Massachusetts firefighter dies after battling 5-alarm blaze

Credit: Worcester Fire Department

Credit: Worcester Fire Department

Massachusetts firefighter Christopher Roy, 36, died after battling a multi-alarm fire in Worcester on Sunday morning, the Worcester Fire Department announced.

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A multi-alarm blaze broke out Sunday morning on Lowell Street in Worcester, prompting responses from the city's fire department, as well as the fire rescue teams from Auburn and Millbury.

During the long attempt to put out the flames, Roy became trapped inside the building with four other firefighters after the situation deteriorated rapidly.

All five firefighters escaped the blaze through ladders, with Roy and one other being transported to the hospital. Roy later succumbed to his injuries. The other firefighter is in stable condition, according to Worcester FD.

“On behalf of the entire city of Worcester, I want to offer condolences to the Roy family, Chief Lavoie and the entire Worcester Fire Department,” said City Manager Edward M. Augustus. “I would ask the media to respect the privacy of the family and firefighters during this difficult time.”

Roy was a member of the Webster Square Fire Station Ladder 4 Group 3. He had been a part of the fire department for two and a half years at the time of his death. He leaves behind a 9-year-old daughter, his parents and a brother. He was a resident of Shrewsbury, Massachusetts.

“This is a sad day for the Worcester Fire Department and the City of Worcester,” said Worcester Mayor Joseph M. Petty.

Crews had been at the scene for several hours, with the fire breaking out around 4 a.m. and continuing well into the morning.

"Fire crews were heroic in their efforts to rescue their colleagues under extreme conditions.’" Worcester Fire Chief Michael Lavoie said. "Every person on the fire-ground gave 110 percent to try to rescue the firefighters who were in danger."

The Red Cross was also on hand helping around a dozen victims of the fire who escaped the blaze. The cold weather made things additionally difficult for those on the scene, with the low temperatures causing water from the firetrucks to freeze on the street.

The building is a former house that was converted into apartments. The city assessor’s website lists the building at 10,000 square feet.

The tragic incident comes seven years and one day after Worcester firefighter Jon Davies lost his life battling a structure fire on Arlington Street in 2011. The building Davies was searching collapsed on him while he was looking for a reported victim.

The Worcester Fire Department memorialized Davies in a tweet Saturday recognizing the anniversary.

Last Monday was the 19-year anniversary of the death of six Worcester firefighters, who died battling flames in a cold storage warehouse on Dec. 3, 1999. The six men were Lt. Thomas Spencer and Lt. James Lyons, and firefighters Paul Brotherton, Timothy Jackson, Jeremiah Lucey and Joseph McGuirk.

"This is a difficult day for the Worcester Fire Department and particularly painful as this is the week we remember and mourn the passing of Worcester Firefighter Jon Davies and the six who perished in the Cold Storage Warehouse fire," Lavoie said.

Congressman Jim McGovern, who represents Massachusetts’ 2nd District – which includes Worcester – issued a statement shortly after the announcement of Roy's death:

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"I am deeply saddened to learn that Firefighter Christopher Roy passed away this morning. December is already a difficult month for the Worcester Fire Department, and this tragedy only adds to the grief we feel for heroes like Christopher who have been taken from us too soon. His family, friends, and fellow firefighters are all in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time."

Gov. Charlie Baker shared his sentiments as well, sending his thoughts and prayers to Roy's family and friends via Twitter.

Investigators were working late into the evening on Sunday, where a part of Lowell Street was still blocked off by 9 p.m. as the investigation continued.

Oscar Moquete, who lives on the first floor of the apartment building, says the fire started in the basement at around 4 a.m., but it quickly escalated to five alarms.

"Everybody got out safely, we lost everything, you know," said Moquete.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.