The grieving Worcester, Massachusetts community is saying goodbye to a fallen hero with calling hours on Friday and a funeral on Saturday.
Calling hours were held Friday for Worcester Fire Department firefighter 36-year-old Christopher Roy, who died after responding to a 5-alarm apartment fire in the city on Sunday. The Shrewsbury resident was among five firefighters who were trapped on the second floor of the building before they escaped through a ladder.
"Between today and tomorrow, we're going to have an appropriate send-off for Chris to show the way the fire service comes together to take care of one of its brothers," Worcester Fire Department Deputy Chief Martin Dyer said Friday. "Only the fire service understands what it is that we do every day, and we really appreciate the community coming out for us to remember Chris and to honor his service and sacrifice."
Roy's death is the eighth fatality the department has experienced in the past two decades. In 1999, a fire killed six firefighters. In 2011, another firefighter was killed while battling a blaze.
"Obviously we've been there before with the tragedies in 1999 and 2011," Worcester Fire Chief Michael Lavoie said. "It doesn't get any easier. This is a devastating loss and it's taken its toll."
A procession started at 1 p.m. as the casket traveled to St. John's church. A firefighter walk-by of the church to salute Roy took place around 3 p.m.
Roy will be laid to rest at Notre Dame Cemetery on Saturday, following funeral services that will also be held at St. John’s church at 10 a.m.
There will be a procession before the funeral, and another afterward that will stop at three Worcester fire stations, including Webster Square, where Roy was assigned. His firefighter gear will be on display during that stop.
Roy was commemorated in two processions on Monday. He leaves behind his 9-year-old daughter, Ava, and other family members.
Worcester Firefighters IAFF Local 1009 has established a memorial fund in the name of Ava Roy. Those who wish to contribute can make a check payable to the AVA ROY FUND and send it to:
Worcester Fire Department Credit Union
34 Glennie St.
Worcester, MA 01605