Bristol, Warren mourn loss of Louis "Chi Chi" Cirillo


He was a long-time member of the Bristol Fire Department, but Louis J. “Chi Chi” Cirillo was well-known to generations of fire fighters in Warren, too. News of his passing late Sunday night hit Warren Fire Chief Al Galinelli particularly hard.

“We had a lot of laughs, a lot of laughs,” the chief said Monday morning. “We went way back, back to the 60s.”

Back in the old days, fire fighters from each town would often come out to lend a hand and observe at fires in the other community. Chief Galinelli said Chi Chi was always there, and was a hell of a guy. Funny, hard-working and generous.

“He was a funny guy too,” he said.

One story stands out: Bristol fire crews were fighting a blaze at the corner of Metacom Avenue and Annawamscutt Drive well after midnight and Mr. Cirillo, a pump operator, was set up at the corner of Chestnut Street. Galinelli went over to visit his friend and when he got there, Chi Chi pulled him aside.

“Hey, do me a favor,” he says. “I left my glasses at home and I can’t see what I’m doing. Am I giving them (fire fighters) enough flow?

“I said, ‘Sure, you’re doing fine,’” Chief Galinelli recalled. “But how did you drive here without your glasses?”

“Oh, I can see fine, I just can’t see the numbers,” he said.

Over his years of volunteerism, Chi Chi saw plenty of numbers, many fires, and made lots of friends. Members of the Cirillo family are meeting at Sansone Funeral Home in Bristol today to go over arrangements, and a date for services has not yet been set.

When the time comes, Chief Galinelli said he’ll be there, and he’ll offer Bristol any help it needs as department members pay their respects to their friend.

“If they need an engine to cover the town for the services, we’ll provide that,” he said. “There’s going to be a lot of people paying their respects to him. Great guy.”


3 comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment

It is an honor to have known Chi Chi Cirillo, a grand, sweet, and generous man. All of Bristol is the lesser today for his loss.

Chi Chi, you and yours are in my prayers.

Monday, August 25, 2014 | Report this

A fun, always laughing, sweet man. We will miss him at Stop & Shop. God bless Mr. C and to all his family and many friends our condolences.

Monday, August 25, 2014 | Report this

Great working along side Chi Chi. Hard working and compassionate. My best to his family.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014 | Report this

2016 by East Bay Newspapers

Barrington · Bristol · East Providence · Little Compton · Portsmouth · Prudence Island · Riverside · Rumford · Seekonk · Tiverton · Warren · Westport
Meet our staff
Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.