The man who died by suicide this morning on the University of Connecticut Avery Point campus was a Poquonnock Bridge firefighter and owner of a fitness center in Groton who had raised thousands of dollars for various causes in the community.
Tim Devine, 30, a firefighter with Poquonnock Bridge for four years and owner of CrossFit Groton, died after a standoff with negotiators on the shoreline. A building on the campus was locked down overnight.
Todd M. Paige, chief of the Poquonnock Bridge Department, said in a prepared statement:
“Firefighter Devine was a dedicated firefighter with an exemplary record who took great pride in serving the community. He was employed by the department for the past 4 years.
“The Poquonnock Bridge Fire Department is deeply saddened by the sudden loss and is extending their support to his family at this extremely difficult time.”
A firefighter at the station said firefighters are shocked and trying to cope with the loss.
CrossFit Groton had a sign posted on the door saying the business was closed until further notice.
“Tim was one of the most positive people I’ve ever met in my entire life,” said Jason Combs, a client and a trainer at the gym. “He changed so many lives for the better, through his gym and with him giving back to the community. And the world is shortchanged now that he is not here.”
Combs said Devine ran races to raise funds for the Wounded Warrior program and raised more than $3,000 for St. Jude’s Hospital in June with a fundraiser at his gym. Just last Sunday, he raised more than $2,000 for the organization “Autism Speaks."
“And that’s just a sample of what he did,” Combs said. “On top of all the stuff he did at the gym, making people feel good about themselves, he was a firefighter. You can’t say enough about Tim Devine. The only person I’ve ever looked up to like him was my own dad.”
During an interview in January 2011, Devine said he became certified in the Crossfit training program in September of that year.
During the interview about his involvement with CrossFit last year, he said he was moved to do something health-related for the station following the death of firefighter Todd Williamson to cancer.
Devine said at the time: "All our guys want to stay in shape. So if someone comes to me and says he wants to lose some weight, we work out a training program that also helps with the department's needs and firefighting skills — strength, agility, stamina. That way we both get what we want." Devine was a volunteer in Mystic for five years before joining Poquonnock Bridge. His father and grandfather also were firefighters.