Author Topic: Bridgeport, Ct. Truck 12  (Read 1757 times)

Offline BFD151

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Bridgeport, Ct. Truck 12
« on: February 15, 2017, 06:35:50 PM »
Bridgeport, Ct. had 6 ladder companies back in the 1970's. Three were combo companies before 1970. Those three combo companies         ( Ladder 10,11,12) ran with Mack city service trucks of about 1938 vintage. In 1970 Ladder 11 was expanded into a full truck company with 6 people and Ladder 10 was also upgraded in 1971. Only Ladder 12 ran with the old 1938 Mack well into the 1980's with either 1 or 2 firefighters. Finally in the late 1980's they were given a 100 foot rear mount American La France but still operated with only 2 firefighters. Here is a photo of that ladder arriving at an occupied 4 brick MD on Harral Ave. one night when all the rest of the Ladder Companies in the city were at other fires. Finally in 1991 during the administration of Mayor Mary Moran cuts were made city wide in Ladder company staffing and Ladder 12 became history.


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Bridgeport, Ct. Truck 12
« on: February 15, 2017, 06:35:50 PM »

Offline nfd2004

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Re: Bridgeport, Ct. Truck 12
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2017, 10:13:36 PM »
 One story about Bridgeport that I won't forget.

 It was maybe in the early 1980s and Bridgeport was just starting to get some of the overflow of the FDNYs arsonist. These arsonist were good at what they do. Whether it was a vacant five story brick multiple dwelling in the South Bronx or a vacant three story frame in Bridgeport, Ct, "they could get those buildings burning from top to bottom, side to side, and front to back.

 What I remember during these years of very heavy fire activity was "BFD151's father", who was a firefighter assigned to the busiest engine company (Engine Co 2) in the city, pumping lines to TWO SEPERATE JOBS. One a fire in a vacant theater (Astor Theater) and the other a fire in a vacant school (Waltersville School) just around the corner. 

Offline manhattan

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Re: Bridgeport, Ct. Truck 12
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2017, 10:42:16 PM »
nfd2004 - Any chance you might give some detail on the  two separate jobs?  Sounds like a very interesting story.

Thanks.

Offline nfd2004

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Re: Bridgeport, Ct. Truck 12
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2017, 09:18:36 AM »
nfd2004 - Any chance you might give some detail on the  two separate jobs?  Sounds like a very interesting story.

Thanks.

 "manhattan", I wasn't there that night but it certainly was the "talk of the town".

 These two separate fires occurred in an area that was experiencing some very heavy fire activity during those years. A moving van company from the area of Southern Blvd in the South Bronx had opened up a new office in this area as well. That was a clue that the same kind of people were moving in. In fact at some of the fires, BFD151 and myself would talk to the people. They were familiar with the same neighborhoods in the Bronx that we knew from buffing there.

 Throughout the city, the amount of car fires, rubbish fires etc were increasing as well. At times, just like during the FDNY War Years, there just weren't enough companies to go around. That apparently was the case the night of these two fires.

 The first fire occurred at the vacant theater. Engine 2 with BFD151's father was first due and he was the MPO. That fire in itself tied up many companies. Mutual aid from surrounding towns was very seldom used in those days.

 With many of the companies committed and operating at this fire, a civilian ran up to BFDs father and reported that old school on fire around the corner. As I remember, a few guys grabbed a 2 1/2" line and stretched from Eng 2s rig to the school fire.

 Other cities throughout Ct saw an increase in work as well during these years with Hartford and New Haven having their share of stories too. But with Bridgeport being the closest and I-95 making it an easy stop from NYC, it was just the most convenient. In addition to that, Bridgeport offered many of the social services that had been offered in NYC, along with bus transportation if needed.

 The reality is that this entire story actually began with the FDNY War Years. But spread like a cancer throughout many other cities as well. Based on the education gained from buffing the FDNY and the conditions that existed, it was pretty easy to almost "predict" what neighborhoods would be next and what buildings would burn.

 Buffing the FDNY gave many of us an education we couldn't get from a book. For many of us not only did we learn the best ways to fight fires from watching, but also much about life's social issues as well. On a much smaller scale, what went on in NYC during those days, also went on later throughout many other cities of the northeast with Bridgeport, Ct being one of the hardest hit cities of Connecticut. this condition existed pretty much from the late 70s into the entire 1980s.

 

Offline manhattan

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Re: Bridgeport, Ct. Truck 12
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2017, 12:04:23 PM »
Thanks, Bill.

Offline BFD151

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Re: Bridgeport, Ct. Truck 12
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2017, 02:58:57 PM »
That fire in the vacant school was Franklin School  on Nichols Street right along side of I 95. Waltersville School was on Stuben Street at Pembroke. The fire in the theater was on East Main Street 1/2 block from the corner of Nichols St. and hydrant spacing in Bridgeport is nothing like NYC where there are hydrants everywhere. At that time Bridgeport ran 2 piece engine companies and my Dad who recently passed was hooked up big on the hydrant sending to the theater fire when the 2nd fire came in he was already using the closest water source so he fed their supply line as well.

Offline fdny1075k

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Re: Bridgeport, Ct. Truck 12
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2017, 10:18:59 PM »
Some additional history on Truck 12. Truck 12 was one of two truck companies established in the North End of Bridgeport as the department expanded. The company was originally established as Truck 5 in 1917 at Beechmont Ave. in the Brooklawn area. In 1940 all truck companies in Bridgeport were renumbered based on the engine company they were assigned with. Thus, Truck 5, quartered with Engine 12, was renumbered Truck 12. The company was disbanded in either 1991 or 1994. They were also first due to one of the city's infamous housing projects, Beardsley Terrace.

Here's a picture of Truck 12's city service rig. I believe it's a 1938 Mack similar to the city service rigs used by Truck's 10 and 11, as BFD151 posted above.



The other truck company organized in the North End was Truck 16, organized in 1957 when Engine 16 opened on Madison Ave. Shortly thereafter, however, Truck 16 was taken out of service and became the citywide reserve truck. Prior to Truck 16, around the early twentieth century, there was talk of another truck company and firehouse planned for the East End, around the Mill Hill area. This would have most likely been Engine 13/Truck 6. However, neither the firehouse nor companies were ever organized. The next companies to be established were Engine's 14 and 15 in 1947/1948, with 16 to follow ten years later.
"I have no ambition in this world but one, and that is to be a fireman." - Edward F. Croker, Chief of Department, FDNY (1899-1911)

Offline BFD151

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Re: Bridgeport, Ct. Truck 12
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2017, 08:18:24 PM »
Bridgeport Truck 12 was closed in 1991 as a result of the city undergoing financial problems. At that time the other 5 ladder companies were staffed with an officer and 5 firefighters minimum and 6 firefighters maximum. Yes in 1987 Bridgeport was running 7 on a ladder company and 5 on an engine. I was working at Engine 10 and Ladder 10 at the time and the engine was down for repairs and a box alarm came in and all 12 of us got on the 1971 ALF rear mount ladder. Staffing in Bridgeport since 1991 (other than Quint 16) has been an officer and 3 firefighters on both engines and ladders. Only the heavy rescue has an officer and 4 firefighters. The Quint went down to the same as an engine company maybe 10 plus years ago.
When I was less than 10 years old my dad was working at Engine 16 + 9 and they had that spare 1950 ALF 85 foot Tractor Trailer aerial there. I was sitting up in the tiller seat when a box alarm came in and I jumped down to the floor thinking that truck would go with me as the tillerman. It was not manned at that time so it wasn't going anywhere. Bill Bernhard retired BFD

Offline fdhistorian

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Re: Bridgeport, Ct. Truck 12
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2017, 12:08:12 PM »
Some additional history on Truck 12. Truck 12 was one of two truck companies established in the North End of Bridgeport as the department expanded. The company was originally established as Truck 5 in 1917 at Beechmont Ave. in the Brooklawn area. In 1940 all truck companies in Bridgeport were renumbered based on the engine company they were assigned with. Thus, Truck 5, quartered with Engine 12, was renumbered Truck 12. The company was disbanded in either 1991 or 1994. They were also first due to one of the city's infamous housing projects, Beardsley Terrace.

The other truck company organized in the North End was Truck 16, organized in 1957 when Engine 16 opened on Madison Ave. Shortly thereafter, however, Truck 16 was taken out of service and became the citywide reserve truck. Prior to Truck 16, around the early twentieth century, there was talk of another truck company and firehouse planned for the East End, around the Mill Hill area. This would have most likely been Engine 13/Truck 6. However, neither the firehouse nor companies were ever organized. The next companies to be established were Engine's 14 and 15 in 1947/1948, with 16 to follow ten years later.

Ladder 10 was organized March 12, 1940, just prior to the renumbering of Ladder companies that happened July 21, 1940.  They would have been original Ladder 6 for that 4 month period, if at all.

For its very brief existence, Truck 16 may not have been an actual staffed company, but a combination with Engine 16.

Engine 15 was organized in 1947 from Squad 6 which had been organized a year earlier.