NEW BRITAIN - The City celebrated the promotions of 14 members of the New Britain Fire Department at a formal ceremony Wednesday night.
New Britain Fire Chief Raul Ortiz joined Fire Marshal Donald King, Mayor Erin Stewart, members of the fire department and their families in the Walnut Hill Park bandshell to honor and congratulate these individuals.
“Our New Britain firefighters show up during what are some of the scariest moments in our residents’ lives,” Mayor Stewart said in her address. “They are a source of comfort when people need it most…Thank you for everything each and every one of you does for our city and good luck with your careers.”
“I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how historical this ceremony is,” she continued, pointing out that two of the firefighters being promoted to the rank of Lieutenant were women, for the first time in department history.
“Obviously that makes me very proud,” the mayor added. “This fire department is evolving. We’re changing our culture and becoming the 21st century fire department we should be.”
Chief Ortiz also pointed out that the occasion also marked the department’s first promotion of a Latino firefighter to the rank of Asst. Fire Marshal, Eddie Irizarry.
“This event helps memorialize the achievements of these individuals and marks a proud moment for our department,” Ortiz said.”New Britain Fire Department prides itself on being a diverse and inclusive department and we will continue to be under this administration and Mayor Erin Stewart.”
Irizarry’s wife Graciela and their two daughters Chloe and Lily pinned him on stage, officially marking his promotion to Asst. Fire Marshal.
“It feels amazing,” Graciela said afterwards. “I met Eddie in high school so I’ve seen him progress. He worked very hard for this and we’re so proud of him. He set a good example for our daughters as well.”
Mark O’Connor was promoted to Deputy Chief; promoted to Captain were Edward Preece and Matthew Johnson; promoted to Lieutenant were Carl Foster, Piotr Pyzik, Lauren Burns, Lee Jacobs Jr., Joshua Aponte, Petra Chesanek, Jeran Arseneault, Matthew Deprey, Patrick Duplessis and Benjamin Gadomski; promoted to Asst. Fire Marshal was Eddie Irizarry.
Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.