On Thursday, August 17th, The Leary Firefighters Foundation (LFF) joined City of Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim and Bridgeport Fire Chief Richard Thode to unveil the new Fire Safety Truck donated by the Foundation. LFF Board member and FDNY Battalion Chief Dave Morkal represented the Foundation at the event.
In 2010, Bridgeport Firefighters Steve Velasquez and Mitch Baik were killed in a fire. One of the changes that came out of the tragedy was the creation of a round-the-clock Fire Safety Officer (SO) position. This individual serves as the shift training officer and responds to all significant emergencies as the dedicated Safety Officer. The Fire Safety Truck is replacing the previous SO vehicle, which was unreliable and ill-suited for the task. Bridgeport is the first Fire Department in the State of Connecticut to have a Safety Officer on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Bridgeport Chief Richard Thode said, “This piece of equipment is crucial to our operation and the safety of our members. This donation helps the City to continue to care for our first responders while we are caring for our residents. We are extremely grateful to The Leary Firefighters Foundation for their help.”
“Keeping our first responders safe is my top priority and as a City, we are so appreciative of The Leary Firefighters Foundation for supporting our effort,” said Mayor Ganim. “This grant donation is saving the City money in a time of financial restrictions and uncertainty. Most importantly, this grant and truck is saving the lives of our firefighters.”
President of The Leary Firefighters Foundation Denis Leary said, “It was evident when we spoke with Chief Thode that the Fire Safety Truck was a critical component of the Bridgeport Fire Department’s ability to do their job effectively. The Foundation is thrilled to be able to partner with Bridgeport to fulfill that need and support the safety of Bridgeport firefighters and the community they serve.”