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Worcester Community Reacts to Firefighter’s Death

The Worcester community is mourning the loss of a firefighter who died Sunday morning battling a house fire.

"This is a big loss to our area right now," Worcester resident Janice Kalmowitz said.

A memorial grew throughout the day as the community remembered Christopher Roy, 36, of Shrewsbury. He died fighting a five-alarm blaze at a house on Lowell Street early Sunday.

"I have family in firefighting, so it's close to home," Darlene Olson, a former Worcester resident, said.

Roy's neighbor Tim Harrold says he was saddened by the news of his death.

"You can't put words to it," he said. "He was such a nice guy."

When he wasn't at work, Harrold says Roy would be doing yard work and spending time with his 9-year-old daughter.

"He was a pretty hard worker. He was a great dad. His daughter was always running around here," Harrold said.

Many people knew Roy as a firefighter, but Harrold knew him as a friendly neighbor who lived on the other side of their Shrewsbury duplex.

"We shared a house together, so you'd see him all the time. He was always one to wave or always one to at least say, 'Hello,' or try to have a conversation with you," he said.

Throughout the day, people dropped off flowers at the Webster Square fire station where Roy worked as part of Ladder Four. Flags flew at half-staff and black buntings hung outside.

"It's tough with the holidays," Tom Gerolomo, a Worcester resident, said.

One little girl left a drawing showing firefighters fighting flames.

Kalmowitz never met Roy, but still feels a connection to the tragedy.

"This station is my neighborhood, and these firefighters have helped my family out quite a bit," she said.

She left flowers at the station, and couldn't hold back her tears thinking about Roy's family, especially his 9-year-old daughter.

"That's even more emotional, too, especially at this time of year," she said. "There's no words, there's just no words."

The Greg Hill Foundation will host a fundraiser for the Roy family tomorrow. The organization says it will match donations up to $10,000.

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