On the morning of November 6, 1981, a fire erupted at the Knights of Columbus Hall behind St. Mary's Church in Simsbury. The fire started in the garage and quickly extended throughout the second floor. The fire was well underway when the first units arrived on-scene. Approximately sixty-five firefighters answered the call that morning. Crews went to work to bring the fire under control. Roof ventilation operations were ordered, and teams began to advance hose lines by several different points of access. Lieutenant Richard Kelleher was with a team on an exterior stairway helping to take a line to the second floor when he collapsed. Lt. Richard Kelleher died that morning of an apparent heart attack and sadly became the Simsbury Volunteer Fire Company's first and only line of duty death. He was thirty-seven years young.