The West Hartford Fire Department hosted a badge-pinning ceremony on December 16, welcoming a new fire marshal and fire engineer, and pinning the eight recent graduates of Connecticut Fire Academy.
By Ronni Newton
In a ceremony Thursday in the City Hall auditorium, the West Hartford Fire Department welcomed a new Fire Marshal and Fire Engineer, and the eight Connecticut Fire graduates on December 10 Academy have officially received their badges.
Deputy Chief Mike Sinsigalli, who also serves as fire marshal, is retiring this month and Robert Grimaldi has been appointed the department’s new fire marshal.
Grimaldi was hired in November 2019 as Deputy Fire Marshal after nearly three decades of service with the Bristol Fire Department, and is ’eminently qualified’ to lead the Office of the Fire Marshal, Chief Greg said. Priest.
“It is not uncommon for friendly jokes between our operations division and the Marshal’s office with jokes that firefighters want to blow candles on birthday cakes to prevent fires and various versions of this joke,” Priest said. “Basically, however, every division, no matter how small or how many people affected, relies on the other to perform essential functions in our primary mission of protecting the citizens of West Hartford.”
Sinsigalli has worked in the department for 22 years, Priest said. âHe is literally considered a subject matter expert in his field and has skillfully navigated a growing city while facing many challenges. He is an outcast in the operations division who prevented many fires that they were then unable to fight. “
Grimaldi was sworn in to his new post Thursday by Mayor Shari Cantor.
Jeremiah Bassett, who was previously a mechanic in the West Hartford Public Works Department, was also officially sworn in on Thursday for his role as a fire mechanic.
Bassett has already worked hard in his new role, and Deputy Chief O’Callaghan praised him for getting things done amid so many challenges, including some out-of-stock parts.
âI thought, man, this guy is cool under pressure,â O’Callaghan said. “Well, I just found out that Jeremiah is a hockey coach and is in charge of rounding up 60 little hockey players, which is probably the equivalent of trying to round up five firefighters near an ice cream bar.”
The eight recruits who received their badges were among 10 new recruits welcomed by the West Hartford Fire Department on August 31. Connecticut Fire Academy Class 68 training program with recruits from Bridgeport, Bristol, Easton, East Hartford, East Haven, Fairfield, Greenwich Manchester, Middletown, Naugatuck, New London, North Haven, Ridgefield, Southington , Torrington, West Haven, Willimantic and Wilton.
Priest said the entire West Hartford group received high praise at the Fire Academy, but also acknowledged some notable accomplishments from the recruit training experience, including that Firefighter Vince Avarista was one of two recruits Fire Academy’s class of 70 to win the prestigious “Instructors Award” and firefighter Derek McDermott was chosen by his peers to be the class platoon leader.
Firefighter Kristen Tyrseck was part of the honor guard at the graduation ceremony, and firefighters Audrey Ozga and Pierre Descollines were featured in a recruiting video promoting diversity.
The Connecticut Fire Academy’s training program is extremely rigorous, said O’Callaghan, and includes âlong runs during the extreme heat and freezing cold. Run laps until you feel dizzy. Go through obstacles in full firefighter gear, soaked in sweat, on your stomach, back, knees or any part of the body you have to go through. You are under a microscope and constantly judged while also being nostalgic and lonely.
âSome say the CFA is too hard and some difficult parts are unnecessary. I do not agree. I believe that’s where we find our next great leaders going through stress, chaos, failure and hardship, âsaid O’Callaghan.
When he saw the first reports from the eight new hires, O’Callaghan said he was so proud. He told them in an email – the only way he was able to communicate with them during the training – telling them that they were connected with a single word: courage. “You all have it and demonstrate your ownership of this word every day …”
Priest extended his congratulations and said it was a great community, a great team and that he had high expectations. âThe four cornerstones of the Chief’s Challenge coin are duty, pride, commitment and excellence. They are good guides for a successful career. Be up to everyone. Do your best and represent the patch well.
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