26 Feb 2009
in FIRE DEPARTMENTS
Capt. Patrick L. Higgins
- Timothy Higgins
- Bridgetann Higgins
26 Feb 2009
-Death of Captain Patrick Higgins (Retired)-
Capt. Patrick L. Higgins, 78, formerly of
South River St.,
Enfield, retired Captain of the Thompsonville Fire Dept., died
Friday, Jan. 30, 2009, at the Baystate Medical Center in
He was the husband of the late Margaret (Cooper) Higgins, who
died in 2000. Born in the Thompsonville section of Enfield, a son of
the late William and Angelina (Bushey) Higgins, he was
a lifetime member of the community and a communicant of St.
Pat began his career with the Thompsonville Fire Dept. as a
volunteer in the early 1960’s and became a full time Firefighter in
1965. Throughout his career as Captain, he became a pillar of the
Thompsonville Fire Dept.. He was known as a street smart outstanding
firefighter, who trained many younger members of the department,
especially through his example. He retired after 31 years of active
service in 1996. Pat was a Charter Member of the
International Association of Fire Fighters Local 3059 when it
was organized in 1986. He was an
Air Force veteran
of the Korean War
and a member of the Tanguay-Magill Post #80
American Legion and Patrick F. Triggs Post #1501 VFW. He was
also a member of AARP.
Pat is survived by his two sons, William J. Higgins of
Patrick C. Higgins, and his wife Julie, of Somers; a brother, Alfred
Higgins of Enfield; and two granddaughters, Brandy Lee LaBoda and
Caleigh Higgins; and several great grandchildren. He was predeceased
by his brother
Francis Higgins and three sisters, Rita Morrison, June Swols,
and Blanche Curtis.
Family and friends may gather at the Leete-Stevens Enfield Chapels
on Wed. at 10:45 a.m. for a funeral procession, passing the
Thompsonville Fire Station, to the Enfield Street Cemetery where
graveside services, with Military Honors will be held at 12 noon.
Pat’s family will receive relatives and friends at the Leete-Stevens
Enfield Chapels, 61 South Rd. on Monday and Tuesday, from 4 – 8
p.m.. Memorial donations may be made to the Enfield Community
Ambulance Fund, PO Box 1249,
Enfield, CT 06083.
Copyright © 2003-2007 THOMPSONVILLE FIRE DEPT.
Same Obituary can be found at
A mention of his retirement to Congress on January 24, 1996
-TRIBUTE TO CAPT. PATRICK L. HIGGINS ON HIS RETIREMENT-
HON. NANCY L.
JOHNSON OF CONNECTICUT IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Wednesday, January 24, 1996
Mrs. JOHNSON of
Connecticut. Mr. Speaker, it is with pride and great respect
that I rise
to recognize the retirement of Capt. Patrick L.Higgins from the
Thompsonville fire district in
after 30 years of unparalleled and dedicated service. Throughout his
career he has been active in his community, not only through his
role in public safety, but
also with his membership in such organizations as the VFW. In 1969,
early in his career with the fire department, Captain Higgins
traveled to Wisconsin to pick up and deliver Thompsonville’s first
firefighting foam unit. Later, although not known for being foam
unit specialists, Captain Higgins led his department to victory in
competitions at Westover Air Force Base, defeating the renowned
Westover department in foam unit firefighting. Captain Higgins was
born and raised in Thompsonville and is married, with two children.
Today we pay tribute to his years of valiant service and outstanding
contributions and wish him well in all his future endeavors.
- Webmaster's Findings -
1930; Census Place: Enfield, Hartford, Connecticut; Roll: 261; Page:
15B; Enumeration District: 129; Image: 371 (No Image Available)
William Higgins 35 b. Conn., Father b. Irish Free State, Mother b.
Occupation: Clerk at Carpet Factory
Angaline Higgins 35
Alfred Higgins 14
Lorita Higgins 12
Blanche Higgins 11
Francis Higgins 8
Patrick Higgins 1/12
HIGGINS WILLIAM 24 M W CT CT HARTFORD ENFIELD THOMPSONVILLE 1920
William Higgins 24
Angelina Higgins 24
Alfred Higgins 4 6/12
Dorita Higgins 2 3/12
Blanche Higgins 9/12
A related obituary
Inquirer - (Jan/29/2004)
June E. (Higgins) Swols - 11 Jun 1933 - 20 Jan 2004
June E. (Higgins) Swols, 70, of Enfield, widow of Theodore
J. Swols, entered into eternal peace on Tuesday January 20,
2004, at home.
A lifelong resident of Enfield, she was born June 11, 1933, the
daughter of the late William and Angelina Higgins. June was past
president of the Hazardville Baseball Woman's Auxiliary.
She is survived by a son and daughter-in-law, Richard and Kimann
Swols of Windsor
Locks; a daughter, Kathleen Swols of
her very special and loving grandsons, Jason and Justin Swols, the
pride and joy of her life, also her other grandsons, Christopher and
Dennis Swols; and three great grandsons and a great granddaughter.
She is also survived by two brothers, Alfred and Patrick Higgins,
both of Enfield, and many nieces, nephews, and cousins. Besides her
husband, Ted, and son, Dennis, she was predeceased by a brother,
Francis Higgins and a sister, Blanche Curtis.
Funeral services for June will be held on Friday, January 23, 2004,
at 7 p.m. from Browne Memorial Funeral Chapels and Cremation
Service, 43 Shaker Rd., Enfield.
Her family will receive relatives and friends prior to the service
from 4 to 7 p.m. Interment will be at the convenience of the family.
©Journal Inquirer 2004
(see web link for photograph)
IN MEMORIAM OF LIEUTENANT TIMOTHY HIGGINS
NEW YORK CITY FIRE DEPARTMENT
KILLED WHILE IN SERVICE TO THE CITIZENS OF NEW YORK
ON SEPTEMBER 11, 2001 AT THE WORLD TRADE CENTER.
St. Martin's Church
on Sunday, September 30, 2001, at 1030 hours Knickerbocker and Hancock St.
Lt. Timothy Higgins, 43, of Farmingville, New York
Updated: Wednesday, October 10
Band of Brothers
NY Post Online Photo Courtesy NY Post
HAPPIER TIMES: Timothy Higgins (second from right), who died in the Twin Towers attacks, stands with his
firefighting family - brothers Joe (left) and Michael, dad Ed (center) and brother Bob (right).
October 10, 2001 -- After firefighter Timothy Higgins
went missing while saving lives at the World Trade
Center, his four brothers - three firefighters and a cop - made a pact that they wouldn't stop searching
until he was recovered.
"We told ourselves, ‘We're going to keep digging until
we find him or we die trying,' " said his brother Bob,
41, a fire lieutenant. "We wanted to do it for the family, just give Tim some dignity and bring him
The brothers knew Timothy might never be found, but they remained positive. "We knew our chances were slim," said brother Joe, 40,
of Ladder Co. 111. "But we made a pact that some
member of the Higgins family would be involved in the recovery at all times.
"My father [retired firefighter Ed Higgins] always
told us to stick up for each other, and that's what we
On Sept. 23, around 9:30 p.m., Joe and his brothers Bob and Michael, 46, who recently retired from Ladder
Co. 108 in Williamsburg, took a short break from the search.
It was then that Timothy's body was finally pulled
from the debris of the north tower. The men got a radio call to return to the scene at
"When we got there, I saw a body wrapped in an
American flag," Bob said. "I looked at Battalion Chief
Tommy Richardson and said, ‘What do you got?' He said, ‘This is Tim.'"
Tradition calls for the company to carry their fallen
comrades down the hill, but Bob asked if he and his
brothers could help.
"As we were taking him down, I thought how lucky we were, and how bad I felt for those who would never
feel this kind of closure," said Joe.
The 43-year-old lieutenant from Farmingville, L.I., was laid to rest at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in
Lake Ronkonkoma last Thursday.
He had distinguished himself over a 23-year career, showing valor in emergencies, teaching rookies the
ropes and recently reconfiguring the department's SCUBA rescue operations.
Higgins, whom his brothers describe as "the ultimate
family man," leaves behind a wife, Caren, 39, two
daughters, Catie, 15, and Cody, 13, and son Christopher, 17.
All three firefighter brothers, and the youngest,
Matt, 35, a police sergeant at the 112th Precinct in
Queens who also aided in the recovery effort, were at the site on the day of the attack.
Bob was at his post in Brooklyn when he saw the first tower fall from his office's seventh-story window. He
and some co-workers commandeered a city bus and rushed to the site.
"When we got there, I saw one of the guys who knew my
brother. He said he last saw Timmy on the 20th floor,
and told him they were evacuating," said Bob. "Timmy said, ‘I know, I'll meet
ya, I'll meet ya.' And he and
his men all headed straight up the stairs."
Their dad, Ed, 72, spent 32 years in the Fire
Department before retiring in 1988 as a captain at
Engine Co. 227 in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn.
Joe remembers how their father guided the boys as they followed in his footsteps, and how the whole family
took pride in their jobs. "We felt a little special. It was like ‘Want something
done? Call the Higgins brothers,' " Joe said.
caption for photo
Photo Courtesy NY Post
HAPPIER TIMES: Timothy Higgins (second from right),
who died in the Twin Towers attacks, stands with his firefighting family - brothers Joe (left) and Michael,
dad Ed (center) and brother Bob (right)
. . . . . . . .
A fireman's freak tragedy
By Julian Walker Times Staff Writer
Ironic and tragic. Those two words best describe the events that occurred on the morning of Wednesday, Oct.
11, when an automobile occupied by the wife and adult daughter of a Northeast fire department captain
collided with an oncoming vehicle while the two women were on their way to the funeral of a retired
firefighter who had died days earlier.
The collision killed the daughter, Bridgetann Higgins,
27, of the 3100 block of Byberry Road, and seriously
injured her mother, Winifred Higgins, 50, who was admitted to the intensive-care unit of Frankford
Hospital, Torresdale Campus. She was in guarded
condition as the Times went to press this week. On the
day of the accident, Winifred Higgins, accompanied by
her daughter, was driving to St. Bernard Church in Mayfair for the funeral of retired firefighter Dave
At about 9:45 a.m., she got lost while driving the family's 1994 Chevrolet Lumina northbound on Rowland
Avenue, near Sheffield Avenue. She noticed a group of bicycle cops on the roadway and pulled over to ask for
directions to the church.
According to 15th district Capt. Thomas Healey, one of
the bike cops, who was among a group of officers from
across the city participating in a training session
that day, told Higgins that she would have to double-
back toward Bleigh Avenue to reach St. Bernard.
According to the police department's accident
investigation division, Higgins attempted to make a
left U- turn on Rowland, just north of Sheffield. The car was struck on the passenger side by an oncoming
2000 Dodge Durango that was headed southbound on Rowland, said police.
Bridgetann Higgins, who was seated on the passenger side, suffered the brunt of the impact. She was
pronounced dead at the hospital.
Her mother suffered several serious injuries,
including cracked ribs and a collapsed lung. Authorities said the driver of the other car, Diana
Greco, of Bensalem, suffered minor injuries in the crash. Greco will not be charged in the accident
because she had the right of way, said Healey.
Ironically, at the same time that his wife and daughter were involved in the collision, Capt. Bob
Higgins was delivering a eulogy at the funeral of Eberle, the retired fireman.
Eberle, 87, had died at Nazareth Hospital on Oct. 7,
nine days after being admitted for treatment of a
He was last stationed at the Philadelphia Fire
Department's Engine 62, at Bustleton Avenue and Bowler
Street. After suffering a knee injury in 1972, Eberle was made to retire by the department, firefighters at
the Bustleton firehouse told the Northeast Times last week.
Though he no longer was on the active roster, Eberle
-- a former bodybuilder who lifted weights well into
his 60s -- visited the fire station once a week to talk with the boys of Platoon B and reminisce about
days gone by.
During the last two decades, particularly after the
loss of his wife Victoria to cancer in 1984, Eberle
became a fixture at the Bustleton firehouse and at other Northeast stations. That was how Capt. Higgins,
who was stationed at Engine 62 in the early 1990s, came to meet and befriend Dave
"Once a week, (Higgins) and the guys would take him
out to lunch, to the doctor's office, shopping or
whatever he needed," explained Engine 56 firefighter Tom Gabor. "When he couldn't drive anymore, Bobby and
the guys would pick him up and bring him to the station for dinner."
When Eberle died, Higgins and his friend Chris Myers,
a firefighter at Engine 36, at Frankford and Hartel
avenues, organized a local memorial effort among city firefighters, many of whom attended the funeral in
full dress uniform.
That kind of selflessness is the hallmark of Bob
Higgins' character, say friends and co-workers, making
the tragic car crash all the more shocking.
"Everybody is shocked," said Lt. Rudy Wilson of Engine 56, at Rhawn Street and Verree Road, where Higgins
presently is stationed. "Everyone is devastated because this is such a nice family and out of nowhere
a freak accident like this happens."
Aside from caring for Eberle and helping with the
man's funeral arrangements, Higgins could always be
counted on to help, regardless of the cause or the time commitment, his colleagues said.
"Here's Bobby Higgins taking care of somebody again
and then this happens to him," said firefighter Earl
Montebello, of Engine 62.
Other firefighters remembered moments when Higgins had an impact on their lives.
"He was my lieutenant and he helped me study for my
lieutenant test, while he was studying for his
captain's test. As the best of friends, we studied together all the time," said Lt. Sam Ludwig, of Engine
70 at Foulkrod Street and Roosevelt Boulevard, as he recalled their time together at Bustleton's Engine 62.
Higgins is admired outside the fire department as
"Bob is the godfather of my middle daughter
Elizabeth," noted Lt. Frank Bachmayer, of the 25th
Police District. "Whatever you would need, Bob and his family would do it for you, especially Bridget(ann).
He was just the most thoughtful person I've ever come in contact with."
According to fellow firefighters, Higgins donned a
Santa Claus costume each year and visited children's
hospitals, orphanages, and the homes of friends to surprise their kids.
Sometimes, Higgins dressed as Sparky, the fire-safety
Dalmatian, and visited area schools to talk about fire
prevention. The fire captain also submitted several articles to the Times on that same topic.
Higgins' daughter Bridgetann -- who throughout her life suffered from heart defects and spina
congenital condition in which the spinal cord protrudes through the spinal column -- played the role
of chief elf alongside her father's Santa, distributing gifts and offering holiday cheer to the
"She was a big part of what he did. She was just
always trying to help people," Ludwig added.
Bridgetann was an active member of St. Anselm Church
in Parkwood Manor, where once a week she taught
Christianity doctrine classes to public school
children to prepare them for taking the sacrament,
said Monsignor James J. Shields.
Bridgetann Higgins also was involved with the church's outreach program and visited the sick, poor and hungry
in the Northeast and Kensington, added Shields.
Bob Higgins also has a son, John, who is a police
officer with the 26th Police District in Fishtown.
According to friends, the loss of Bridgetann will be felt deeply by the Higgins family. Funeral services
for her were held Tuesday at St. Anselm Church.
"This is just a heartbreaking tragedy, that something
like this could happen to a guy like that . . . she
was his life," said Capt. James Higgins, a family friend and head of the fire department's safety
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Bridgetann Higgins' memory to: The Higgins
Family Fund, c/o Local 22 city firefighters union, 415 N. Fifth St., Philadelphia, PA 19123.
RELATED LINKS: IN SERVICE To
- USA Federal Gov't
- USA Presidents
- Police Department
information compiled by Michael James
Top of Page