Hero Mass. firefighter who died in blaze saved fellow crew member by throwing him out third story window

A Massachusetts fireman who died while attempting to rescue a baby from a massive house fire saved the lives of two younger crew members in his final moments.

Lt. Jason Menard, 39, with the Worcester Fire Department, died in the line of duty early Wednesday morning after entering a multifamily house fire on Stockholm St. in search of a “baby possibly trapped on the third floor,” the department said in a news release.

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Worcester Fire Department Chief Michael Lavoie said that Menard and other crew members from Ladder 5 became trapped because of “heavy fire conditions” which were made worse by the cold temperatures. Forced to act quickly, Menard made the ultimate sacrifice.

Lt. Jason Menard, 39, with the Worcester Fire Department died in the line of duty early Wednesday morning after helping two other members of Ladder 5 to escape the blaze. 

Lt. Jason Menard, 39, with the Worcester Fire Department died in the line of duty early Wednesday morning after helping two other members of Ladder 5 to escape the blaze.  (Worcester Fire Department)

"Lt. Menard heroically and selflessly saved his crew, helping a probationary firefighter to the stairs and then returning to help another trapped firefighter, helping him out the window. Fire conditions overtook the third floor at this time, and Lt. Menard was unable to escape,” he said according to WCVB.

One of the firefighters saved by Menard was 26-year-old Chris Pace.

His sister-in-law, Tiffany Hansmar, told the local station that Pace, who had deployed with the Army before becoming a firefighter, was seriously injured after he was thrown from the third-story window in an attempt to save his life.

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"He has 13 fractures, eight broken ribs, third-degree burns all over his body, chest tubes because he's got bleeding in his chest and a collapsed lung," she said. "Without him, Chris would not be here.”

She continued: "He (Menard) will always be our hero, and we're very thankful because (instead) of one loss, it would have been two. Thank you is all we can say.”

Pace’s family told WCVB that he is still in ICU. He was married in September and has a 1-year-old son, and another child due in April.

Lavoie said Wednesday that it was an “extremely difficult day for the Worcester Fire Department.”

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“Lieutenant Menard’s heroic actions saved the life of one of his crew members.”

Menard was a member of the fire department since 2010. He leaves behind his wife Tina, three children and his parents.