Community Raises Funds for Simsbury Firefighters Injured in B17 Crash

Three weeks after a vintage airplane crashed at Bradley International Airport killing seven people and injuring seven others, the Simsbury Fire Department is hoping the community will help them support two of their own who survived the crash.

Fire officials say there was such an outpouring of support from community members who wanted to donate, they have set up a charitable fund to give to those members and their families.

Firefighter JT Huber continues treatment at the Bridgeport Burn Center.

“His wife’s been commuting back and forth to be with him and with JT being out of work it’s going to be some time before they can generate funds for household expenses,” said Simsbury Firefighter Tim Gilbert.

Firefighter Jim Traficante is recovering at home. Police say he saved lives opening up the hatch door of the plane after the crash.

“He knew when to do and just for his actions other people were able to get out and that’s big,” said Gilbert.

Local band Organized Chaos and the Old Well Tavern in Simsbury are hosting a Halloween party fundraiser this weekend that will benefit the fund.

The tavern owner and band members had friends flying in the B17 that fateful morning.

“They’ve been here to the shows. They’ve supported us,” said lead singer Jason Proulx about the Simsbury firefighters.

“He and his wife have been customers of ours for years,” said Old Well Tavern owner Frank Cardoso, “JT is just a great guy. Anything we can do to help.”

“I would have been there (on the B-17) if I wasn’t at training, so there was a lot of us that said we would have totally gone. JT had been talking about it and Rob Riddell had been talking about it for months. Yeah….so it’s hard. Very hard,” said band leader Jason Lill. “JT and Jim are from the town. JT lives down the road from us. He’s one of the big supporters of the band, so this is, kind of a you know, hits us right where it hurts, but right where our hearts are placed.”

The party is Saturday at the Old Well Tavern in Simsbury. A cover of $10 and 10 percent of tavern sales will go towards the fund.

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