NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The New Haven Fire Department is mourning the loss of one of its own.
Off-duty firefighter Thomas Mieles, 27, was struck and killed on Interstate 91 just south of Exit 8 near New Haven around 9:45 p.m. Wednesday.
State police said Mieles pulled over in the left lane after he had been involved in a separate crash. Moments later, two vehicles pulled over ahead of Mieles in the left lane and attempted to help him.
Mieles was struck by another car when he was outside of his vehicle.
He suffered life-threatening injuries and was taken to Yale New Haven Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.
“Never in our wildest dreams did we think the person being rescued and resuscitated was one of our own,” New Haven fire chief John Alston said. “It’s been a difficult time for our department. Our hearts go out to his family and his fiancée.”
Fire officials said Mieles “fulfilled his dream of becoming a New Haven firefighter” in January 2022. He was assigned to Engine 10 at the Lombard Fire Station and lived in the neighborhood he served.
“Thomas loved the fire department,” Alston said. “Growing up in this neighborhood and being able to protect his own neighborhood, I understood how proud he probably was.”
Alston, Mayor Justin Elicker New Haven Firefighters Union President Patrick Cannon and members of the fire department were at the hospital with Mieles’ family.
“It’s just so tragic for the family,” Elicker said. “We are all a family here, in the city of New Haven, but to see Firefighter Mieles’ family experiences at the hospital last night [Wednesday night] was just devastating.”
A fellow graduate of the 63rd class of New Haven firefighters, Ibrahim Cheek, said Mieles was “very full of life, very enthusiastic.”
“He talked a lot,” Cheek added with a smile as his colleagues laughed and put their hands on his shoulders in support. “But very good-hearted. He was extremely proud to serve his city, just like all of us are. A really big loss. A really big hit to the department. I’m just glad I had the chance to know him.”
All city and department flags were lowered to half-staff in Mieles’ honor.
“Thomas was young with so much life ahead of him, starting his firefighting career at 27 years old in January 2022,” Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) said. “This is a big loss for our community, and I extend my condolences to Thomas’ family, loved ones, and his colleagues in the New Haven Fire Department. Thomas will be dearly missed.”
Officials announced on Friday that a second pedestrian, a woman who was standing next to Mieles, was also struck in the collision. She and the other drivers were injured and transported to local hospitals.
The woman’s condition is currently unknown.
State police ask anyone who witnessed the crash or has any information to call Trooper Troczynski at (203) 393-4200.
The video below is from Good Morning Connecticut at 7 a.m. on Nov. 3, 2022.