Wilton Fire Department Promotes Two to Captain, Lieutenant

Michael Blatchley was promoted to Captain on May 16, 2022. Here, Deputy Chief John Plofkin hands him his Captain's helmet. (photo: GMW)

Monday morning, May 16, the Wilton Fire Department celebrated the promotion of two of its longtime dedicated firefighters.

Brian Montgomery was sworn in as a lieutenant. Montgomery started with the Wilton Fire Department as a firefighter/EMT in 2013. He has training as Fire Officer II, Fire Instructor II, Hazmat Technician, and EMT and has numerous technical rescue certifications. Before moving to the U.S., Montgomery served in the Royal Air Force and has a bachelor’s degree in engineering, and is currently enrolled at the American Military University for a master’s degree in emergency management.

Montgomery’s fire experience began with Shaker Road Loudonville Fire Department (NY) from 1993-2000, then with the Ossining Fire Department (NY) from 2003, where he reached the rank of Captain. He has also been a Special Operations Team member for the Westchester Dept. of Emergency Services since 2006. He has served on the Wilton Fire Department Health and Safety Committee as well as on several truck replacement committees. He currently lives in Ossining, NY with his wife Sue and their children Liam and Emma.

“In short, he’s been a very reliable person for our fire department,” Chief Jim Blanchfield told the crowd at the ceremony.

Michael Blatchley was promoted to Captain. He was also hired by the Wilton Fire Department as a Firefighter/EMT in 2013, and has trained to EMT, Fire Instructor I, Fire Officer I, Confined Space Technician, and Trench Rescue Technician. He also worked part-time at AMR New Haven as an EMT/Field Training Officer from 1998-2021.

Blatchley has over 31 years of total fire department experience, starting as a teenager with the Bethany Volunteer Fire Department in 1991. He started as a career firefighter with the New Haven Fire Department starting in 1997 and was promoted to Lieutenant in 2009. He did two details at the New Haven Fire Training Academy, one as an adjunct instructor for the recruit program and a second to conduct training for the new drivers in the New Haven Fire Department.

In Wilton, Blatchley has served on the WFD Health and Safety Committee and is the current vice president for the Wilton Firefighters Local 2233. He lives in Hamden with his wife Joanna and their children Ryan, Eli, Ari, and Maya.

During his opening remarks, Chief Blanchfield spoke about the history and meaning of service in Wilton.

“Many times in this building, you will hear the firefighters speak fondly of those who came before them and who taught us the ins and outs of this department and the town of Wilton. We respect our history here, as much as we look forward to the future. With that in mind, we move forward as a department. It is with great pride we are here today to swear in officially two new fire officers,” he said.

He talked about the testing, coursework and hard work all the firefighters in Wilton do, and what’s required of those who become officers.

“We have a certain amount of years in this department that are required to become an officer. We follow that up with a written test with a very exhaustive reading list. We have oral examinations in front of officers from other departments for the candidates and then evaluations from our own people ensure it’s a gauntlet in this department to become a fire officer,” he said.

The Chief also acknowledged the commitment and sacrifice that comes not just from the candidates but from their families — perhaps more so, he said, asking the attendees to offer a round of applause for the families of those being promoted as well as the other members of the department.

“I don’t think without their support our people could get that done. That includes not just the individuals up here, but we have lots of individuals in our department to take these tests, and so I wouldn’t mind the round of applause for the families who make sure that that all gets done.”

Wilton includes family members in the promotion ceremony as each of the officers’ spouses pinned on their new badges.

After Montgomery and Blatchley were sworn in, Chief Blanchfield remarked, “I’ve worked with both of them on the line. I’m confident that these two individuals are a big part of our bright future here in the Wilton Fire Department.”