‘An Unsung Hero’: New Canaanites Remember Jim Cole 

Saddened by news of Jim Cole’s passing this week, New Canaanites are remembering the longtime former resident as a dedicated volunteer who served the community quietly and in numerous ways while helping to shape emergency preparedness in town. A former chairman of the New Canaan Police and Fire Commissions who went on to become the town’s director and later deputy director of Emergency Management and served on its Traffic Calming Work Group, Cole died Monday in Florida, according to First Selectman Kevin Moynihan. In calling for a moment of silence at a regular meeting of the Board of Finance on Tuesday night, Moynihan called Cole “a great friend of New Canaan” and “great volunteer” alongside his wife, Nancy Upton. Known for his deep involvement in the Congregational Church of New Canaan, local service organizations and the Community Emergency Response Team, a volunteer group known as ‘CERT,’ Cole was a widely respected expert on emergency response for whom the safety of the community was imperative, according to those who knew him. 

He not only helped plan for emergencies but also rolled up his sleeves to work hard when they struck, according to Mike Handler, New Canaan’s director of emergency management. Handler called Cole “a remarkable guy” who “took community engagement and involvement to a different level” not only as a volunteer but also as a great recruiter who was “fiercely loyal” to those who gave of their time as he did.

Resident Flees Electrical Fire, Underscoring Need for Improved Cell Coverage

A woman in northeast New Canaan who had lost power and had no cell phone coverage on Saturday drove away from a suspected fire at her Bob Hill Lane house to find help from emergency responders, officials said. Fortunately, she came across New Canaan firefighters on nearby Laurel Road, where a tree had fallen on power lines, and told them about the emergency at her house. “Firefighters immediately radioed communications to dispatch for a structure fire and responded to the scene,” Fire Marshal Fred Baker said in a release. The first arriving units found a shorted surge protector. The suppressor strip itself was destroyed, according to Fire Chief Jack Hennessey, and fortunately the fire did not spread beyond it.

‘We’ll Always Remember’: New Canaan Holds Memorial Ceremony for Victims of 9/11

In the immediate wake of the horror of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, New Canaan’s highest elected official recalled Tuesday, “blindsided and fearing the worst, America delivered its best.”

“Americans fought back—with faith, courage, sacrifice and love,” First Selectman Kevin Moynihan told more than 100 local emergency responders, municipal workers, residents and elected and appointed officials gathered in the north entrance to Town Hall during the town’s annual remembrance ceremony. “People didn’t run from danger, they rushed to it. Strangers helped strangers. First responders climbed stairways to heaven.

‘A Worthwhile Project’: New Canaan Firefighters Eye Federal Grant To Help Purchase 1,000 Smoke, CO Detectors for Residents

The Board of Selectmen on Tuesday voted unanimously to support the New Canaan Fire Department’s application for federal funds that would allow for the purchase of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors for town residents. A Federal Emergency Management Agency “Assistance to Firefighters-Fire Prevention and Safety Grant” will allow the department to purchase about 1,000 detectors with New Canaan paying 5 percent of the cost—a breakdown of $6,477 for the feds and $323 for the town, according to Fire Chief Jack Hennessey. The Fire Department applied last year for the grant but was denied, Hennessey told the selectmen at their regular meeting, held at Town Hall. Asked why, he said: “It’s a competitive grant.”

“Other people had bigger priorities and bigger projects last time,” the fire chief continued. “They spent most of the money on research they’re giving to universities to do fire safety research.

Tree Lands on Pickup Truck in New Canaan Friday, Injuring and Trapping Driver

A tree fell amid extreme high winds Friday and fell on a pickup truck in the area of Canoe Hill Road, officials said. The incident happened around 3 p.m., according to New Canaan Fire Chief Jack Hennessey. The tree did “significant damage” to the pickup and trapped the driver in the car, according to Hennessey. Members of the New Canaan Police Department, New Canaan Fire Department and New Canaan Volunteer Ambulance Corps responded and freed the trapped driver, he said. He was extricated using the jaws of life, and transported to a hospital, Hennessey said.