NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — New Haven Firefighter Lieutenant Samod Rankins has been released from Bridgeport Hospital Sunday afternoon.
Lt. Rankins has been at the Bridgeport Hospital Burn Unit for over a week after recovering from serious injuries sustained in the New Haven fire on Valley Street that killed Firefighter Ricardo Torres Jr.
Lt. Rankins was celebrated while walking out of the hospital with his family by his side, community members, his fellow brothers and sisters from the New Haven Fire Department and the family of Firefighter Torres.
“It’s a big day to see Lt. Rankins coming out and making a come back here on the road to a speedy recovery,” said Captain John Towhill of the New Haven Fire Department.
Community leaders echoing the emotional sentiment of the day.
“It’s such a challenging time where often times it feels like we’re not together as a society. We’ve really come together as a community and it gives me a lot of hope,” said Mayor Justin Elicker.
Other fellow New Haven firefighters attending in solidarity with Lt. Rankins and his family.
“This moment was incredible, the amount of people that came out here to show their support for Lt. Rankins was unbelievable. Shows how strong our brotherhood and sisterhood is,” said Lt. Pat Scheiffele.
Lieutenant Rankins was not able to attend the Torres funeral, but he did watch our coverage from the hospital. At the funeral, New Haven’s fire chief told the story of visiting Rankins in the hospital, the lieutenant badly injured and unable to speak, but demanding pen and paper and writing: “Where’s Torres?”
Two other firefighters were also injured in that fire. The whole thing is still under investigation by the State Police Fire Marshals office.
One thing we do know for sure – two civilians would almost certainly have died in that blaze if firefighters had not risked and sacrificed their lives to go in and rescue them.
Saturday was Lt. Rankin’s 29th birthday. Friends told News 8 he is in good spirits as he continues to recover.
The family has a GoFundMe page in support of Lt. Rankins. We have a link to it here.