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Thread: Connecticut Firefighter Killed in Accident

  1. #1
    Moderator patries's Avatar
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    Connecticut Firefighter Killed in Accident

    Eager to be a part of the firefighting effort, a South Killingly (CT) Fire Department volunteer was killed in an accident when his truck left the road and hit a tree and a utility pole, Sunday evening.

    Richard Cusson, 32, arrived at the scene of a vacant lumberyard fire where his department was on hotspot detail. Without his pager he had been unaware of the fire call. After talking with Chief William Auclair, he decided to return to the station to get his gear.

    Chief Auclair said he heard the accident dispatch but kept his crew on the scene while responding himself along with the Sterling Fire Department covering their station. "I was first on the scene and my heart went into my throat," he said.

    Like many volunteer departments, South Killingly is made up of families. Chief Auclair said when you called out the name Cusson, any of six people might answer. Richard was a four-year veteran medical response technician working on his Firefighter 1 certification. His father Edmond Sr. is the fire police captain. His brother Edmond Jr. is the assistant chief. A sister-in-law, niece and nephew are also all involved with the department.

    Cusson, who was single, worked as a computer technician, belonged to pool leagues and never liked to have his picture taken according to Chief Auclair. "He was a real happy-go-lucky guy," he said.

    Chief Auclair said they stress the importance of safe driving while responding in personal vehicles. "This is going to take months, years, and we may never get over it," he said.

    This was the first line of duty death since the department was established in 1956. There are 36 members on the roster.

  2. #2
    Moderator patries's Avatar
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    Connecticut Firefighter Killed Responding to Fire

    A serious blaze in a Danielson lumberyard is suspected to be arson.

    DANIELSON -- Tragedy struck the South Killingly Fire Department Sunday night, when a suspected arson involving a vacant Danielson lumberyard led to the death of one of its members. Firefighter Richard Cusson, 32, of 231 Slater Hill Road, Dayville, was driving through town at about 6 p.m. Sunday when he spotted department members and apparatus south of the fire scene.

    South Killingly Fire Chief William Auclair said Cusson apparently did not have his pager and was unaware a blaze had ravaged a large section of the former Tripp Lumber Co. at the corner of Furnace and Cottage streets.

    "He (Cusson) was returning to the fire station to get his firefighting gear when the accident occurred on Westcott Road," Auclair said.

    According to Auclair, Cusson's Ford Ranger 4-by-4 pickup went off the road a short distance east of the intersection of Mashentuck Road, slamming into a utility pole and a tree.

    Auclair said Cusson apparently was ejected from the vehicle.

    "I recognized the truck as soon as I got there," said Auclair, who was the first firefighter to reach the scene. He said he checked Cusson's vital signs, but was unable to find any sign of life.

    "This is tough, really gut-wrenching," a visibly shaken Auclair said later upon returning to the fire. "When it's one of your own firefighters, it really hits home."

    Auclair said Cusson had been a member of the department for about three years.

    State police still were working on the accident and other incidents Sunday night and had no additional information by late Sunday.

    Afternoon blaze

    Danielson Fire Chief Richard Levola said the fire apparently started shortly before 5 p.m. in a barrel in one of several connected storage buildings lining the western side of the lumberyard, adjacent to the Providence & Worcester Railroad tracks.

    "It was called in as a trash fire," Levola said. "But then something caused the fire to erupt and it quickly spread in both directions."

    The fire quickly consumed several buildings before jumping to a large warehouse at the south end of the complex.

    That building was gutted and a demolition company was called in after the fire was brought under control to knock the building down.

    "We need to demolish it so it won't create a safety hazard," Fire Marshal Joseph Roy said.

    The only building left unscathed was the large, two-story office and showroom at the intersection of Cottage and Furnace streets.

    A cement firewall prevented the fire from spreading to that building, Levola said.

    Firefighters from East Brooklyn, Dayville, South Killingly and Williamsville (Rogers) assisted Danielson firefighters. No injuries were reported at the scene.

    Several detectives from the state police Eastern District Major Crime Squad, along with investigators from the State Fire Marshal's Bureau were working with local officials in the fire investigation.

    Fire officials said one unidentified person was arrested at the scene after reportedly disobeying an order from a trooper to move back. Police had no details Sunday night.

    Roy said investigators hope to determine if the fire was set and, if so, if it was the work of a serial arsonist who torched several vacant buildings in Killingly and Pomfret in late December and early this year.

    The arsonist has not struck since he nearly was apprehended by state police after attempting to ignite a shed near Quinebaug Valley Community College.

    Investigators are also looking at the possibility the fire could have been started by youths living in the mostly low- to moderate-income neighborhood nearby.

    Levola lauded the work of his department and the mutual aid companies. "The firefighters all worked together very closely and very well," the chief said.

    Members of the Danielson Fire Auxiliary provided refreshments for firefighters who battled the heat as well as the fire. Domino's Pizza also sent several pizzas for the fire crews.

    Smoke, then flames

    Meanwhile, witnesses on both sides of Furnace Street reported heavy smoke at first, then -- according to some -- there was an explosion and, shortly thereafter, high, raging flames.

    Residents in the neighborhood indicated firefighters told them there may have been an old propane tank on the vacant site.

    Marcy Constantino, 25, lives in an apartment building adjacent to the A.D. Tripp site. She was one of the first witnesses to the fire.

    "I was in my bedroom doing my nails and my upstairs neighbor screamed my name and said, 'Come and look at the smoke,'" Constantino said.

    Constantino, who has lived in Danielson about a year, went in and grabbed a disposable camera to take some shots.

    "The roof started to smoke a lot. We were just awestruck," she said. "And then the flames. I got my camera and took pictures of the fire. The flames were huge. Oh my gosh, the flames were past those trees."

    She said she feared the flames could have leaped over a stone wall, through some trees and onto her apartment building.

    "We were scared, because we were so close," Constantino said. "We heard pops and booms. We kept running back because we could feel the heat too."

    Terri Banks, who lives across the street from the old lumberyard, called it a "firestorm."

    "It was almost like a firestorm," Banks said. "At first, you could only see smoke. You couldn't really see anything. Then, it erupted. It was like a firestorm."

    Meanwhile, neighborhood resident Sean Naulty observed the fire on the north end of the site. He, too, arrived on the scene shortly before firefighters arrived.

    "We were feeding the baby and my mother said there was smoke," Naulty said, adding firefighters were quick to arrive. "The came out of the woodwork, the fire departments. Those guys were awesome."

  3. #3
    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
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    Cusson, Richard Alan

    Age: 32
    Rank: Firefighter Trainee/MRT
    Status: Volunteer
    Incident Date: 06/30/2002
    Incident Time: 18:13
    Death Date: 06/30/2002

    Cause of Death: Struck By/Contact with Object
    Nature of Death: Internal Trauma
    Emergency Duty: Yes
    Duty Type: Responding/Returning from Alarm
    Activity Type: Driving/Riding Personal Vehicle
    Fixed Prop. Use: Street/Road

    Fire Dept. Info:
    South Killingly Fire Department
    803 Providence Pike
    Danielson, Connecticut 06239
    Chief: William Auclair

    Initial Summary:
    Firefighter Cusson was killed while driving to the South Killingly firehouse to get his gear when he lost control of his privately owned vehicle and broadsided a telephone pole. Funeral: Calling hours will be Tuesday July 2 from 1400-1600 and 1900-2100 at Tillinghast Funeral Home, 433 Main St. Danielson. CT. Procession will be leaving Tillinghast Funeral Home Wed. July 3 at 1000 hrs. to proceed to burial site of Sacred Heart Cemetery in Webster, MA. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to: South Killingly Fire Company, In Memory of Richard Cusson, 803 Providence Pike, Danielson, CT. 06239


    http://www.usfa.fema.gov/application....cfm?p_id=1297

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