Selectmen Approve $500,000 for New Fire Rescue Truck

The Board of Selectmen last week approved a $500,000 contract with a Watertown-based company to build a new rescue truck for the New Canaan Fire Department. 

Bid proposals that came in for the new truck ranged higher than the budgeted half million dollar figure, so the department removed about $41,000 in modifications to the vehicle—some of which it hopes to re-add in the future, according to Fire Chief Jack Hennessey. 

“Everything we cut out we thought we needed,” including a 360-degree camera, Hennessey said during the selectmen’s regular meeting, held Jan. 7 at Town Hall. “But we needed to make our number so we had to delete things. That was a lower-priority thing so we had to take as much stuff truck off of the truck as we could. There might be money in future budgets in other lines that we might be able to put some of these things back in.

Three Taken to Hospital After Head-On Crash on Route 123 Early Friday

Three people were transported to Norwalk Hospital early Friday after a head-on collision on Route 123, officials said. At about 6:30 a.m., a van and car crashed in the area of Smith Ridge Road south of Norholt Drive, trapping the driver of the car, according to Fire Chief Jack Hennessey. The occupants of the van got themselves out, he said. “The high energy impact required rescue personnel to use hydraulic rescue tools, saws and a winch to free the trapped driver,” Hennessey said in a press release. Smith Ridge Road was closed for more than one hour, and reopened at about 7:50 a.m., Hennessey said.

High Winds Snap Pine Tree on Norholt Drive on Monday, Damaging House

Firefighters midday Monday responded to a report of a tree that had fallen into a house on Norholt Drive, officials said. The top of a large pine tree snapped off as winds gusted more than 50 mph, damaging the rear of the home, according to a press release issued by Fire Chief Jack Hennssey. No one was injured, he said. The tree broke a window in the home, according to dispatcher reports. The National Weather Service has put New Canaan under a high wind warning through 6 p.m. Winds are blowing up to 28 mph and gusting up to 55 mph, according to the National Weather Service. 

As of 1 p.m., 54 Eversource customers were without power in New Canaan.

‘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.