By Michael P. Walsh
Special to the Voice
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Mayor Nancy R. Rossi and West Haven Fire Department Chief James P. O’Brien on Aug. 24 announced four grants totaling $809,200 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for West Haven’s three fire departments.
“These grants are a recognition of your hard work and sacrifice as firefighters during the coronavirus pandemic,” said Blumenthal, D-Conn. “They will enable you to deliver services more quickly.”
Rossi said, “These grants, given to our local heroes, will help firefighters receive vital equipment and upgrades to help them perform their duties and keep our community safe.”
Blumenthal, Rossi and O’Brien heralded the FEMA funding during an afternoon news conference attended by more than two dozen firefighters, chiefs and commissioners from the West Haven, West Shore and Allingtown fire departments at West Haven fire headquarters on Elm Street.
They were also joined by state Rep. Charles J. Ferraro, R-West Haven, and Councilman Robert Bruneau, D-9, the chairman of the West Shore Board of Fire Commissioners.
Blumenthal said the grant awards were a team effort and were also supported by U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and U.S. Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro, D-3.
Rossi thanked Blumenthal and “all those who made this possible for West Haven.” She also praised the chiefs and firefighters for their lifesaving work every day and the acting city grants writer, Doug Colter, for assisting the chiefs in writing two of the four grants.
O’Brien, whose department serves the First Fire Taxation District, also known as the Center District, thanked Blumenthal for his “die-hard support of the fire service” and for lobbying on behalf of the three departments, including his department, which received a $94,600 grant for an indoor air quality exhaust system to protect firefighters from truck exhaust.
West Shore Fire Department Chief Stephen Scafariello and acting City of West Haven Fire Department Allingtown Chief Michael T. Esposito also thanked Blumenthal.
Esposito’s department received $575,000, the largest of the FEMA grants, for replacing its main first-line response pumper truck.
Scafariello’s department received a $45,000 grant for an air compressor system to refill self-contained breathing apparatus.
O’Brien noted the departments also received a joint $94,600 COVID-19 grant for pandemic-related supplies and personal protective equipment.