Batt. Chief Rich Otlowski is retiring after 28 years with the department. Rich came on the job as a paramedic in September 1994 with 10 other recruits. His record is an outstanding one as clearly demonstrated by the leadership he has provided during those 28 years, advancing from the Firefighter to Lieutenant, Captain and finally, 7-1/2 years ago, to Battalion Chief as shift commander of Platoon 3.
Numerous active and retired department members joined Rich and some of his family members at Station 3 on Tuesday, November 22nd for an informal farewell gethering. Lots of good memories shared with a gentleman who has left a very postive legacy in his nearly three decades with the department.
Images supplied by Bob Mordecai, Kevin Shields and Lt. Craig Smart.
With a simple click to the image, most of the photos below may be enlarged to 1500x1000 pixels.
HFRA Vice-president Bill Fitzmaurice and HFRA President Bob Mordecai (right) welcome Rich as the association's newest member.
HFRA President Bob Mordecai had a surprise well-wisher
on the line for B/C Rich Otlowski on his last day on the job.
Video by Kevin Shields.
Another member of the Class of '94, who looks vaguely familiar, offers his congratulations to Rich.
Former Local 2687 President, Ret. Lt. Kurt Vogt, Ff. Seth Patrick, and Ret. Ff. Kevin Shields
Lt. O'Rourke's crew from Station 2: Firefighters Harley Pretty, Jeff McGoldrick, Wilson Rodriguez, and Dave DeMarest
Sharing some memories: Ff. Paul Anderson, Lt. Craig Smart, Ret. Chief Gary Merwede, and an unidentified attendee.
When asked if there was a particularly memorable fire in his career, Rich did not hesitate. He was shift commander on June 28, the night of the Chestnut Hill Apartment fire that went to five alarms. "It was a doozy!" he said.
Much earlier in Rich's career was the April 1999 fire that destroyed the old High Standard building on Dixwell Avenue, where Home Depot now stands. Another fire that would be impossible to forget.
June 28, 2021 - Chestnut Hill Fire that went to five alarms. Truck 4 out of NHFD's Station 6 is pictured here. (New Haven Register photo)
April 29, 1999 - Joe Anderson and Rich take a well-earned breather after helping to knock down a huge fire that destroyed the old High Standard building on Dixwell Avenue.
Rich looks on as his wife Jessica puts finishing touches on an impromptu display highlighting his fire service career. Check it out below.
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Ff. Kevin Recca holds up a crew photo from back in the day. These are the kinds of memories that remain for a lifetime.
And here's that photo!
A timeless message that says it all!
Rich introduces his mom Judy and daughter Tori to Local 2687 President Dave Beaton
Rich and his mom Judy schmoozed with Ff. Kevin Recca, as Lt. Craig Smart checked out a display of career mementos with Joe Otlowski and sister Tori.
Rich tries out one of two gift chairs while his son Joe sports a big grin.
A warm congratulatory hug from daughter Allie
The Hamden Fire Retirees Association welcomes our newest member, B/C Richard Otlowski. We wish him a long, happy, and healthy retirement. See you at the January meeting, Rich!