A hero was buried today. He died last week after rescuing members of his crew in a fire early in the morning November 13th. His crew had entered the house searching for a mom and her baby they thought was still in the house. They became trapped in the fire and Lieutenant 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" - Worcester Fire Chief Michael Lavoie said.
Tragically after helping the other firefighters escape, fire conditions overtook the 3rd floor and he was unable to escape :(. The cold and wind made it extremely difficult for him to be rescued. 3 other firefighters were injured (the firefighter he helped out the window had 14 broken bones including all of his left ribs and 2nd and 3rd degree burns. He is in the ICU recovering). One of the neighbors said "The fire department, they worked so hard at this fire. It was ripping,” she said. “It was terrifying. There was a fireman on the porch over there and as he bent forward you could see the flames shooting up over the top of his back and every window had flames coming out of it. The firefighters, they don’t quit. They did not drop a hose at all and they struggled through that very fierce cold last night. It was terrible. it was a very big fire.”
Governor Charlie Baker said it so well. "You can't say this enough, first responders wake up every morning and answer every call never knowing what surprise may be in store for them, and knowing full well that they might be putting their lives on the line for the sake of others, it's because of brave men and women like Lt. Menard and his team that we all rest easy at night. We must always be eternally grateful for their service and their sacrifice. He epitomized the devotion, camaraderie and bravery that make up the fabric of the Worcester Fire Department"
I can only imagine the courage it takes to go in and the thoughts that would go through your head when you realize you're may never be getting out of the fire. These firefighters have such a willingness to sacrifice so much if necessary...and in doing so they sign their families up to sacrifice as well. Because of Lieutenant Menard's sacrifice other families aren't mourning the loss of their firefighter...and for that they will be forever grateful to him and his family.
Lieutenant Menard's family was planning to leave on vacation that day...to Disney and instead they spent the week planning his funeral. He and his wife were high school sweethearts and had 3 children. Now they will have to continue without him...as well as his fellow firefighters.
He will be greatly missed and joins other brave Worcester firefighters who have given their lives. In a few weeks it is the 20th anniversary of the cold storage fire where 6 brave firefighters gave their lives. Its is also almost the anniversary of when Jon Davies died fighting a fire in 2011 and the 1 year anniversary of Christopher Roy...another Worcester firefighter who gave his life.
Each of these individuals leave behind families, friends, fellow firefighters who grieve them. They had lives, dreams, plans...that they willingly sacrificed.
We will do what we can to honor them, to help their community, their families, they fellow firefighters. We will send giveback shirts and gear to let them know we see them, we appreciate them, and we are here for them. Showing our support may seem like a small thing, but it is something we can do and it does make a difference.