Kevin Bell, the Hartford firefighter who died in Tuesday night's fire on Blue Hills Avenue, is remembered as a dear friend and gifted musician.
"He's a nice guy. Wonderful person. He's the kind of guy you'd be proud to have as your son," friend Thomas Armstrong said.
When the 48-year-old was not on duty as a firefighter, Bell was a music producer and DJ, who went by the name Kutmaster B-stro. He would play at Hartford clubs such as Vibz Uptown.
"Always well-dressed. Normally dressed in black. And, he's in phenomenal shape so he's always looking cut. And he's always smiling, you know. Always comes in. Always gives us a hand shake," Vibz owner Yvon Alexandre said.
Bell turned to firefighting late in late in life. His father, Manuel Gomes, said he was inspired by his cousin, former Hartford Fire Chief Charles Teale. He signed up for the firefighter academy six years ago and passed with flying colors.
"It's so sad to see this happen to such a good person, who late in life wanted to serve his community in such an unselfish act," Ret. Hartford Fire Chief Edward Casares said.
Gomes said, “I’m having a hard time believing it. [He was] always very, very conscientious and careful.”
Since last night a mobile billboard has been installed in front of the Blue Hills Avenue Fire Department to memorialize Bell. The billboard was created by Bill Madina, who works at a local billboard company.
Bell died after suffering "critical injuries and was removed from the building in cardiac arrest,”according to a letter written by the president of the Hartford Firefighter's Association.
Bell, who was born and raised in Hartford, leaves behind a wife and teenage daughter.