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August 20, 2019
Captain's Corner 2007 Volume 8
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 this month is a group shot of members of Group 2 grabbing a breather after a tough Third Alarm on June 16, 1988. The fire was in a vacant 2 1/2 story dwelling at 55 Hudson Street. The home was undergoing renovations after a working fire in May of 1987. The fire started in the basement, apparently from the spontaneous combustion of oily rags, and spread all the way up to the attic.
Rear row (l-r): John Mitchell (now battling health problems and we wish him all the best), Jack Beckwith (now assigned to E1, Gr1), Steve Longo (now a Lt. L2, Gr.2), John Cataldo (retired on 1/20/2000).
Front row (l-r): Pat Sullivan III (recently promoted to District Chief Gr.3), Bob MacLaughlin (recently promoted to Lt. & assigned to FP), Frank Sharpe (now assigned to T1, Gr.3), John Byrne (now a Lt. E2, Gr4) and Kenny Parlee (retired on 6/30/2002).

Photo #2 for this issue is a group shot of Ladder Three, Group 2 taken in 1995. (l-r) Bob Murphy, Sly Moore and Captain Jim Hodnett. Bobby Murphy retired in 2000 and passed away on August 9, 2006. Sly Moore is still assigned to Ladder 3, Group 2. Jim Hodnett is now a Deputy Chief and presently assigned to Group 1.
Photo #3 this issue is titled "GOT MILK?"  Ff George Greene is on the left and Ff Bill Bannister on the right. They were drinking milk to counteract being exposed to chlorine gas during an incident on Bonair Street in 1948. George Greene was appointed in 1947 and retired in 1968. He passed away on February 23, 1980. Bill Bannister joined the SFD in 1942 and retired in 1972. Bill passed away on July 28, 1996.
Photo #4 is a shot of the Chief's Office taken in 1984. From l-r are: Captain Charlie Siciliano (Training), Lt. Larry Bartlett, Acting Chief William Fitzgerald and Secretary Mary Henkle. Charlie Siciliano was appointed in 1961 and promoted to District Chief in 1985. Charlie retired in 1992. Larry Bartlett was appointed in 1953 and promoted to Lt. in 1961. Larry retired in 1985 and passed away on August 1, 1997. Bill Fitzgerald was appointed in 1947 and retired as Acting Chief on January 31, 1987. Mary Henkle was appointed in 1971 and retired in 1998. (Jim Swanton photo)
Photo #5 is a shot of Lt. Arthur "Buddy" Ross sharpening his pool skills between alarms at the Lowell Street station. Lt. John McKenzie is looking on. Buddy Ross was appointed in 1959 and promoted to Lt. in 1975. He retired in 1990 and passed away on April 13, 1995. John McKenzie was appointed in 1947 and promoted to Lt. in 1963. John retired in 1977 and passed away on October 20, 2000.  
The last one for this issue is a photo of Ff Wally McLean of Ladder 4 operating at a Second Alarm at 137 Washington Street on July 12, 1978. The two story building was heavily involved. Superior Auto Parts occupied the first floor with the second used for carpet storage. Cataldo Ambulance now occupies the building. Wally was appointed in 1977 and promoted to Lt. in 1989. He is currently assigned to E3, Gr.1.
The first alarm for the fire came in at 2101 hours. Little did they know it at the time but after mopping up this one they'd be at a Third Alarm at 0100 hours at the Weene Sign Co. on Winslow Avenue!
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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