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8/17/2017 - Mayor Ganim, Bridgeport Fire Chief Thode, The Leary Firefighters Foundation Unveil Bridgeport’s New Fire Safety Truck

Mayor Joseph P. Ganim
Bridgeport, CT

For Immediate Release
August 17, 2017




BRIDGEPORT, CT- Mayor Joe Ganim joined Bridgeport Fire Chief Richard Thode and officials from actor Denis Leary’s charity, The Leary Firefighters Foundation today to unveil Bridgeport’s new Fire Safety Truck. The Fire Safety Truck will be operated by Bridgeport’s Fire Safety Officer (SO) who is responsible for the safety of first responders. The Fire Safety Truck is replacing the previous SO vehicle, which was unreliable and ill-suited for the task. Chief Thode successfully spearheaded this effort to secure the donated vehicle through The Leary Firefighters Foundation’s grant making process.

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 appreciate of The Leary 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.”

In 2010, Bridgeport Firefighters Steve Velasquez and Mitch Baik were killed in a fire. As a result of this tragedy, the Fire Department became dedicated to Firefighter Safety. One of the changes that came out of the tragedy was the creation of a round-the-clock Safety/Training Officer position. This individual serves as the shift training officer and responds to all significant emergencies as the dedicated Safety Officer. While at a fire or rescue, the SO looks out for safety hazards such as collapse, falling wires and holes in floors. Immediately after the fire, the SO provides "rehab" for members with water and sports drinks. The SO also carries air meters to monitor conditions in fires to let the members know when it is safe to remove their face pieces on their air-packs. The extra lighting and traffic control devices provided by the SO prevents the firefighters from being hit by cars while operating on roads and highways. When not at the scene of a fire or emergency, the SO is the Training Officer for the shift. He conducts classes and training evolutions. 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.

The vehicle is a 2017 Ford F-350, 4-wheel drive, Heavy Duty Pickup truck. The back is enclosed with a cap; in the enclosed area is a heavy duty slide out tray with assorted safety equipment. The rear seats were removed; on one side is a rack for the SO's turnout gear and on the other side is a series of trays and cabinets. The SO is responsible for restocking fire companies with medical equipment at any time of day or night. For example, if an Engine company responds to an overdose and uses all of their Narcan, which is a frequent occurrence, the SO is expected to be able to immediately replenish their supply onsite. The SO also investigates all accidents and injuries.

The Leary Firefighters Foundation was founded by actor Denis Leary in 2000 in response to the 1999 Cold Storage Warehouse fire tragedy in his native Worcester, Massachusetts, which killed six firefighters, including his cousin. The Leary Firefighters Foundation provides funding and resources for fire departments to acquire the best available equipment, technology, and training necessary for the health and safety of firefighters and in turn, the public they serve. To date, The Leary Firefighters Foundation has raised more than $10 million for first responders allowing it to fulfill critical needs for departments, such as a High-Rise Simulator and Mobile Command Center Vehicle for the FDNY, a tactical command vehicle and a high-speed rescue boat for the Boston Fire Department, and 15 rescue boats and the rebuilding of 11 firehouses for the New Orleans Fire Department after Hurricane Katrina. For more information on the Foundation, visit