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  Updated: 26 Feb 2009


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                     - 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 Springfield.

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. Patrick’s Church.

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 Enfield and 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

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
Enfield, CT, after 30 years of unparalleled and dedicated service. Throughout his exceptional
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)
Name Age
William Higgins 35  b. Conn., Father b. Irish Free State, Mother b. Eng.
Occupation: Clerk at Carpet Factory
Angaline Higgins 35 
Alfred Higgins 14 
Lorita Higgins 12 
Blanche Higgins 11 
Francis Higgins
Patrick Higgins 1/12 

Name Age
William Higgins 24 
Angelina Higgins 24 
Alfred Higgins 4 6/12 
Dorita Higgins 2 3/12 
Blanche Higgins 9/12 

A related obituary
Source: Journal 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 East Hartford; 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)

Timothy Higgins
Lieutenant Special Operations
Prayer Service

St. Martin's Church on Sunday, September 30, 2001, at 1030 hours Knickerbocker and Hancock St. Brooklyn, NY

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 home." 

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 did." 

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 once. 

"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)

. . . . . . . .

October 18,2000
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 Eberle.

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 broken hip.

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 Eberle.

"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 well.

"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 bifida, a 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 youths.

"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 office.

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. 

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