A New Haven firefighter was killed in an early morning crash in New Britain on Thursday just hours after his 37th birthday.
Police said Jeffrey O'Neil, 37, of New Britain, was a passenger in a vehicle that struck a utility pole in the area of Black Rock Avenue just east of Warren Street. O'Neil was pronounced dead at the scene.
O'Neil was a New Haven firefighter and member of Engine Company 17 at the East Grand fire station . He had just celebrated his birthday on Wednesday.
New Haven Fire Chief John Alston called O’Neil "dedicated fire safety professional, a quick study in fire science, and a well-liked, highly regarded member" of their company.
“His presence will be sorely missed. On behalf of the entire New Haven Fire Department I extend condolences to his family, with an assurance his well-deserved place in this department will not soon be forgotten," Alston said.
The driver, Yabey Oppenheimer, 37, of Hartford, was transported to the hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.
The area was closed to traffic during the investigation, but has since reopened.
No charges have been filed, according to police. They said the investigation into how the crash happened continues. Anyone with information about it is asked to contact Sgt. Steven King of the New Britain Police Department at 860-826-3071.
Counselors with the employee assistance program offered their services at the training school for any member of the fire department that needs them.
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