WORCESTER, Mass. (WPRI) — The Worcester Fire Department is mourning the loss of one of its members whose heroic actions helped two of his colleagues escape a raging fire overnight.
Lt. Jason Menard leaves behind a wife and three children, according to fire officials.
“He was a passionate fire officer who absolutely loved being a firefighter,” Worcester Fire Chief Michael Lavoie said. “He took his job very seriously, performed it admirably, and his dedication to the residents of Worcester was unwavering.”
Levoie said Menard and other members of Ladder 5 were first on scene after heavy flames broke out in the second floor of the multi-family home on Stockholm Street and extended to the third floor. Upon receiving a report that a resident and a baby were trapped inside, the crew entered the home in an effort to rescue them.
After gaining entry, the firefighters became trapped by heavy fire conditions on the third floor, according to Levoie. The chief 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,” but he was unable to escape himself.
Levoie said other responding crews did everything they could to save Menard but he eventually succumbed to his injuries.
Three other firefighters were taken to UMass Memorial Medical Center. Two have since been released and the third is in serious but stable condition.
The Massachusetts chapter of the American Red Cross said it’s assisting 10-15 residents of the home who were displaced. It’s unclear at this time if any of them were injured in the fire.
Despite having to also battle frigid cold temperatures and high winds, crews were able to keep the flames from spreading to neighboring homes.
The cause is now being investigated by the Worcester Fire and Police Departments, as well as the state fire marshal’s office.