Family, colleagues, friends recall late former Northampton firefighter

  • ANDREW MORINI ANDREW MORINI

  • Andrew Morini with his children, Sophie, Henry and Colin. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 6/13/2020 4:17:02 PM

EASTHAMPTON — Andrew David Morini, a former Northampton Fire Rescue firefighter who retired last year after over 22 years on the force, died June 7 in Southampton. He was 49.

“No matter who you were, he treated everyone the same — he treated everyone with respect,” said Sophie Morini, 18, Andrew Morini’s daughter. “He just tried to make the best out of everyone.”

Morini’s daughter and his former colleagues and friends spoke to the late firefighter’s sense of humor and friendly demeanor.

“He was a good firefighter — he was a big strong kid and he worked hard. It sounds cliché, but he never said a bad word about anybody,” said Northampton Fire Chief Jon Davine. “He was pretty much friends with everybody.”

Morini was born in Northampton, graduated from Northampton High School, and lived in Easthampton.

Morini was found dead on privately held wooded land off Lead Mine and Cold Spring roads in Southampton on June 7 following a search involving members of the Northampton Fire Department. The Northwestern district attorney’s office has said the unattended death is not considered suspicious.

Sophie said she remembers her father’s ability to find a way to cheer her up whenever she was feeling down.

“He was really funny. He had a really good sense of humor and he could just make anybody laugh,” Sophie said. “There could be days where I just needed to talk to him and I wasn’t feeling well and there was always at least one thing that would come out of his mouth that would make me laugh.”

Davine recalled walking into the old fire station on Masonic Street on his first day on the job in 1998, where Morini, who went by Andy, showed him how to clean the bathrooms.

“He was probably the first person I met walking through the door,” Davine said.

Sophie has memories of calm nights that would quickly turn to her father picking up a guitar for his kids to sing along. Morini also had two sons, Colin Morini, 17, and Henry Morini, 12.

“It sounded awful, but it was just so much fun,” Sophie said. In addition to playing the guitar, her father played bass as well as drums and played in cover bands in the area.

Her father was also big into motorcycles, Sophie said — so much so that he first bought her a pit bike before a regular bicycle when she was younger.

“He grew up on motorcycles and he just decided to throw me on one one day, and I got it,” Sophie said. “It made riding a bike so much easier, too.”

Both Davine and retired Northampton firefighter Sam Soto fondly recollected working and spending time with Morini, as well as Morini’s cousin, Gene White, at the Florence fire station in the mid-2000s.

Soto remembers Morini always being the first one to step up to strange challenges in the fire station, such as the viral cinnamon challenge, where someone tries to eat a spoonful of cinnamon in 60 seconds without drinking anything. “He was constantly looking for something to make us laugh,” Soto said.

“He was always very affectionate — he would come up to me and give me a big hug,” Soto said. “And I’d tell him, ‘Hey, Andy, this is a little awkward, the hug’s going a bit too long,’ or something like that, and he would laugh.”

At the time, Soto said, he was a pump operator, Davine would take the lead, and White and Morini would be the firefighters who would go into a blaze.

Morini was a great firefighter who always stayed focused, Soto said, and his confidence would help everyone else stay comfortable.

“That year the four of us spent together in Florence was probably one of the best years I’ve ever had in this place,” Davine said.

Services were held for Morini on Saturday at the Czelusniak Funeral Home in Northampton. Davine said last week that members of Northampton Fire Rescue would be attending the service and that fire departments from Holyoke, Easthampton, Amherst and Greenfield had agreed to cover the city’s fire department’s calls during that time.

Michael Connors can be reached at mconnors@gazettenet.com.


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