A Look Back at Beacon Hose’s Last Decade

We’ve reached the end of our 12th full decade at Beacon Hose — these last 10 years have been one hell of a ride! We chose 15 photos that tell some of the most important and memorable times of the 2010s at Beacon Hose.

There have been big-time fires. We’ve responded to natural disasters — in more ways than one. Our members have enjoyed statewide recognition. We’ve said goodbye to some of our dearest men. We’ve enjoyed good times, added new apparatuses, and have continued our role as the centerpiece of our community.

Scroll through the 15 pictures to see some of our most significant times of the decade. Thanks to all of you for your support throughout the last 10 years (and beyond) — here’s to a wonderful new decade!

Our most memorable fire of the decade came this past summer when the former meatpacking warehouse atop Rimmon Hill went up in flames in the middle of the night Aug. 29. Dozens of firefighters from Beacon Hose and surrounding towns battled the fire from about 2:30 a.m. until the late morning hours, utilizing a mutual-aid tanker shuttle that flowed more than 250,000 gallons of water.
On Halloween 2017, a home on Kaleas Way was severely damaged by this fire, which required mutual aid from several surrounding communities.
In the middle of the night in late August 2016, a vacant home on Beacon Valley Road was fully involved when units arrived. The home was later demolished.
Blackberry Hill was the site of several major emergency responses throughout the decade. Beacon Hose made a great stop when arriving at a garage fire in April 2017 — although the garage was a total loss, Beacon Hose contained the fire from spreading to the nearby house.
In 2013, another home on Blackberry Hill Road went ablaze, causing two firefighters to suffer minor injuries. The home was later demolished.

Other memorable emergency responses throughout the decade included a 2014 save of a drowning child and a 2018 save of a man in cardiac arrest using our new LUCAS device.

In addition to fires and thousands of EMS calls, Beacon Hose also dealt with a number of natural disasters throughout the decade — Hurricane Irene, Superstorm Sandy, snowstorms and blizzards, and even a tornado in May 2018.

The F-1 tornado struck Beacon Falls at about 5 p.m. on May 15 — nearly going right over the top of Engine 3 on Railroad Avenue. The storm ripped through town and caused extensive damage to trees, wires, and structures, although we were fortunate that no residents suffered major medical issues. Beacon Hose served as the Emergency Operations Center for several days as we responded to more than 120 emergency calls, including more than 60 in the few hours after the tornado.
Emergency response wasn’t the only way Beacon Hose reacted to natural disasters. Surely you remember the crazy few days of our Hurricane Harvey donation drive — in just about 30 hours, the community poured in more than $250,000 worth of donations to be transported to the Greater Houston area in early September 2017. Five Beacon Hose members and two members from Citizens’ Engine Co. No. 2 took personal time to drive the donations to Texas, where everything from clothes to baby formula to pet food was distributed in Galena Park, Houston, Katy, and Port Arthur, Texas.
There was plenty of recognition to go around throughout the decade. Beacon Hose was host to some of that recognition when we teamed up with Citizens’ Engine Co. No. 2 to host the Connecticut State Firefighters’ Association Convention Parade in September 2015. Leading the parade was the pride of our department, our 1929 Seagrave Suburbanite engine driven by Bob Messner and Ted Smith.
Beacon Hose Past Chief Ted Smith became the first member of our department to earn enshrinement in the Connecticut State Firefighters’ Association Hall of Fame. When he was inducted at the Aqua Turf in April 2018, he received the biggest standing ovation of any recipient, proving his importance not just to us at Beacon Hose, but throughout the state firefighting community. He continues to contribute to Beacon Hose and the Valley Fire Chiefs Regional Training School.
Beacon Hose Past Chief Jim Trzaski was also the recipient of a statewide honor in September 2017 when he was named the Connecticut State Firefighters’ Association’s Firefighter of the Year. Trzaski served as our chief from 2014-17, helping progress our company in a number of ways while also remaining involved as an instructor throughout the state.
We dealt with our share of sadness throughout the decade, too. In March 2010, Past Assistant Chief Kevin Swan suffered a heart attack while responding to a call and joined the short list of line-of-duty deaths at Beacon Hose. Swan was laid to rest with full honors, including a final ride on our 1929 Seagrave through Naugatuck and Beacon Falls.
There was one other funeral procession with our 1929 Seagrave in Beacon Falls this decade — we helped lay Past Chief Roger Brennan to rest in January 2014. Brennan was a member of Beacon Hose for nearly 57 years and also served 15 years as our town’s fire marshal. He, Swan, and their good friend Rinky DelVecchio — another past chief of Beacon Hose — were among the men we lost throughout the decade and continue to remember.
Before the passing of Robert Butz — the son of our first foreman, George Butz — in 2015, Robert and his family made an 800-mile journey from their home in Indiana to visit Beacon Hose at our 2011 parade. The purpose of the 94-year-old’s journey to Beacon Falls was to return the original fire horn awarded by the company to his father upon his retirement as foreman in 1907. We continue to showcase that memento proudly in one of our display cases.

Beacon Hose continued to grow throughout the decade. Among our equipment acquisitions were a 2012 Dodge ambulance (BH-7) and a 2017 Pierce Ascendant quint ladder truck (Truck 6), as well as a host of other vehicles and equipment.

Truck 6 has now been in service for more than two years and was a key asset at the Rimmon Hill warehouse fire earlier this summer. The 2020s will bring more new apparatus to Beacon Hose, including a replacement for BH-6 that is scheduled for delivery early in the year.

Finally, we want to remember all the awesome events we’ve hosted throughout the last decade.

Surely you’ve been at one of our carnivals, which have exploded over the last few years to become one of the most exciting and successful events anywhere in the Valley.

We’ve also hosted cornhole tournaments, Octoberfests, Meat-Os, holiday events, Fire Prevention Open Houses, and so much more. Every bit of the proceeds from our fundraisers go back to benefit our community and/or our roster of dedicated volunteers.

We thank our neighbors and friends for your continued support of everything we do here at Beacon Hose. We’re looking forward to many more decades to come!

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