New fireboat named for late chief

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The David W. Russell Jr., Fairfield’s new fireboat, docked at the Port 5 facility on Black Rock Harbor for a dedication ceremony on Saturday, Aug. 16. The boat was a gift to the town from the city of Bridgeport.

The town named the boat in honor of the late Chief Russell, member of the Fairfield Fire Department from 1954 through 1991, and chief of the department for 15 of those years. Chief Russell was also a decorated World War II Navy veteran.

Among the speakers at the dedication were current Fairfield Fire Chief Richard Felner, Fairfield First Selectman Michael Tetreau, Fairfield Probate Judge Daniel Caruso and David W. Russell III, son of Chief Russell and retired New York City firefighter.

The speakers lauded Russell’s devotion and service to the town of Fairfield, noting in particular his foresight in establishing a Fire Department scuba team shortly after his appointment in 1962, and his work to add EMS to the services provided by the department. Chief Russell’s daughter Lauren had died in an accidental drowning at the age of three, an event which speakers said inspired Russell to improve emergency services.

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