A Massachusetts fire lieutenant died early Wednesday after helping two firefighters escape a burning home after they all became trapped on the third floor.
The firefighters in Worcester, about 45 miles west of Boston, battled the blaze in extreme conditions, including cold temperatures and high winds. The Massachusetts Red Cross said in a tweet that temperatures at the time were 18 degrees.
Worcester fire Lt. Jason Menard, 39, was pronounced dead at a hospital from his injuries. Two other firefighters were hospitalized and released and a third remains hospitalized in serious but stable condition, Chief Michael Lavoie said at a news conference.
The firefighters were called to the four-alarm fire at the home just before 1 a.m. Flames were extending from the second floor to the third floor when they arrived.
Lavoie said Menard and his crew received a report that a resident and a baby were trapped on the second floor of the building, but "heavy fire conditions" caused the firefighters to become trapped on the third floor.
Menard "heroically" and "selflessly" helped one firefighter to the stairs and helped a second escape out a window, Lavoie told reporters.
"Fire conditions overtook the third floor at this time and Lt. Menard was unable to escape," he said. Attempts to save Menard were not successful.
Menard was a married father of three and had been with the department since 2010. Lavoie described the lieutenant as a "passionate fire officer who absolutely loved being a firefighter."
"He took his job very seriously, performed it admirably and his dedication to the residents of Worcester was unwavering," he said.
The blaze reportedly left up to 15 people displaced, according to NBC Boston. The fire department said in a news release that a woman who lives in the building was taken to the hospital with serious injuries. All other occupants were accounted for, the department said
The cause of the blaze is under investigation.