Waterbury firefighter's widow to sue city

Saturday, October 13, 2007 12:04 AM EDT

WATERBURY — Attorneys for Monica Keane, the widow of fire Capt. John Keane, filed notice with the City Clerk on Friday announcing their intention to file a wrongful death suit against the city and others involved in the fatal fire engine collision in May.

The suit, which will be filed in about a month, faces several obstacles before it gets started, according to Garret M. Moore, Keane's lawyer.

Moore's notice to the city sites a law that makes municipalities liable when an employee is injured by another worker who is negligent while driving a city vehicle.

The claim asserts that fire drivers Joseph Fischetti and William Mahoney were negligent "in the operation of their respective vehicles."

Moore said the law in question specifically exempts firefighters and the first challenge of the case will be convincing the courts to reverse that provision.

"There is no reason why firefighters should have less rights than other city employees," Moore said.

Around 10 a.m. on May 19 while responding to a reported kitchen fire, Engine 12 and Truck 1 entered the same East Aurora Street intersection and collided, throwing John Keane and Fischetti from the engine.

Keane succumbed to his injuries three days later.

A subsequent Waterbury Police investigation into the accident determined that no one in Engine 12, on which Keane was the ranking officer, was wearing a seatbelt.

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