Family of late house fire victim makes $6,000 donation to Monroe’s fire companies

Firefighters work at the scene of a residential fire on Bagburn Hill Road in 2022. Monroe Volunteer Fire Department, No. 1 Facebook page photo

MONROE, CT — Town firefighters quickly contained a blaze on Bagburn Hill Road on August 6, 2022 but, sadly, the sole homeowner, Sarah Cotter, 69, did not get out of her historic two-story colonial in time. Though she died in the fire, her family never forgot the brave responders who tried to save her.

During the Monroe and Stevenson volunteer fire companies’ belated holiday party Saturday night, First Selectman Terry Rooney presented a $6,000 donation on behalf of Nutmeg Adjusters, a business owned by the Cotter family.

Monroe Fire Chief Kevin Catalano said the family asked that the check be split evenly among the Monroe, Stepney and Stevenson fire departments.

First Selectman Terry Rooney, left, presented the Cotter family’s donation to Monroe Fire Chief Kevin Catalano at a holiday dinner Saturday.

“That is a very generous donation for us and I’m sure we’ll put that to good use,” Catalano said, while addressing his fellow firefighters, “so again our appreciation to the Cotter family and Nutmeg Adjusters.”

When presenting the check, Rooney, who attended Saturday’s dinner with his wife Nadine, recalled listening to calls on the scanner as a boy when his father served in the Bridgeport Fire Department, eventually becoming chief, as well as a tragic fire in which his father’s friend Bridgeport Fire Capt. Francis Federici died.

“Thank you for your service to the town,” Rooney said to firefighters at the dinner. “Thank you for everything you do. When people are in need, you’re the first one’s there and I know sometimes it goes unrecognized, but it’s important to know people appreciate it when the time comes.”

With that, the first selectman presented the check to Catalano, showing the gratitude, appreciation and thanks from the Cotter family.

A busy winter

During the dinner, Chief Catalano spoke of how it has been a busy year for fire calls, from brush fires, smoke and cooking fire calls to major structure fires.

An early morning blaze on Haviland Drive in Trumbull started in the garage. Monroe Volunteer Fire Department photo

“Our services have been called upon a lot and our team has really risen to the challenge,” he said. “We had some really serious calls over the last couple months and everybody’s performed great, so we appreciate all the hard work everybody’s put in.”

The emergency calls have continued into the New Year.

“Monroe volunteer firefighters staffed the station during the storm and handled 12 fire calls over the weekend,” Catalano told The Sun Monday. “One was a house fire where Stepney and Monroe assisted Trumbull close to the town line. In four other instances, firefighters identified elevated levels of carbon monoxide in structures due to heating issues.”

The house fire Monroe and Stepney engine companies provided mutual aid for was reported on Haviland Drive in Trumbull around 4 a.m. Sunday.

According to a letter written by Long Hill Fire Co. No. 1, Trumbull Town Highway Maintainer 4 Shaun Bogen, who is also a Long Hill firefighter, saved the lives of residents in the structure fire.

While on his snow plowing route, Bogen noticed a house with a fire in the garage and quickly radioed fellow firefighters and called 911, before waking up four sleeping residents, ensuring they got out of their home safely, along with their three dogs.

Monroe firefighters respond to a call of smoke in a home on Cutlers Farm Road Friday night. Monroe Volunteer Fire Department photo

Another weekend call was for smoke in a home on Cutlers Farm Road in Monroe around 7 p.m. Friday night. All three town companies responded.

Following their quick response, firefighters found the origin to be a small pile of firewood that had caught fire next to the fireplace, before quickly containing it and ventilating the smoke using fans, according to Catalano.

However, due to smoke damage, the family was unable to occupy their home for the evening, he said.

“This was one of four fire calls handled last evening,” Catalano said in a Facebook post Saturday. “We remind residents of the importance of having working smoke alarms and placing a protective screen over the fireplace opening.”

All respectful comments with the commenter’s first and last name are welcome.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Latest from Blog

The Monroe Sun covers all of the news of Monroe, CT

Follow Us

© Copyright 2023, The Monroe Sun LLC