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New fire boat dedicated in tribute to former Chief David Russell

Family, elected officials and members of the Fire Department were on hand Saturday as the David W. Russell Jr., the town's new firefighting vessel, was officially dedicated at Port 5 in Bridgeport.

The boat, a 2008 Firebrand 28, was donated to the Fairfield department earlier this year by the Bridgeport Fire Department, after it obtained a new vessel. Fairfield officials decided to name the boat after former Chief David W. Russell Jr., who died last August.

Russell was instrumental in the formation of the department's SCUBA rescue team, and an early proponent for EMS within the fire service after his 3-year-old daughter, Lauren, drowned.

Russell became a member of the Fire Department in 1954, and rose through the ranks, culminating in his appointment as chief in 1976, a post he held for 15 years. A Navy veteran, Russell was also a longtime member of Port 5 Naval Veterans and had served as its chaplain.

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