Dennis Fire announces Lieutenant passes away from occupational cancer

– Dennis Firefighters report with great sadness that they lost one of our own today. Lieutenant Paramedic Dan “Flippy” O’Connell fought a long battle with occupational cancer at the same time trying to remain positive and spread hope to his vast network of lifelong friends and colleagues. They ask that you please keep his family in your thoughts at this time.

Harwich Fire Chief David LeBlanc said “Our thoughts are with our Brothers and Sisters of the Dennis Fire Department ……

It is with profound sadness that I announce the passing of Lieutenant Dan “Flippy” O’Connell, Dennis Fire Department – retired.

Lieutenant O’Connell was a passionate and dedicated Firefighter, Paramedic, Union Member and United States Marine.

Our relationship with the Dennis Fire Department has always been strong and Flippy was the embodiment of this. The first to offer help, whenever we needed it, I personally will always remember his kindness and assistance as we prepared to lay our own to rest.

The world is a lot smaller this morning. We have lost a brother firefighter and a true friend of the Harwich Fire Department.

Effective immediately until further notice, the flags at the Harwich Fire Department will fly at half-staff in memory of Lieutenant Daniel O’Connell to occupational cancer.

Rest easy now, Flippy.”

Dennis Fire Chief Mark Dellner said: “The Dennis Fire Department regrets to announce the passing of Lieutenant Dan “Flippy” O’Connell on Saturday, February 27,2021, at his home in Naples, Florida.

Flip retired in November of 2019 line of duty due to the effects of occupational cancer on the job as a Firefighter/Paramedic in the Dennis Fire Department.

Over the years, even as he was receiving treatment, Flip worked tirelessly on educating the Cape & Islands fire service and firefighters from all over the Commonwealth on the hazards and preventative measures needed to avoid the sickness he and other firefighters were enduring with this deadly cancer. He was a major advocate of the Firefighter Cancer Bill submitted and endorsed by the Professional Firefighters of Massachusetts. The bill was named in part in the memory of Plymouth Firefighter Anthony Colarusso, to extend health benefits to firefighters with occupational exposures. Flip made it a priority to be present at the ceremony where the bill was signed into legislation on July 24, 2018 at the Lynn Fire Department.

As Flip continued on his long road oftreatment, he was well known for his smile, his laugh and his encouraging message to other firefighters. He also showed empathy and assisted other cancer patients during his illness, whether they were fellow firefighters or children dealing with cancer at Boston area hospitals where he was being treated.

Dan was a Dennis firefighter for 23 years, serving with honor and distinction at every level. He was well known in fire service circles as a true “Jake” in that his firefighting skills and command presence were an example for others to follow. He was always a participating presence as a Dennis Fire Department Honor Guard member at other firefighter’S funerals on Cape Cod, helping other Fire Departments lay their members to rest.

Lieutenant Dan O’Connell was an outstanding ambassador of the Dennis Fire Department and the fire service as a whole. He will be sorely missed by our firefighters and families for all he did in helping our members with numerous sponsored events and activities. Especially notable was his on-going support and work, as a founding member ofthe annual Mighty Meehan Road Race, each year benefiting childhood cancer. This event has raised well over $ 500,000 in memory of Turlough Meehan, the son of a fellow Dennis Firefighter Phelim Meehan.

The members ofthe Dennis Fire Department would like to thank all the Fire Departments and friends that have extended their condolences at this difficult time.

Flip has left a hole in our hearts but also left a legacy for others that follow in our profession.”
737 West Main Street
Hyannis, MA 02601
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