A Massachusetts firefighter who died after battling a fast-moving blaze in an apartment building before dawn Sunday was honored with a procession from Worcester to Boston and then back to Worcester on Monday.
Christopher Roy, 36, was a 2-year veteran of the Worcester Fire Department and leaves behind a 9-year-old daughter and other family members, Worcester Fire Chief Michael Lavoie said.
His family was present during the procession on Monday.
"He was a wonderful person," said Deputy Fire Chief Martin Dyer of the Worcester Fire Department. "He loved the job."
Funeral services for Roy were announced with calling hours to be held at St. John's Catholic Church at 44 Temple St. in Worcester on Friday, Dec. 14, from 4 to 8 p.m. and the funeral to be held at the same church on Dec. 15 at 10 a.m.
The fire in the six-unit building was reported at about 4 a.m. There were no reports of injuries to tenants. Another firefighter was also taken to the hospital but was later released.
Roy's death comes days after Worcester marked 19 years since six city firefighters were killed battling a warehouse fire on Dec. 3, 1999. Another Worcester firefighter died in the line of duty on Dec. 8, 2011.
"This is a difficult day for the Worcester Fire Department and particularly painful as this is the week we remember and mourn the passing of Worcester firefighter Jon Davies and the six who perished in the Cold Storage Warehouse fire," Lavoie said during a news conference Sunday at fire headquarters.
The fire appears to have started in the basement, but "conditions deteriorated rapidly," the chief said.
Roy, a Shrewsbury resident, was among five firefighters trapped on the second floor.
"With the assistance of other crews and the rapid intervention team, five firefighters escaped over ladders. Two firefighters were transported to the local hospital," Lavoie said.
City Manager Edward Augustus Jr. called Roy's death an "unimaginably devastating loss."
The loss is "especially gut-wrenching" given the timing, he said.
"Everybody's hurting today," said a lifelong Shrewsbury resident named Peg. "Everybody's broken heart, heavy hearts."
A steady stream of community members and perfect strangers have visited Webster Square Fire Station, where Roy was based out of, to pay their respects.
"He went into save someone that wasn't there and didn't make it out," Joan Tolson said. "That could be me."
Two-year-old Sammy Tach Jr. was dressed as a firefighter during his visit to the fire station to show his appreciation.
"We feel bad," Sammy Tach Sr. said. "Very sad for the day, for Worcester."
The cause of the fire remains under investigation with assistance from the state Fire Marshal's office.