Firefighters from around the country will be in New Haven Thursday to help the city honor the life of firefighter Ricardo Torres Jr.
“Ricardo was in the fire department less than two years,” said Fire Chief John Alston. “But the impact he had in the fire service, with his coworkers, with his family, and on me personally is significant.”
Alston said he wanted to be sure the more than 300 firefighters in the department could attend the funeral service for Torres, so there will be many out-of-town crews and trucks serving the city.
“That was important because we wanted to maintain coverage and allow our members - any of our members who needed counseling or supports, or to be at any of the services - to allow them to freedom to grieve,” Alston said.
The day will begin at firefighter headquarters, where many will gather ahead of the 10 a.m. funeral service at the Church of St. Mary on Hillhouse Avenue.
A procession will leave from headquarters and move through the city along Grove Street to Whitney Avenue and around to Hillhouse Avenue to the church.
On a call Wednesday afternoon, the union president said emotions are raw.
“I just want to make sure that we can carry ourselves tomorrow, to make sure our brother comes out honorably as the hero that he is,” said Patrick Cannon, president of Local 825.
There will be a lot of parking restrictions and road closures tomorrow while the services are happening, so residents are asked to avoid the area.
“I think we’re ready,” said Rick Fontana, Director of Emergency Operations. “I think we want to let the residents know there could be some impacts, to give themselves some extra time to travel if they’re coming to the city for work tomorrow.”
He said those impacts could begin as soon as 7 a.m.
After the service, a tribute is planned by area fire departments to salute Torres’ procession from New Haven along I-91 to Hartford, where he’ll be buried in a private ceremony.