'It is very rewarding': Wilton Fire Department names new captain

WILTON — With a ceremonial handing over of the captain’s helmet by Deputy Chief John Plofkin, the Wilton Fire Department named William Wilson as the new town fire captain on Friday at its headquarters on Danbury Road.

Wilson started with the Wilton Fire Department in 2005, when he was just 19.

“It is almost 16 years to the day (I was hired) that I’ve been promoted,” Wilson said on Friday.

His last promotion was in 2015, earning the title of fire lieutenant within the department.

Prior to that, he served under various captains and, upon Capt. Jim Gies’ retirement, gained experience serving as the acting captain in the interim, before Capt. Brian Elliot was assigned to the unit.

Initially, Wilson had no intent of becoming a full-time fire department member. At first, he chose to volunteer his time with the Trumbull Fire Department while in pursuit of a different goal.

“Actually, I wanted to be a high school math teacher,” Wilson said. “But as soon as I joined the volunteers, I really fell in love with the fire service.”

Wilson’s “huge pivot in life,” as he deemed it, came because of an appreciation for the work that he found fulfilling.

“You know, you do all the small things for somebody, it makes a huge difference in their life,” Wilson said. “It is very rewarding in that way.”

He added that, especially as a young man, there was an excitement about answering the call.

“That adrenaline rush,” Wilson said, really called to him as a 19-year-old. Even now, he said he still feels that adrenaline rush when the department’s help is beckoned, but his focuses remain what they always have been, which is to carry out each procedure as carefully as possible and “professionally responding” to every call received.

Wilson said he felt a special bond with many of his department cohort and superiors that made his decision to pursue this career choice full-time a bit easier.

He said he has learned from all of the officers he has worked with, and appreciates each of their contributions and will also have a bond with anyone who graced the fireman’s helmet.

“And the guys at firehouse in Wilton, that goes without saying,” Wilson said, explaining how close his department is. “We are with each other for 24 hours at a time. I know what’s going in in their life at all times, and they know what is going on in mine.”

Wilson has earned various certifications, including as a fire officer and incident safety officer. He also serves as an EMT, serves on the department’s Health and Safety Committee, oversees its hazmat meter program and is the most recent member of the Fairfield County Hazardous Materials Team.

After being told he would rise to the ranks of captain just over a month ago, Wilson said he wanted to thank all of the captains and leiutenants that helped him get to this position. Reflecting back, that is what he remembers most.

“I think of the support I’ve had from other officers, and with past captains and leiutenants,” he said.

Various members of the department and Wilson’s family were in attendance and congratulated him at the event. A number of retired fire department officers even made the trip to see Wilson sworn in.

When asked what a 19-year-old Wilson would have said if told of Friday’s news, 16 years after starting in the department, the new captain was candid.

“I probably wouldn’t have believed you,” he said.