Six Norwalk Firefighters honored at Salute To CT’s Bravest event in Southington for two marine rescues


NORWALK, Conn. (WTNH) — Six Norwalk Firefighters were honored at the annual Salute To CT’s Bravest event in Southington.

The CT District Exchange Club hosted their annual Salute To CT’s Bravest event at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington on October 21. The Norwalk Exchange Club recognized six Norwalk Firefighters for their efforts in rescuing six people from the Long Island Sound, with help from the Department’s Marine Division.

The Norwalk Firefighters were honored for two separate incidents.

The first incident occurred on April 18, 2021. Fireboat 238 responded to a scene one mile away from Veteran’s Park on reports of two jet skis being stranded. After locating two people on Goose Island, Firefighters notified the Coast Guard. However, while sailing to rescue the victims, Firefighters discovered there were too many rocks for the boat to safely approach the two.

Firefighter David Dustin swam roughly 150 yards to the island with the boat’s tow line. He attached the tow line to one of the jet skis, assisting both victims onto the surface. The crew helped the jet ski drivers onto the fireboat, then returned to pick up Firefighter Dustin. The two drivers were showing signs of hypothermia, so the crew provided blankets and towels to keep them warm before bringing them to Veteran’s Park for Norwalk Hospital Medics to evaluate their conditions.

Those onboard Fireboat 238 were: LT Efstathios Papadopoulos, Coxswain Firefighter Ronald Kayal, Firefighter Hector Ramirez, and Firefighter David Dustin.

The second incident occurred on July 28, 2021, at 9:30 p.m. Fireboat 238 was dispatched to a call from four men whose boat capsized in the area of Grassy Island.

With a cloudy sky and a choppy sound, Firefighters spotted the four men clinging to the frame of the boat in the area of Copps Island.

Firefighters skillfully maneuvered through the rocky coast of the island in order to reach the men while a Coast Guard boat stood by.

The victims had told Firefighters they had been in the water for over an hour and were grateful to be found. They were transported to Veterans Park where Norwalk Hospital Medics evaluated them.

Those onboard Fireboat 238 were: LT Eugene DeAngelis, Coxswain Mike Vinci, Firefighter Ronald Kayal and Firefighter Hector Ramirez.

The Norwalk Fire Department operates two Fireboats every day and is staffed by Firefighters of Engine Company 3 in East Norwalk. The Fireboats are docked at Veterans Park public docks.

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