‘As Meaningful a Volunteer Opportunity As I Could Imagine’: New Canaan Fire Company No. 1 Calls for New Members


One of New Canaan’s most vital and widely recognized community organizations is putting out a call for new members. 

Early morning fire at 407 Silvermine Road on Jan. 24, 2022. Photo courtesy of the New Canaan Fire Department

In recent years, a handful of firefighters with the New Canaan Fire Company No. 1 have been hired on as full-time paid members of the New Canaan Fire Department—a testament to the strong relationship between the two entities, though it’s left the volunteer fire service short of its target numbers, officials say.

Those who have joined the New Canaan Fire Company in recent years say it offers truly meaningful involvement in the community as well as fun, camaraderie and education. 

The New Canaan Fire Company, #1 held its annual Cold Water Rescue drill at Mead Park on Saturday, FEb. 6, 2021. New Canaan EMS members also participated in the exercise. Rob Mallozzi photo

Firefighter Steven Kryger joined in November 2020 and has been able to serve as an active volunteer with the organization though he has a full-time job.

“Virtually all of our members are full-time students or have full-time jobs—it’s very doable,” Kryger told NewCanaanite.com. “We kind of make it so members of the community can be huge contributors and it fits in with their lives.”

The Fire Company holds drills and meetings on Thursday nights, and there’s an additional one day of training per month (on Tuesdays) during a probationary period for the first year while volunteers are becoming certified as licensed and trained firefighters. 

New Canaan Fire Company No. 1 on the scene at a chimney fire on East Maple Street, December 16, 2015. Credit: Terry Dinan

“Calls can come in any time,” Kryger said. “The expectation is that volunteers make about five to 10 calls per month, and as many of the big important calls as they can with structure fires being the most important. And it’s very doable even for people who have packed professional and personal lives. So when I learned that, it was very reassuring for me. And the other thing is how meaningful it is to me. It really feels like a community of people to support you and lift you up and help you be your best. It feels like about as meaningful a volunteer opportunity as I could imagine, particularly as a new parson moving to town. I didn’t really know a lot of people. Since COVID, there are probably a lot of people in my shoes.”

Michael Bivona, Sr. and his son, 18-year-old Michael Bivona, Jr. stand in front of the eight New Canaan firefighters who helped save the younger man’s life following a horrific Oct. 30 2014 car crash on Silvermine Road. Presented Jan. 13, 2015 with a unit citation during a ceremony at Lapham Community Center, those men are (L-R): Firefighter Jason DeVivo, Firefighter Paul Wilson, Firefighter John Aniello, Firefighter Dave DiPanni, Firefighter Jim Pickering, Lt. Tony Ryan, Capt. John Raidt and Firefighter Edward Karl. Credit: Michael Dinan

The fire service would like to see about 30 to 35 active members, and right now has about one dozen truly active men and women who show up to most calls, according to New Canaan Fire Company President Rob Mallozzi. He acknowledged the career staff foregathers “who are stepping up big time, along with our senior members, to help train our newest members.”

In addition to the benefits cited by Kryger, volunteer firefighters receive a $2,000 tax credit, Mallozzi said, as well as passes to the Transfer Station and Steve Benko Pool at Waveny.

L-R: Former Fire Marshal Fred Baker and then-NCFD Assistant Chief Russ Kimes. Scenes from the May 29, 2017 Memorial Day parade and ceremony in New Canaan. Credit: Michael Dinan

Firefighter Oliver Dennis called the New Canaan Fire Company one year ago “one of the best decisions I have made.”

“I wasn’t exactly sure what I was getting myself into when I joined, but once I rode out on our ladder truck for the first time I was hooked,” Dennis said in an email. “My experience since I became a member has truly been amazing and was pleasantly surprised with how involved I could be in a short amount of time. The firefighters on both the career and volunteer side are really great to be around and I have learned so much from them over the past year.”

Those interested in learning more about the volunteer fire service should email both rmallozzi@newcanaanfire.com and recruits@newcanaanfire.com. 

5 thoughts on “‘As Meaningful a Volunteer Opportunity As I Could Imagine’: New Canaan Fire Company No. 1 Calls for New Members

  1. Mike, Thank you for the excellent article and the attention you are drawing to this great service to our Town. New Canaan’s Bravest thank you. Best, Jack Horner

  2. Great article Mike. I joined when I was eighteen, and served actively for about ten years until I moved away. Truly one of the best experiences of my life. Some of my fondest memories are associated with my time with the New Canaan Fire Company. Thanks for giving them the spot light.

    Mike McCabe

  3. Mike, thanks for being so supportive of New Canaan Fire over the years. Having been a member, and joining when I was 47 years old, it was one of the best experiences of my life. The fire service is a supportive environment, a brotherhood, and every member learns grace and discipline under pressure. You take on skills and ways to manage that you could never pick up in a conventional work environment. I would encourage anyone in New Canaan to arrange to attend one of the monthly drills to get a sense of what New Canaan Fire is all about.

    • For folks who want to learn more, we’re having a very casual open-house and a chance meet some other volunteers on the evening of Wed April 27th at the fire station at 7:30, serving dinner. Shoot a note to recruits@newcanaanfire.com if you’re interested in attending. Also happy to share info about upcoming Thursday evening drills, which are cool to watch and a great way to get a feel for volunteering.

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