The Danbury Fire Department promoted Joseph Halas, a lieutenant who joined the department in 1999, to fire captain Thursday in a ceremony filled with family and friends.
"I probably met him when he was six or five years old," said Fire Chief Geoffrey Herald. "He's a legacy for the fire department because of his father Joe."
Joseph Halas' father, Joe Halas and Butch Melody, two Danbury fire fighters, died fighting a fire on Feb. 23, 1982 on Osborne Street when the second floor collapsed onto the first. They were inside the building looking for a worker believed to be inside. The city's Engine 23 fire house on Osborne Street is named after Melody and Halas.
"I've been looking forward to this job for my entire career, and I want to be the best captain in the Danbury Fire Department," Halas said, after being sworn in in the Council Chambers in City Hall. "I'd like to thank my family, my wife and three children. I'd like to thank my brothers," Halas said, looking around the crowded chambers. "I don't think either one of them is here. I'd like to thank my sister. I think she's at soccer practice."
Halas joined the Danbury Fire Department in October 1999 after working first at the Greenwich Fire Department and then at the Stratford Fire Department. He was promoted to lieutenant in November 2007, and he is certified as a fire service instructor, a fire officer 1, incident safety officer, an A-EMT and an EPA hazmat technician.
"Thanks for coming. Thanks a lot," Halas said. "It means a lot everyone is here."
Deputy Chief TJ Wiedl said Halas is a very busy winter fisherman, who thinks nothing about spending a day fishing in sub-zero weather.
Chief Herald said Halas walks into his office, brings him a problem, a solution, and he asks for support. "He leaves the office and he goes and does it," Herald said. "The next time you see him, it's done. I couldn't think of any person who is more qualified."