Capt. Jim Blanchfield was elevated to deputy fire chief of the Wilton Fire Department on July 1, beginning his journey toward becoming chief when interim Chief Geoff Herald steps down on Nov. 1. Blanchfield was named to the position, which has been empty for 17 months, on June 19.
A small crowd of fire service and police personnel assembled at the firehouse Wednesday morning for the “pinning ceremony” as Herald offered a few words.
“This is a momentous occasion, both for Jim personally and for the department,” he said. “It’s a rare thing historically for somebody to start off as a volunteer, come into a career department and work his way up through the ranks and come in to a command assignment, which is what Captain, now Deputy Chief Blanchfield has done.
Rather than having firefighters staff ambulances in town, Waterford Ambulance Service personnel now will be the primary responders to emergency medical situations, with help from qualified firefighters if necessary.
Effective Wednesday, the town has begun contracting WAS for its emergency medical needs, in a departure from its previous agreement with the service. The change is mainly internal, and the decision was codified by the town earlier this year. First Selectman Rob Brule, Fire Services Director Bruce Miller and WAS EMS Manager Charles Bynum promised residents that little would fundamentally change in the town’s emergency services coverage.
“In the last 10 years, Waterford Ambulance was depending on our guys to staff, along with their volunteers, the ambulance,” Miller said.
The Day - Metered Site
The Danbury area saw more than an hour of on-and-off rain thanks to a string of thunderstorms Wednesday night.
The rain began to fall around 5 p.m., but heavy rains didn’t come in full force until around 7 p.m., bringing thunder, lightning and winds. The inclement weather continued for roughly an hour, dropping over an inch of rainfall in some areas.
In Danbury, first responders reported flooding in the area of Main Street and Elmwood Place, trapping multiple vehicles in the high waters, according to initial dispatch reports around 8 p.m.
Around 8:20 p.m., units responded to the area of Great Plain Road and Stadley Rough Road for a report of wires down. Arriving units reported that a tree limb had knocked down apparent main power lines. A crew from the power company was called to respond.
A Stamford nonprofit is reaching out to thank local front-line workers and first responders.
New Neighborhoods is currently providing housing for more than 750 tenants in Fairfield County. Some buildings are specifically for seniors, family housing and veterans.
President and CEO William Healy says supporting them in a hard time has meant getting creative.
"The food bank was running low in a lot of different areas and a lot of items that we were looking for," said Healy. "We ordered an entire truckload from Texas and had it shipped up."
Healy says his staff aren't the only ones working hard to keep their clients safe, so they wanted to do something for front-line workers.
Director of Property Management Jerome Floyd wanted to thank first responders and hospital workers with a free lunch.
News 12 Connecticut
Crews responded to several emergency calls for a fire and reports of smoke and gas odors in Wethersfield.
The Wethersfield Volunteer Fire Department first responded to a report of smoke coming from the roof of a home on Wolcott Hill Road and found a structure fire.
A Facebook post from the fire department said residents were evacuated and firefighters were attacking fire on the third floor and in the attic.
Fire departments from Berlin and Cromwell were called in to cover the station to help Wethersfield crews.
Then there was a call about a gas odor at Price Rite on the Silas Deane Highway and Glastonbury crews responded to that call.
Then there was a report of smoke at Stop & Shop on the Berlin Turnpike and the Glastonbury Fire Department responded to that call too.
WVIT-TV NBC 30 West Hartford
A discarded cigarette may have been the cause of a fire that damaged the front of a Walgreens store over the weekend, according to fire officials. Deputy Chief Thomas F. Zack said firefighters were called to the store, located on East Putnam Avenue, after a garbage can caught fire Saturday morning.
The can was located just outside the store's main entrance. According to Zack, a manager at the store immediately called 911 after using a fire extinguished on the trash can blaze.
Crews arrived and further extinguished the fire, which caused some damage to the front of the building. Firefighters also opened up the front wall to make sure the fire did not extend any further into the building.
Zack said the building suffered "little to no water damage," and there were no injuries reported by employees or customers.