New Haven firefighters are mourning the loss of one of their own.
Linda Cohens, who spent nearly 20 years in the department, died after a neighbor found her unconscious on the sidewalk near her Hamden home early Sunday morning.
Police said she had an apparent head injury and was rushed to Yale-New Haven Hospital, where she was later pronounced dead.
She worked at Engine 16 and the flag was lowered to half-staff to honor Cohens.
Her father, a former police officer, said he encouraged his daughter to follow her dream of helping others.
“I’ve gone to parents' houses to tell them that they’ve lost a child, but until you’re on the other side of it, you have no idea. You have no idea,” Odell Cohens Sr said. “God decided to take her and I understand that. I understand that. He doesn’t make mistakes and everything is done for a reason. Do I like it? No. But, I’ve never wanted to bury one of my kids.”
Linda Cohens, 50, had worked for the New Haven Fire Department for 17 years, first as a firefighter then as a paramedic.
“Helping people, helping people. That was her thing,” her father said.
Besides work, Linda Cohens spent the rest of her time with her granddaughter and now the fire department has started raising funds to help her.
Linda Cohens' granddaughter never met her dad, who was Cohens' only son, because he died in an accident six-years ago.
“She worshiped that child because that was Brendan. That was him in the flesh,” Odell Cohens Sr. said.
Linda Cohens' fellow firefighters said everyone loved her, especially for her energy and laughter that she brought to the firehouse.
“She wasn’t fake or phony. What you saw is what you got and that she loved all people,” Odell Cohens Sr said.
Police are still investigating the death.
The New Haven firefighters union has set up a memorial fund online in her memory that will be used to fund her young granddaughter's education.