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A week after leading his men on a valiant four-hour battle to save burning homes along Long Island Sound, 49-year-old Assistant Chief Michael J. Mullen passed away. The chief had responded with his companies the week prior to the burning Rich Brothers Resort House. The response was so great a distance that the units had to stop and rest the horses at one point.
Arriving at the scene, they were faced with the entire second floor of the structure filled with flames. With no hydrants available, the chief ordered his men to draft from a nearby pond. A powerful stream was started only to be stopped as mud was pulled up into the pumps. The chief then resorted to an old-fashioned bucket brigade to protect the exposures. Mullen raced along the line encouraging his men as they battled the flames and thick smoke. Their efforts paid off as the spread of the fire was finally stopped.
Soon after the blaze, Mullen took sick. He passed away seven days later. He became the third member of the Stamford Fire Department to die in the line of duty.
(Thanks to Firefighter Joe Lombardo, Stamford Engine 5.)
Paul Hashagen, a Firehouse® contributing editor, is an FDNY firefighter assigned to Rescue Company 1 in Manhattan. He is also an ex-chief of the Freeport, NY, Fire Department. Hashagen is the author of FDNY 1865-2000: Millennium Book, a recently published history of the New York City Fire Department, and other fire service history books.