Branford Deputy Chief Ronald R. Mullen died last night when he walked onto an Amtrak railroad track and was struck by an oncoming Shoreline East passenger train near Pleasant Point Road in Pine Orchard.
Mullen, who was 55, served with the Branford Fire Department for nearly four decades and was considered one of the best arson investigators in the state. He gave key testimony recently at the Kathy Hardy arson-murder trial in Hartford, testimony that helped to win a conviction of Hardy’s murderer. Mullen’s father was a former fire chief in the department.
Amtrak police, who are in charge of the investigation, were putting together the pieces of the case today. Amtrak investigators found Mullen’s wallet near the scene, which is how they learned his identity.
Police and fire officials who were at the scene last night were not able to identify Mullen and were stunned to learn this morning that he was the one killed.
Mullen served as interim deputy chief during the transition from former Fire Chief Jack Ahern to the current Fire Chief Thomas Mahoney.