May 27--NEW BRITAIN -- Deputy Fire Chief David Fiori, a 36-year veteran, died Monday morning after suffering a heart attack on duty Sunday night.
Fiori, 59, was working at his desk at the Beaver Street fire station Sunday about 10 p.m. when he became ill. Firefighters provided medical care, and he was taken to the Hospital of Central Connecticut, where he died about 3:30 a.m. Monday.
"The loss of Deputy Chief Fiori is a tremendous loss for our members and Department," Chief Thomas Ronalter said in a statement Monday night. "Deputy Chief Fiori was, and is, held in the highest regard by the members of this department.
"His passing creates a void in our department that will be felt for years to come. Our thoughts and prayers are with Chief Fiori's family."
Ronalter said Fiori became a New Britain firefighter in 1978 after serving in the Marines.
Mayor Erin Stewart said her family has known the Fiori family for years -- and said Fiori's long service in the department has made him a prominent and respected member of the community.
"The entire City of New Britain mourns the loss of a dedicated public servant and dear friend, Deputy Chief Fiori. Our deepest sympathies and most heartfelt prayers are with the entire Fiori family at this time," Stewart said in a statement.
Fiori was a lieutenant when Ronalter was hired in 1983, and has been a mentor to countless young firefighters, especially in the past decade as the department has welcomed a new generation, the chief said.
"He was my first real boss when I was a young firefighter," Ronalter said. "I was always learning things from him. He was a mentor to a lot of people, including me."
Ronalter also said Fiori was a "calm, cool and collected" commander on otherwise chaotic emergency scenes, helping to keep personnel safe.
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