PLAINVILLE – Thomas Moschini will be taking over as fire chief for Kevin Toner in January as he enters his 36th year of service to the community.
Toner is completing his eighth year as fire chief, the maximum term for the town. Thus, Moschini, who is currently serving as deputy fire chief, will assume the leadership role on Jan. 4.
For Moschini, being a firefighter is in the blood. His father was a firefighter in town for 45 years and his mother has been fundraising for the fire department since 1960. He often helped out around fire headquarters growing up. Moschini’s uncle was a firefighter for 15 years before he died while fighting a fire in 1975. Moschini’s son, Thomas Moschini Jr. is also a firefighter in town, having served for 13 years. Thomas Moschini Jr. currently holds a lieutenant rank.
“It makes me proud,” said Moschini about his son carrying on the family legacy. “When we’re crawling through a fire and he’s either behind me or in front of me – I can’t explain it. It’s such a rush of adrenaline. His life is in my hands and my life is in his hands. We lay it all down on the line and do what we have to do.”
Moschini said that being able to help people is the real reward.
“We’re all a part of this community together,” he said. “It’s a great place to live with a lot of nice people.”
Moschini recalled how, after a recent condo fire, the fire department bought clothing and toys for a family whom had been displaced.
“If we come out, it’s often because someone’s having a bad day,” he said. “We try to make it the best we can.”
Moschini said that he has worked closely with Toner over the years and has known him since childhood. Working together as fire chief and as deputy fire chief they forged an even stronger bond. He said that he is proud to be named fire chief.
Going forward, the Moschini said he will make sure that the fire department is doing everything it can to keep the community and his fellow firefighters safe.
“There are a lot more procedures we have to follow with covid,” he said. “In March, we had to re-write a lot of our policies. We’ve had our training meetings over Zoom, which has worked out great and allowed us to still stay in communication.”
Moschini also plans to start a big recruitment drive.
“We want to get more people involved,” he said. “The older guys are getting older and we’d like to see some of the younger guys move up.”
In terms of fire equipment, Moschini said he feels that the department is well-equipped.
“We just put into service two brand new trucks and a brand new ladder,” he said. “The Town Council has been very supportive. They care about us as much as we care about the town.”
The Plainville Fire Department holds awareness campaigns throughout the year to help keep the community safe. Among this is an annual fire prevention poster contest which sees young students draw posters to promote fire safety. The winners get to present their posters to the Town Council. The Fire Marshal’s office also encourages residents to change the batteries on their fire alarms twice a year and to have a plan to exit their homes in case of a fire.
In late spring or early summer, Moschini also plans to hold an open house at the fire department if covid-19 restrictions allow it.
Moschini said that the town is accepting applications through Sunday for qualified firefighters to fill the deputy chief position as well as the first and second assistant chief positions. He expects to have these roles filled before Christmas.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-550-2689 or firstname.lastname@example.org.