A Worcester fire lieutenant who died in a 4-alarm fire overnight was responding to a report of a trapped baby and heroically sacrificed himself to get two of his fellow firefighters to safety.
Lt. Jason Menard was killed in the fire, leaving behind a wife and three children. The family had been scheduled to leave on a trip to Disney on Wednesday.
Below is a rundown of exactly how things unfolded, as described by Worcester Fire Chief Michael Lavoie:
- At 12:58 a.m. Wednesday, the Worcester Fire Department received a report of a structure fire at 7 Stockholm St. Additional calls reported a baby trapped on the third floor.
- The first arriving ladder company, Ladder 5, encountered heavy fire conditions on the second floor, extending to the third. Four alarms were quickly transmitted.
- Lavoie said Menard, along with his crew from Ladder 5, were making "heroic efforts" to search for a reported trapped resident, along with the baby, on the second floor.
- While gaining entry to the third floor, the crew of Ladder 5 became trapped by heavy fire conditions. Lavoie said Menard "heroically and selflessly saved his crew," helping a probationary firefighter to the stairs and then returning to rescue another trapped firefighter, assisting him out the window.
- Fire conditions overtook the third floor at this time, and Menard was unable to escape.
- Lavoie said firefighters on scene made "courageous and valiant efforts" under heavy fire conditions complicated by high winds and cold temperatures to rescue Menard, but he succumbed to his injuries.
- Menard and three other firefighters were taken to an area hospital. Two of the firefighters have been released and one remains hospitalized in serious but stable condition.
"He was a passionate fire officer who absolutely loved being a firefighter. He took his job very seriously, performed it admirably, and his dedication to the residents of Worcester was unwavering," Lavoie said.
City officials later said all residents were accounted for and it's unclear if there was ever a baby trapped in the burning building.