A Look Back: Calling Hours For Tim Smith Were Well Planned

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Jan 252020

As expected with any high-profile wake, the line to pay respects to Orange Fire Marshal Tim Smith was constant. 

The Cody White Funeral Home was prepared to welcome mourners, with roped off serpentine lines in two large rooms prior to entering the viewing room. Each had photo memory boards with images of Tim with his daughters, Hannah and Alexa; his girlfriend, Terri; a big fish he caught (later revealed that Terri caught it and handed it over for the photo op) before he let it loose, and other happy times that his family wanted to share. 

TV screens also ran slide shows, and the walls were lined with flower arrangements and his turnout gear and a few personal items like the wooden train set he’d made that had graced his office for a time. 

Although some people did catch up with old friends, the mood was somber, most friends admitting they were still in shock. Everyone fell silent when they entered the final room. Occasionally the line was interrupted by on-duty first responders who’d come by to pay their respects. 

When I came through, Deputy Fire Marshal Jamie Vincent was standing by with Tim’s family, offering a greeting, then introducing visitors to Terri and the two girls they would know with whom they were speaking. Tim’s sister was seated in the front row as well.

ln the rear parking lot, a fire department canteen truck served coffee and water and an ambulance stood by in case it was needed. 

Everything was meticulously planned, Tim deserved nothing less. 

Please Share Your Photos With Orange Live, And Be Respectful

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Jan 252020

Fire Marshall Tim Smith’s turn out gear

Very public funerals such as today’s for Tim Smith deserve the best of the best coverage for residents who knew him, but cannot attend or out-of-state High School buddies who’ve been following Orange Live or other media for information.

Back when Asst Police Chief Bill Garfield and Asst Chief Mark Greco passed away, I was much younger and had the energy to run from place to place and take photos from different vantage points, but I’m in my 60s now and it takes a lot longer for me to walk around to where I want to be.

I can’t be everywhere like I used to try to be, so if anyone can take photos of the procession anywhere along the route from Milford to Orange (as they pass in front of Station 2) I would greatly appreciate it if you would submit them to orangectlive01@gmail.com so I can include them in the coverage as we say our final goodbye to our wonderful friend, Tim Smith.

I would like to be at Cody White in Milford when the eight pall bearers place the casket on the muster truck, but, I wouldn’t be able to find a parking space if I took the shot in Milford then raced up to Orange.

I know that a photo of lines of officers at attention speaks volumes, and that is where I will be, at the church where the firefighters, police and other first responders are. I promise not to get in the way and will respect this “event” not only because it’s important to everyone, but because Tim was a friend and I respect his girls and his contemporaries with all my heart. 

Note to other media:

At high profile funerals, I always have ample opportunity to get the “money shot” — a tasteless expression that I’ve heard some photographers use — of the grieving family, but a long time ago, I established that no matter what for as long as I am doing this I would follow this motto, “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” I ask that everyone else do the same. Tim’s daughters and his girlfriend, Terri are going through the most difficult time of their lives and they don’t need cameras in their faces. Let’s all put ourselves in their place, and do our jobs without being intrusive.

This Is So Beautiful

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Jan 232020

The CT Fire Marshal’s Association posted the most beautiful tribute to Tim Smith on its Facebook Page.

The Image speaks volumes. Thank you to whomever designed it. He deserved nothing less.

Here Is The Route The OVFD Will Take To Escort Tim Smith’s Body To The Church

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Jan 232020

(OVFD Facebook)

Orange firefighters today announced the route they will take as they escort Fire Marshal Tim Smith from the Cody White Funeral Home in Milford to the Holy Infant Church in Orange for his funeral on Saturday.

Tim’s life will be celebrated at a Mass of Christian Burial at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Holy Infant Church, 450 Racebrook Road in Orange. His body will be carried to the church on the back of an Orange fire engine and accompanied by other apparatus from the Orange Fire Department, the Orange Fire Marshal’s Office and the family.

The procession, escorted by Milford and Orange police, will leave Cody White about 9:15 a.m.  It will travel down South Broad Street to New Haven Avenue and turn onto Prospect Street to North Street. From North Street, it will proceed across the Boston Post Road to Orange Avenue and down to Burnt Plains Road. From Burnt Plains Road, the procession will turn on to Old Tavern Road and proceed to Orange Center Road. 

At Orange Center, the procession will turn right and head to Boston Post Road, where it will turn left. The line of vehicles will pass Orange Volunteer Fire Department Station 2, where Smith’s office was located. When the line reaches Racebrook Road, it will turn left and head to Holy Infant Church.

Fire officials say the procession is limited to Orange apparatus, the police escort and family vehicles. Visiting apparatus are asked to go directly to the Holy Infant Church, where parking will be available for apparatus and guest cars. If additional parking is needed, it will be available at Saint Barbara’s Church.

Parking and a shuttle bus also will be available at Racebrook Country Club, 246 Derby Ave.  Personnel will be on scene to direct guests to parking.

Click HERE for Wake and Funeral Information

Column: Words Can’t Express Just How Loved Tim Smith Was (and Is)

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Jan 232020

The town of Orange has been reeling from the news of Tim’s passing and everyone had something to share. 

Tammy Trantales, from the Zoning Office, said she just saw Tim last week when he stopped by and they had a lovely chat. “He was planning on retiring in 6 years after his girls got out of college,” she said. “He was such a wonderful man, always pleasant and kind and he had a terrific smile.”

Zoning Enforcement Officer, Paul Dinice, an avid fly fisherman was Tim’s fishing buddy. 

He said, “His passing is a great loss to the town. I personally remember all of the good times we shared (fishing) and I will always treasure those moments with him.”

Selectman Mitch Goldblatt described Smith as a town official, a father and a friend. Stating, It’s a great loss to our community.

Goldblatt said, “He was certainly a professional in everything he did. He was respected by fire departments across the state, and an asset to the community with his knowledge of drones and for getting grants for smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to distribute at no cost to Orange residents.”

He continued, “Tim was always smiling and looked at the positive side of everything. He was friendly with everybody. I was privileged to be his friend. Our daughters played field hockey at Amity together and he was at every game. His daughters were his pride and joy. He was a wonderful father who loved his daughters so much.” 

Emergency briefing 2012

Others, who passed through the Fire Marshal’s office for one reason or another also recalled their last encounters with Tim. 

Marianne Miller of the Orange Lions Club stopped by last week to get a permit for the upcoming Wine Tasting fundraiser.

She, like Trantales, said, “He was the sweetest man. He always had time for you when you needed him and he was always so professional in everything he did.” She added, “He was so young, it’s a great loss to the town. I feel so sad for his daughters and everyone who knew him.”

Tim at a fire scene (pre drone era)

Orange resident Denise Mirto, a real estate agent and Tim’s friend said she was shocked by the news and recounted how she’d seen him in his office on Friday. “We discussed business first, then he told me all about his daughters and what they’ve been doing. He was such a wonderful man. This is such a loss to the whole town, he’ll be sorely missed.”

First Selectman Jim Zeoli echoed what everyone else has been saying. He said, “Tim was such an important part of the community. I’ve known him for more than 30 years, and it hurts to lose him in such a tragic way. I feel so bad for his daughters, but it is great seeing the fire department rallying around them.”


On a personal note, I met Tim 25 years ago when I was first hired at the Amity Observer newspaper. Annie Davis was his secretary, and Jamie Vincent was (and still is) the Deputy Fire Marshal.

Drone Training Jul 13, 2017

As a rookie reporter without a clue, Tim always made my job easy. Over the years he included me in countless events. “Jump in the truck,” he’d say and he’d bring me to a fire demonstration at UNH, or a drone training session at Old Tavern ballpark, even tagging along for the emergency operations during Hurricane Sandy.

After a fire call I would wait an hour or two, and then I’d call Tim for a comment. He would always answer the phone or call back immediately. He was so accommodating. After I had a couple of strokes 10 years ago, Tim knew that I had issues with comprehension and concentration and he would work with me until he knew I had everything I needed for a story.

Another thing about Tim is that he loved dogs. When I had my golden retriever, Baron, I’d let him off-leash and he’d make a bee-line for Tim’s office where he was greeted with open arms. Tim, of course would be wearing dark pants, which were a magnet for Baron’s fur. Although I’d warn him, he’d still call the dog over to his side of the desk and rough house with him.

The same went for my little Sapsaree, Mi Sun, she really doesn’t shed (she has hair, not fur) but she adored Tim and he’d treat her like one of his own.

Tim was an amazing woodworker, he made the most beautiful toy trucks, and custom pens. He was always willing to help when someone needed assistance. I am lucky enough to have a piece from his workshop. Several years ago, someone unwittingly destroyed an antique shelving unit. I knew he did woodworking and asked if he could help fix it. I gave him a box with dozens of splintered, impossible to match pieces of wood. Wide-eyed, he looked at the pile, and said, “no problem.” In a couple of weeks, he called and asked me to come to his office, where he presented me with my beautiful scroll-sided family heirloom, this time painted white. He said it didn’t look very pretty with natural wood stain  anymore, but it was solid.  I proudly hung the shelves on my living room wall, and now it has an even deeper meaning for me.

Tim had an amazing sense of humor, and he was a great storyteller. Here is a video that I shot during Fire Inspector Cliff Burns’ retirement party three years ago that shows off Tim’s delightful personality. If I recall correctly, the gift Tim gave Cliff was one of his custom-made wood pens. 

Tim, you were really something special, one of a kind. We already miss you.

Orange Community Women Present Mad Science!

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Jan 232020

Here is a fun family event for all ages, mark your calendar for Saturday, Jan. 25 at 3 p.m. when the Orange Community Women present Mad Science at the High Plains Community Center, 525 Orange Center Road.

Mad Science stage shows have been captivating audiences of all ages for more than 30 years. 

This spectacular show thrills audiences with impressive science experiments including foggy dry ice storms and giant beach balls floating in the air.

Advance tickets are $5 (or $7 at the door) get yours now by contacting Michelle at 203-605-4383 or by e-mail at fbailey1@optonline.net or from any member of OCW

Obituary: Timothy (Tim) Smith, 56, Beloved Father, Friend, Fire Marshal

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Jan 222020

Orange Fire Marshal Tim Smith

Timothy Patrick Smith, 56, of Prospect, passed away unexpectedly on January 19, 2020. Born on August 21, 1963 in New Haven, he was the son of the late George and Dorothy Smith.

Tim was a native of Orange, and an Amity alumni. He became a volunteer firefighter in 1984, Deputy Fire Marshal in 1986, and appointed Fire Marshal in 1989. He was part of many organizations including the International Association of Arson Investigations, CT State Fire Marshals Associations, and the NFPA. Tim also received several awards for fire prevention and investigation in the town of Orange. Everyone in his neighborhood and the town knew they could call on him any day of the week for his help in their homes, fixing and building anything they needed.

Anyone who knew Tim, knows that he was an extremely skilled woodworker. On most days, you could find him in his workshop making furniture, wooden trucks, trains, jewelry boxes and just about anything you could think of. He had just began a business personalizing wooden pens. Tim was also exceptionally talented at building vintage and WWII model airplanes. This included a love for flying, enjoying anytime he was able to ride in a helicopter. He would attend airshows with his daughters, sharing his detailed knowledge about the history of each plane, battle, etc. His daughter, Hannah, had decided to become a History major at UConn because of him.

During warmer weather, Tim loved to fish, especially fly-fishing at his favorite river spot in Cornwall, CT and near Charles Island in Milford. Tim impressively tied his own flies, part of the reason he would always snag a fish. He was an avid sports fan and member of the Amity Field Hockey Men’s Club, supporting his daughter, Alexa, as goalie. He enjoyed horseback riding with his girlfriend, Terri. He loved his animals dearly, which included his horse, Harley, and many dogs and chickens.

Tim leaves behind his beloved daughters, Hannah and Alexa Smith; loving girlfriend, Terri Philibert; mother of his daughters, Margaret Puddester-Smith; siblings, Katherine (Richard) Berluti and David A. Smith; nieces and nephews, Matthew, Jessica, Melissa, Garrett, Danielle, David “D.J.”, Chrissy, Cassie, Brian, and Amanda; and many friends. He was predeceased by his brother, Robert Smith.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday, January 25, 2020, at 10 a.m. at Holy Infant Church, 450 Racebrook Rd., Orange (MEET DIRECTLY AT CHURCH). Interment will be private. Friends and family may call from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, January 24, 2020 at the CODY-WHITE FUNERAL HOME, 107 Broad Street Milford, CT 06460. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Orange Volunteer Fire Association, P.O. box 878, Orange, CT 06477 for a scholarship set up for both of Tim’s daughters. To leave online condolences, visit www.codywhitefuneralservice.com.

Orange Fire Department Posts Funeral Arrangements for Fire Marshal Tim Smith

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Jan 222020

Hundreds expected to pay respects to fire marshal killed in the line of duty Sunday

Firefighters, police and municipal officials from across Connecticut and beyond are expected to pay their respects this weekend to Orange Fire Marshal Tim Smith, who died in the line of duty Sunday.

Working on behalf of the family, First Selectman James Zeoli, Orange Fire Chief Vaughan Dumas and Deputy Fire Marshal James Vincent laid out the plans to accommodate Smith’s family and members of the public safety community who wish to attend Friday’s wake and Saturday’s funeral.

Here are the details:

Wake – Friday, Jan. 24

Smith’s wake will be held from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday at the Cody White Funeral Home, 107 Broad Street, Milford. An honor guard is being provided by members of the Orange Fire Marshal’s Office and the Orange Volunteer Fire Association, as well as members from surrounding departments who worked with Smith. In addition, the Connecticut Statewide Honor Guard will be assisting.

Except for on-duty personnel, those attending the wake are asked to enter from the rear of the building. On-duty personnel can enter the front of the funeral home. They will be escorted to the front of the line so they can pay their respects and get back on duty.

Parking arrangements are:

  • The Cody-White parking lot (2) is reserved for the family and handicapped guests.
  • The public and individual firefighters are asked to park in the Milford Senior Center lot on Jepson Drive (3).  If the Jepson Drive lot fills up, additional parking will be available behind the Milford courthouse, 14 W. River St.  A shuttle bus will run between those locations and the funeral home.
  • Berchem Moses PC, attorneys, have made their parking lot at 75 Broad St. (4) available. It is designated for public safety chiefs with official cars and municipal officials.
  • On-duty personnel can park their vehicles on the eastbound side of Broad Street opposite the funeral home.

Because of the number of people expected, Nelson Ambulance will have an EMS unit standing by and Milford Fire will have their canteen truck available.

Funeral – Saturday, Jan. 25

Tim Smith’s life will be celebrated at a Mass of Christian Burial at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Holy Infant Church, 450 Racebrook Road in Orange. Parking will be available at the church. If additional parking is needed, it will be available at Saint Barbara’s Church. Personnel will be on the scene to direct guests to parking. There is no graveside service.

A repast is scheduled after the funeral at the Racebrook Country Club, 246 Derby Ave.

As is the tradition for fallen firefighters, Smith will be transported from the funeral home to the church on the back of a fire engine, accompanied by an honor guard. Apparatus from many area departments are expected to be part of the procession. The funeral will feature bagpipers from three pipe-and-drum groups, a last dispatch to honor Smith, the ringing of a ceremonial fire bell and the presentation of a flag and Smith’s helmet to his family.

During the wake and funeral, firefighters from Ansonia, Oxford, North Branford and East Haven will be in Orange to respond to alarms.  AMR will post an ambulance near the church.

Smith was called to the scene of a house fire Sunday afternoon to investigate the cause. After he completed the investigation, he was headed home when he was killed in a one-vehicle motor vehicle accident. The crash is still under investigation by the Woodbridge Police Dept. and the Connecticut State Police accident reconstruction team.

“We are grateful for the outpouring of support from the fire and police departments in surrounding towns,” said Fire Chief Vaughan Dumas. “While we work to help Tim’s family and friends, including members of our own department and the Fire Marshal’s office, the sympathy, support and very real commitment of time and resources from these other departments is helping Orange firefighters pay tribute to Tim and mourn his loss.”

A Show Of Love And Respect For Fire Marshal Tim Smith (and funeral details)

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Jan 212020

Fire Marshal Tim Smith’s turn out gear

Click here for the  Procession video  courtesy of the OVFD.

On late Monday afternoon the Orange Volunteer Fire Department gave the town’s beloved Fire Marshal Tim Smith, who passed away in the line of duty* on Sunday afternoon, a fitting show of love and respect.

Fire trucks, members of the OVFD and CERT (Community Emergency Response Team), whom he trained, lined up in front of Fire Station #2 on the Boston Post Road, which was draped with a black shroud in his memory. Tim’s turnout gear was neatly stacked up front and center.

Rescue 1, Engine 34, along with several Orange Police cruisers, Deputy Fire Marshal James Vincent, and others, accompanied Smith’s body to the Cody-White Funeral Home in Milford.

Prior to arriving in Orange, with the assistance of the OVFD and the Connecticut State Police, the body was transported by the Deputy Fire Marshal, OVFD Car 1, and Engine 34 in the motorcade from Farmington to Milford.

Along the route, the brothers and sisters from West Haven Professional Firefighters and Milford Fire Department came out to show their respects, standing on top of their fire trucks on an overpass on I-95 as the procession passed.

Calling hours will be at Cody-White Funeral Home, 107 North Broad Street, Milford from 4-8 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 24. 

His funeral will take place at Holy Infant Church, 450 Racebrook Road, Orange, at 10 a.m. 

*Tim’s passing was in the line of duty because he was working in his official capacity as fire marshal following a fire call in Orange.

Orange Firefighters, Employees Mourn Loss Fire Marshal Tim Smith

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Jan 202020

Orange Fire Marshal Tim Smith                                                                        (Photo by Terri Miles)

Following is a press release from the Orange Volunteer Fire Department:

Volunteer firefighters and town employees in Orange today are reeling from the loss of long-time Fire Marshal Tim Smith, who died Sunday after investigating a fire in a local home.

“The Orange Volunteer Fire Department and Orange Town employees are mourning the untimely passing of Tim Smith, our fire marshal,” said Vaughan Dumas, fire chief.

“Tim was an invaluable member of the town’s public safety corps and will be missed here in town and across the state,” added First Selectman James M. Zeoli.

Dumas said Smith was called to a structure fire at 161 Tyler City Road around 1:20 p.m. Sunday to determine the cause and origin of the fire. He had completed that task and was returning home when he was involved in a motor vehicle accident in Woodbridge.

The Woodbridge Police and Connecticut State Police accident reconstruction team are investigating the crash. They will release their findings and comments when their investigation is complete.

Smith was a member of the Orange Volunteer Fire Department for more than 30 years. He became a town employee in 1986 as a deputy fire marshal and rose to the fire marshal’s post in April 1989.

In addition to being a certified state fire marshal, Smith was a fire service instructor for the Valley Regional Fire School. He received an award from the International Association of Arson Investigators in 2015 for outstanding accomplishment in relation to an investigation of an arson fire on Golf Road.

Smith was known as a progressive and innovative fire official. He inaugurated the use of drones to investigate fires. He also implemented the use special software to track fires in town and report them to the state.

His family has requested privacy as they mourn their loss, said Zeoli. Funeral arrangements will be announced.

— By Doug Fenichel