New Haven firefighter Lt. Samod Rankins appointed to Hamden Fire Commission

New Haven

HAMDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A New Haven fire lieutenant who was badly hurt in a deadly fire last year now has a new role in Hamden.

Lieutenant Samod Rankins was appointed to the Hamden Fire Commission Monday night. The vote was nearly unanimous with just one member abstaining.

Rankins was seriously hurt while battling a house fire in New Haven last May. That fire killed his coworker and friend, firefighter Ricardo Torres Jr.

Following the fire, Rankins spent 11 days in a burn unit. He is still working hard to overcome those injuries so he can get back on the job he loves. In the meantime, the fire commission is another way he can help the community and fellow firefighters stay safe.

“You know, training, fire prevention education, big on recruiting. We want diverse recruitment from education in any aspect of the fire service,” Rankins said.

He believes his experience as a firefighter will give him real-world insight into what Hamden firefighters need.

“I know a bunch of Hamden firemen already so I do plan on going to each firehouse, introducing myself to the guys. I’m here for whatever they need, I’m a phone call away,” Rankins said.

Rankins said 2021 has been a difficult year but he is working hard to get back to his job as a New Haven firefighter.

“Just trying to get my feet back into things, trying to ease my way in,” Rankins said. “I am still recovering right now. I am still going to therapy, counseling and everything.“

Until that day arrives, he will continue to help in any way he can.

“I didn’t always want to be a fireman,” Rankins said. “When I joined at first, I became a volunteer, and then I fell in love with it and that’s where I ended up.”

Rankins hopes to make a return to the New Haven Fire Department in late spring or early summer. In the meantime, he will continue to volunteer with the Hamden Fire Commission.

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