WALLINGFORD — A recently created garden behind fire department headquarters serves as a memorial to firefighters.
Department members used private donations to build the garden, which is open to the public. It features benches surrounding a cascading water fountain and brick walkway. The public can purchase engraved bricks honoring a firefighter.
“We’re going to have the general public as well as our guys sit out there and reflect on the guys that came before us,” said firefighter Ryan Owen, one the firefighters that helped build the garden this spring.
The garden memorializes firefighters killed on duty, firefighters who died from other causes during their career and firefighters that died after retiring.
Fire Chief Richard Heidgerd said an anonymous donor approached the department last year about a project to memorialize firefighters.
“She was thinking it'd be nice to honor them in some way so this is what we came up with,” Heidgerd said.
A family member of a fire lieutenant created the design concept. Members of the department volunteered time to create the garden this spring, Heidgerd said.
Heidgerd asked residents to check in at the front desk before visiting the garden. Fire headquarters is located at 75 Masonic Ave.
“I’d like to see people come and use it. We put in a lot of time and effort, so I don't want it to just sit out in the back and nobody comes and sees it,” Owen said.
The garden was built using about $5,000 from the anonymous donor, along with about $2,500 in other donations, Heidgerd said. The department has had firefighters killed on duty, but not many and none recently.
Memorial bricks will be sold and installed this fall. The fire department is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year.