pump and a Waterous One-Step Compressed Air Foam System (CAFS). CAFS is used in firefighting to deliver fire retardant foam to extinguish a fire. The engine carries 1,000 gallons of water, 2,000 feet of 5-inch supply hose, and 30 gallons of foam. It holds a driver and five passengers and also hauls two Hurst tools to emergency scenes.

After three years of designing and building a training facility on Station One’s grounds, the structure was finally completed in 2017. HVFC has already used the facility multiple times for training purposes. Chester Hose Company also trained in the building.

In October, HVFC celebrated Fire Prevention Week with more than 200 children at Young Horizons Day Care, Cougar Cubs Day Care, Haddam Co-Op, Burr Elementary School and Haddam Elementary School. Members stressed the 2017 Fire Prevention Theme, “Every Second Counts, Plan Two Ways Out!”

Members of HVFC provided more than 40 hours of fire standby protection at the 98th annual Durham Fair in September. Crews provided basic life support care to injured patients and transported patients to an onsite field hospital. On Sept. 24, members assisted Public Safety, Durham Fire and Durham EMS with staffing a cooling station when temperatures surpassed 90 degrees. In addition, every hour, volunteers walked the fairgrounds looking for any safety hazards.

Several Haddam Volunteer Fire Company and Westbrook Fire Department members traveled to Rockport, Mass. over the 4th of July holiday. Members attended a firefighters' picnic and the annual Rockport Firemens Association’s annual 4th of July parade. Haddam Probationary Member Zachary Ouellette walked in the parade with fellow firefighters from Westbrook and Rockport. HVFC has participated in the traditional Rockport parade for more than 20 years.

On Veteran’s Day, HVFC celebrated its 10 veteran and active military servicemen and women including Mike Sapia, Ron Annino, Rick Annino, Malcolm Meyer, Joshua Meyer, Nate Meyer, Doug Pierce, Scott Kuchyt, Bob Kadrle and Becky Durinick.

HVFC named former Haddam Resident State Trooper Jim Connelly as an Honorary Member of the fire company. Connelly served the Town of Haddam for 17 years before retiring in October 2016 and worked along side HVFC at hundreds of incidents.

HVFC welcomed more than 120 local children to the company’s Annual Children’s Christmas Party on Dec. 16. Each child received a gift from Santa.

n March, the HVFC Junior Division purchased new helmets. The cost of these helmets was $1,800 which was raised through pasta dinner and car wash fundraisers. In December, the Junior Division raised $461 during a fill-the-boot drive and donated the funds to the Patsy Kamercia Memorial Scholarship at HKHS.

February 2017 marked the 30-year anniversary of the loss of Firefighter John Bertolini, the company’s only line of duty death since the company was founded in 1930. On Feb. 15, 1987, HVFC was dispatched to a structure fire. John Bertolini was riding on the tanker 2-13. After a few hours, the tanker was returned back to the firehouse while the rest of the crew performed salvage and overhaul. At the firehouse, John complained that he was not feeling well, describing flu-like symptoms and went home to rest. Within a half hour, HVFC would be dispatched to John’s house. He died in the hospital at the age of 39.


MAJOR INCIDENTS

Three children and five pets survived a structure fire Feb. 6 on Country Walk in Higganum. At 10:30 a.m., HVFC and six mutual aid companies were dispatched to the two-story home. Upon arrival, firefighters encountered flames coming from the home’s front porch and first-floor roof. The fire was likely caused from a heater being too close to combustible material. Firefighters rescued two cats from the home’s basement, and rescued two pet bunnies from the home.

On June 11, Haddam Volunteer Fire Company was dispatched to Haddam Meadows State Park to search for a missing 17-year-old teen in the Connecticut River. The teen had allegedly jumped into the water to help his sister, who was swept away by the current near the park’s sandbar. He did not resurface.After scouring the river for about five hours, the search was called off. Operations resumed at 9 a.m. June 12. On June 13, DEEP discovered the teen’s body shortly before noon, south of Haddam Island.

On July 23, Haddam Volunteer Fire Company responded to a reported basement fire on Saybrook Road near High Street and Landing Road. The initial responding crew found a working basement fire extending to the first floor and deployed the company’s new compressed air foam system (CAFS) line from Engine 6-13. While using this system, firefighters knocked the fire down in less than 15 minutes, although extensive overhaul was needed. The damage was contained to the basement and one room located above the fire.

On July 31, crews responded as mutual aid to the Maromas section of Middletown for a brush fire measuring approximately two acres in size. Haddam provided a tanker, a forestry truck, an all-terrain vehicle and manpower. The fire was accessed via a logging road near the power line trail on Brooks Road. Crews from Middletown South Fire District, Westfield Fire Department and HVFC worked to contain and extinguish the fire. Haddam's Tanker 2-13 provided a water supply fill site for the brush fire apparatus.

Haddam Volunteer Fire Company is seeking new members to join the ranks as Firefighter and Fire Police. No experience is necessary and all training is provided. For more information visit haddamfire.com or email membership@haddamfire.org.