WORCESTER, Mass. (WPRI) — Tragedy once again struck the city of Worcester and its fire department early Monday morning.
Lt. Jason Menard – a husband and father of three – died while battling a fire at a multi-family home on Stockholm Street. According to Fire Chief Michael Lavoie, Menard saved members of his crew after they became trapped but was unable to escape the raging flames himself.
Menard’s death reopens a 20-year-old wound for the city, as he is the ninth Worcester firefighter to be killed in the line of duty in the last two decades.
The Worcester Six – Last Alarm: Dec. 3, 1999
Six firefighters were killed on Dec. 3, 1999, while battling a fire at the Worcester Cold Storage and Warehouse Company.
Lt. Thomas Spencer, 42, Lt. James Lyons, 34, and firefighters Paul Brotherton, 41, Timothy Jackson, 51, Jeremiah Lucey, 38, and Joseph McGuirk, 38, became trapped in the six-floor building while trying to find homeless people believed to be inside.
The building had no windows and they got lost in the massive, smoke-filled structure. Days passed before their bodies were recovered.
The fire, according to the investigators, started after two homeless people accidentally knocked over a candle.
This past Monday, the Worcester Red Sox announced the team is permanently retiring the number 6 in remembrance of “The Worcester Six” – as they’ve come to be known – and the tragedy’s 20th anniversary.
Firefighter Jon Davies, Sr. – Last Alarm: Dec. 8, 2011
Firefighter Jon Davies entered a burning building on Arlington Street on Dec. 8, 2011, after reports that a person may have been trapped inside. Moments later, the rear of the structure collapsed, trapping Davies in the basement. He died from his injuries and another firefighter was hurt.
Davies, who left behind his fiancée and three sons, was a 17-year veteran of the department.
Firefighter Christopher Roy – Last Alarm: Dec. 9, 2018
Worcester Firefighter Christopher Roy, 36, died while battling a fire in a six-unit building.
Chief Michael Lavoie said the fire started in the basement but “conditions deteriorated rapidly” and several firefighters became trapped on the second floor.
Roy, who had been with the department for two years prior to his death, left behind a little girl.
The fire was eventually deemed arson and Momoh Kamara – a former resident of the Lowell Street home – was indicted on charges of second-degree murder, arson, armed burglary, and malicious destruction of a motor vehicle.
Lt. Jason Menard – Last Alarm: Nov. 11, 2019
Chief Michael Lavoie said Lt. Jason Menard and other members of Ladder 5 were first on the scene after flames broke out on the second floor of the multi-family home on Stockholm Street and spread to the third floor. Upon learning that a resident and a baby were trapped inside, the crew entered the home in an effort to rescue them.
The firefighters became trapped by heavy fire conditions. 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.
A spokesperson for the city said the baby and the other resident got out of the building.