An off-duty Connecticut firefighter died after he was struck following a five-vehicle crash.
New Haven Firefighter Thomas Mieles, age 27, was driving north on I-91 when his car became disabled in the left lane around 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 2.
Mieles, of New Haven, who was outside of his car, died when he was hit by an SUV during the crash, said the Connecticut State Police.
A native of the city, Mieles joined the department 10 months ago, and served just down the street from where he grew up on Atwater Street, said New Haven Fire Chief John Alston.
He attended Wilbur Cross High School and always wanted to be a firefighter, the chief said during a press conference on Thursday, Nov. 3.
“Thomas loved the fire department,” Alston said. “He was just hired in January, but one of the most exciting things he had was to work in this house with the people that are here with me. Growing up in his neighborhood and being able to protect his own neighborhood, I understand how proud he probably was.”
Alston said Mieles loved working in the Lombard Fire Station with the other members of the house. He added that when he responded to the crash, he never thought the person they would be rescuing would be one of their own.
“Never in our wildest dreams did we realize that the person that was being rescued and resuscitated was one of our own,” Alston said. “It’s been a very difficult time for our department.”
Alston, along with New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker spent the night at the hospital with the family and Mieles' finance.
“We ask your kind thoughts and prayers, during this time of bereavement for his family, friends, and department members, as they grieve this tragic loss,” Alston said.
This is the third loss for the department in the past three graduating fire classes, including firefighters William McMillian, Ricardo Torres, and Mieles, the chief said.
Arrangements have not been announced.
All New Haven city and department flags were ordered to be lowered to half-mast in Mieles’ honor, Elicker said.
State police are looking for witnesses to the crash. Anyone with information is asked to call 203-393-4200.
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