Hartford Fire Department: ‘Hero firefighter at the right place, right time’

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HARTFORD — We know the men and women who serve our towns and cities are everyday heroes. But sometimes, even when they’re not on duty and not required to help, they still step forward to save a life.

On Thanksgiving night around 11 p.m. Hartford Firefighter Dave Cote was driving on Route 9 in the Berlin area when he watched a car hit the guardrail and then flip over several times, coming to a rest on its hood.

Cote jumped into action and rescued the 22-year-old female driver. First he stabilized her, but it soon became clear that it was no longer safe to be in or near the car. So he removed her, and a short time later the car burst into flames.

The victim suffered a fracture to her L2 disc in her spine; a broken right arm; a fractured left eye socket and a collapsed lung. But she is alive.

The patient’s mother said, “Had it not been for Firefighter Cote, (the girl) would not be alive today.”

Hartford Fire Captain Raul Ortiz said in a statement, “The Hartford Fire department wishes to thank Firefighter Cote for his commitment to service on and off the job and for exemplifying the mission and vision statements of the Hartford Fire Department.”