Twelve Shelton firefighters were honored during the statewide Exchange Club’s Salute to Connecticut's Bravest event on Oct. 16 at the Aquaturf in Plantsville.

A contingent of 36 people attended from Shelton, including firefighters, friends, family, Mayor Mark Lauretti, and local Exchange Club members. In total, more than 600 people were at the ceremony.

Shelton firefighters were honored for their role in three incidents.

Downtown fire

On Jan. 5, a fire destroyed a large apartment and retail building on Howe Avenue in downtown Shelton. Twenty-eight residents were evacuated, including five by what the fire service calls “grabs.”


Fire Lt. Michael Plavcan for his initial recognition and coordination of rescue efforts, and for assisting firefighter Michael Neuendof in rescuing a disorientated male occupant from a smoke-filled hallway.

Firefighters Matthew Eckert and Douglas Petrie for the rescue of an unconscious female found in a smoke-filled hallway.


Firefighters Michael Peligrino and William Tortora for “holding the means of egress” with an attack line so that occupants and fire personnel rescues could be made.


Driver operator Joe Clark and firefighter Mike Mersko for immediately recognizing that an occupant was trapped from escape by smoke and fire from his third-floor apartment window. Clark and Mersko positioned the aerial device and then assisted the occupant into the bucket, rescuing him from peril.

Fire at two-family home

On Jan. 22, a firefighter alerted residents of a two-family home on Howe Avenue of smoke in their building.

Upper-floor residents were able to evacuate, and firefighters pulled an unconscious man from the first floor who was transported to the hospital but later died from his injuries.


Firefighters Joe Cavalloro and Aaron Lugo for their successful search and rescue of an occupant from the home.


Firefighter Christopher Jones for his quick recognition of a fire, his immediate action of contacting 9-1-1, and rapid notification of the structure's occupants.

Latex Foam fire

On June 26, firefighters helped put out a fire that started in the basement of the Latex Foam factory on River Road. The fire impacted numerous machine processes, mazes and hazardous areas.

At one point, fire crews had to exit the building due to the expanding fire, extreme heat, zero visibility and falling debris. Deputy Chief Timothy Hongo took great personnel risk to retrieve a disorientated firefighter from inside the structure.


Deputy Chief Timothy Hongo for his quick and decisive recognition of deteriorating fire conditions, the transmission of an “urgent” resulting in the initiating a withdrawal of interior crews, and for transmitting a “may-day” to ensure proper resources were initiated to rescue a firefighter from inside.

The Shelton Fire Department consists of four all-volunteer departments — Echo Hose, Huntington, Pine Rock Park, and White Hills. Shelton has the largest volunteer fire department of any municipality in the state.