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August 20, 2019
Captain's Corner 2007 Volume 7
Updated On: Mar 02, 2008

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 Engine 4's 1954 Robinson hose wagon in front of quarters at Highland Avenue & Grove Street. The driver is John Carli and the officer is Lt. Allyn Leavis. John Carli was appointed in 1943 and retired in 1973. John passed away on February 11, 2002. Allyn Leavis was appointed in 1940, promoted to Lt. in 1949 and retired in 1974. Allyn passed away on December 21, 1992.

Photo #2 shows Firefighters Bill Holley (driver) and Mike O'Neil with Engine 4's 1923 Seagrave pump. Bill Holley was appointed in 1930 and retired in 1961. Bill passed away on January 25, 1963. Mike O'Neil was appointed in 1945 and retired in 1969. Mike passed away on May 13, 1983.

Photo #3 is a shot of Engine Two's horse drawn steamer coming up Cross Street East toward Broadway. In the background are the brick rowhouses just in from Broadway which are still there today. Behind them was a Baptist Church which in more recent years was occupied by the General Insulation Co. and is now vacant and posted as an unsafe structure.

Photo #4 is of Engine Two going to work at a Second Alarm at 4 Washington Avenue on February 19, 1989. Group 4 had the fire which fully engulfed an occupied two story dwelling. The building was a total loss and was torn down. It's since been replaced and the vacant field Engine Two was in is now the site of several townhouses. (Jim Powers photo)

Photo #5 is a shot of Ladder 4 heading out of its Highland Avenue quarters on a run. The driver is Frank Moran and the officer is "Senior Man" Harold MacDonald. Frank was appointed in 1954 and retired in 1991. Harold was appointed in 1949 and retired in 1980. Harold passed away on December 11, 1988.  

Photo #6 and the final one for this issue is a shot of members of the old Headquarters on Medford Street enjoying a game of cribbage in 1946. From left to right are Harold Butler, Lt. James Gillooly, Ed Cutting, Albert Harmon, John McPhee, Tom Deegan and John J. Quinlan. Harold Butler was appointed in 1908 and retired in 1947. Harold passed away on September 30, 1955. James Gillooly was appointed in 1920, promoted to Lt. in 1935 and to Captain in 1949. He retired in 1957 and passed away on March 2, 1962. Ed Cutting was appointed in 1943 and retired in 1975. Ed passed away on June 20, 1997. Al Harmon was appointed in 1934 and promoted to Lt. in 1948. He retired in 1962 and passed away on August 27, 1977. John McPhee was appointed in 1939 and retired in 1956. John passed away on January 18, 1961. Tom Deegan was appointed to the call force in 1903 and joined the permanent force in 1907. He retired in 1946 and passed away on September 22, 1953. John J. Quinlan was appointed in 1936 and promoted to Lt. in 1948. He retired in 1963 and passed away on September 11, 1964.



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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