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August 20, 2019
Captain's Corner 2008 Volume 1
Updated On: 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



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