WORCESTER, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — A firefighter was killed Wednesday morning following a four-alarm fire at a three-level family home.
Officials said that Lt. Jason Menard, 39, was killed in the fire on Stockholm Street around 1 a.m.
"Today our city once again has suffered an unimaginable loss with the death this morning of Fire Lt. Jason Menard," Worcester Fire Chief Michael Lavoie said.
Lt. Menard was reportedly trying to rescue residents, including a baby, that were possibly trapped on the third floor at the time. He and his crew then became trapped by intense flames on that third floor.
"Lt. 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," Chief Lavoie said. "Fire conditions overtook the third floor at this time, and Lt. Menard was unable to escape."
Menard and three other firefighters were taken to a local hospital, where Menard was later pronounced dead.
One of the three other injured firefighters is in serious condition, and the remaining two have been released after being treated for non-life threatening injuries.
An adult female resident was also taken to the hospital with serious injuries.
"This is an extremely difficult day for the Worcester Fire Department," Worcester Fire Chief Michael Lavoie said. "Lieutenant Menard's heroic actions saved the life of one of his crew members."
Lt. Menard had been with the fire department since 2010. He leaves behind a wife and three children.
Worcester Firefighters Local 1009 President Michael Papagni said Menard and his family were set to go to on a trip to Disney this morning.
"As they had planned this morning to be on a trip to Disney, they are now instead planning a hero's sendoff," Papagni said. "And as always, our Worcester Firefighters will stand strong by that family, and we will send off Jason as he deserved and as he earned, and will support his family and his children for the rest of their lives."
About 15 people were displaced by the fire.
It is currently unclear what caused the building to burst into flames. Worcester Fire, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the State Fire Marshal's Office are investigating.
Later Wednesday, firefighters saluted and stood at attention as a procession carrying Menard's body passed.
A number of local figures tweeted out their condolences Wednesday morning.
The blaze came almost 20 years after the deadly cold storage fire in Worcester that left six firefighters dead.
"This loss is especially poignant in the wake of the anniversary of the Worcester Six on December 3, 1999, Firefighter John Davies in December of 2011, and Firefighter Christopher Roy just one year ago this December," Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus said.
Even as Worcester firefighters mourned, they were called to fight another multi-alarm fire at a strip mall on Pleasant Street Wednesday morning.
Chief Lavoie said fire chaplains and counselors were present on scene.
"We start right away and we try and deal with the mental aspect of it," he said. "It's tough."
WBZ NewsRadio's James Rojas (@JamesRojasWBZ) reports