MILFORD - A sea of first responders saluted a fallen brother.
A wake was held for Orange Fire Marshal Tim Smith who died in the line of duty Sunday. The veteran fire marshal served the town of Orange for 34 years.
"Pleasant memories. Walking into the office smiling, just sharing good pleasant memories," said Orange Fire Department Chief Vaughan Dumas.
The smiling and willingness to always answer the call will long be remembered by the loved ones of Smith. The 56-year-old began working for the town of Orange in 1986. Three years later he’d become a fire marshal.
"He was a very professional man when he needed to be and he was a very jovial person when he needed to be," said Chief Dumas.
Smith was called to a house fire Sunday afternoon to investigate the cause. Chief Dumas was on scene working alongside Smith like he’d done many times before.
"He was never so happy getting into a firetruck and coming to work with his uniform on," said Chief Dumas.
On Smith’s ride home, he drove off Litchfield Turnpike just south of Downs Road crashing into a tree. The fatal single-car crash is still under investigation.
An outpouring of support came from first responders as far away as Canada to pay their respects for a fallen brother. Neighboring fire departments helped organize his wake in a time of need.
"They’ve been a key part of helping us get through this process," said Chief Dumas.
Chief Dumas says Smith was at the forefront to bring drones into fire service. They help not only in investigations but in fire prevention. Orange now has imaging of all municipal buildings in town that will help target a safe response in case of a fire.
"And that’s all because of Fire Marshal Smith," said Dumas.
Smith was a fire service instructor for the Valley Regional Fire School and received an award from the International Association of Arson Investigators in 2015.
His Funeral Service will be held Saturday. 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.