Hartford Fire Department Task Force releases final report after series of safety incidents

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Hartford Fire department

HARTFORD — Six months after the Hartford Fire Department Task Force was developed, they have released their final report.

In December 2014, Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra called upon the group to examine the Fire Department’s command structure, resources, firefighter training and recruitment. This came after several incidents within the department, including the tragic death of Firefighter Kevin Bell in a blaze in October.

In March, the department received five “serious” citations after a Connecticut OSHA investigation into the death of Bell. The department will have to pay a $4,000 penalty.

Recommendations issued by the Task Force include the following:

  • Permanently fill Assistant Fire Chief position, add additional Assistant Fire Chief position and fill vacancies in the Special Services Division
  • Implement professional development training in ethics, supervisory, diversity, sensitivity, policies and procedures
  • Reauthorize a second heavy rescue tactical unit

The vacant Assistant Fire Chief position is currently being filled on an interim basis by retired Deputy Chief Scott M. Brady. An additional assistant fire chief position was included in Mayor Segarra’s recommended 2016 budget, which was adopted by the council in May.

“I want to thank members of the Task Force for their hard work, their service to the community and their commitment to the safety of our residents. The Fire Department began addressing some of the recommendations based on Task Force’s preliminary findings,” said Mayor Segarra. “We have more work ahead of us and the work done by the Task Force provides further direction.”

Members of the Hartford Fire Department Task Force include retired Fire Chief John B. Stewart, Jr., retired Fire Chief Nelson K. Carter Sr., retired Fire Chief Edward Casares Jr., retired Fire Chief Charles Teale, Sr., and Police Chief James C. Rovella.

To see a copy of the Hartford Fire Department Task Force’s final report, click here.

For our full coverage of issues plaguing the Hartford Fire Department over the past year, click here.