Local officials fondly remember ‘Griff’

Longtime Prospect Fire Marshal Keith Griffin, who died Feb. 14, is pictured in front of the Prospect firehouse. –CONTRIBUTED

PROSPECT — If something needed to be done, local officials said Keith “Griff” Griffin was there to do it.

“He was just a nice guy. He was ready to do anything for anyone, whether it was during a fire call, a medical call, or just doing things around the fire house,” Mayor Robert Chatfield said.

Griffin, who served as fire marshal for the Prospect Volunteer Fire Department for nearly 25 years, died on Feb. 14 after a battle with cancer. Funeral services were held Feb. 18.

Griffin joined the Prospect Volunteer Fire Department more than 40 years ago. According to a press release issued by the department, Griffin held a number of positions during his time with the department, including fire marshal, lieutenant, treasurer, and managing communications logistics.

Griffin’s dedication to the department went beyond just the roles he held, Fire Chief William Lauber said.

“He did everything from helping to restock the soda machine to making runs when we needed to get food to plan events, and even playing Santa when the department adopted local families,” Lauber said. “Everything he did he always did with a smile on his face.”

In addition to serving in the fire department, Griffin retired from Northwest Public Safety as an emergency dispatcher and served in the U.S. Navy for more than 20 years.

Wherever Griffin found himself stationed while serving in the Navy, he would join the local volunteer fire department, Chatfield said.

Griffin not only responded to countless fires and accidents, but delivered eight babies, including one in Prospect, Chatfield said.

Chatfield said Griffin was the longest serving fire marshal in Prospect not just because he was passionate about the job but because he was good at it.

“Being the fire marshal is not easy because you have to enforce rules and regulations that people are not aware of,” Chatfield said. “He had a way with people. If you did something wrong, he had a nice way of putting it.”

Over the past eight months, Griffin served as interim fire marshal in Beacon Falls, too.

Beacon Hose Company No. 1 Fire Chief Brian DeGeorge, who has known Griffin for many years, said he was an invaluable asset to the volunteer company.

“He lived by the radio. He monitored it constantly. If we had a fire where I needed him, he was calling me before I had a chance to call him. He was definitely dedicated,” DeGeorge said.

No matter what was happening, DeGeorge said, Griffin maintained a calm and kind demeanor.

“I don’t think anything bothered him. He was kind all the time. I have never seen him upset or rattled. He went through life at one calm pace. It made him very good in the services he did as fire marshal and dispatcher,” DeGeorge said.

Chatfield said the department will have a tough time filling all the roles Griffin performed.

“It is going to take so many people to replace him. But there will never be another Keith Griffin,” Chatfield said.

Lauber echoed Chatfield’s sentiments, saying the department would have to step up to take on all the tasks Griffin did by himself.

“We have some big shoes to fill and many hats to distribute,” Lauber said.

The town has appointed Deputy Fire Marshal Tony Muniz as the new fire marshal.

Chatfield said the one thing Griffin loved more than serving his community was his family, which included his three children and grandchildren.

“He was an all-around good guy,” Chatfield said.