South Windsor town officials last week recognized two quick-witted public works employees for extinguishing a trash can fire that could have spread to a Birch Hill Drive home.
Maintainers Mark Hilton and Tim Cronin were driving by the residence at 21 Birch Hill Drive on the afternoon of Jan. 17 when they noticed a trash can that was on fire. The trash can was leaning up against the side of the home, and easily could have spread beyond just burning the side of the house.
A 22-year-old woman was home at the time of the incident, but she was not aware of the fire until firefighters arrived. The fire started as a result of the improper disposal of ashes from a wood stove into a plastic container.
At the Town Council meeting on Jan. 22, Mayor Tom Delnicki presented Hilton and Cronin each with the Town Coin and read a proclamation thanking them for their heroics.
“I think we have to make these guys honorary volunteer firefighters,” Delnicki quipped to South Windsor Volunteer Fire Department Chief Kevin Cooney. “Quick thinking, being in the right place at the right time.”
Cooney, for his part, expressed his gratitude for Hilton’s and Cronin’s actions.
“I don’t want to think about what would have happened, because the potential was certainly there [for a tragedy]” he said. “There was a severe case that took place in Stamford not too long ago where we lost an entire family.”
Cooney said that it was pure good fortune that Hilton and Cronin were driving by in a residential neighborhood during a time of the day when most people are at work.
“I appreciate their efforts and I thank them on behalf of the fire department,” Cooney said.