Tragedy struck the Worcester Fire Department again last night as Worcester Fire Lt. Jason Menard died battling a blaze on Stockholm Street in Quinsigamond Village. He was just recently promoted too.
Lt. Menard leaves behind a wife and three children, ages 15, 13, and 9, and his oldest son is special needs. Yesterday was his last shift before vacation, as he and his family were planning on leaving for Disney World today. They had shirts made and everything.
Worcester is a very small and tight knit community. When a firefighter like this dies it’s inevitable that if you didn’t know him, then you know people who know him. Jason was a Doherty High School graduate. I grew up in that neighborhood, and although I didn’t know Jason personally, I know a lot of people who know him who are in shock and hurting right now. Worcester is a very small town like that.
Jason Menard is our hero of the week, considering that he not only sacrificed his life while trying to save a baby he believed was trapped inside, but he saved the lives of other firefighters, including one who he pushed out of a window.
“Lt. 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. Fire conditions overtook the third floor at this time and Lt. Menard was unable to escape,” Lavoie said.
I’m at a loss for words because I can’t understand why this keeps happening in Worcester. Firefighters occasionally die in other cities, but in Worcester it seems like it’s one tragedy after the next, and they all die heroically. We’re coming up on the 20 year anniversary of the Worcester 6 dying while trying to save the lives of two homeless people at the Cold and Storage building. We’re less than a year away from Chris Roy dying while fighting a fire in Main South, and less than a decade away from Jon Davies dying in a similar manner.
Jason’s family will no doubt receive lots of support. The WFD is very good at looking after the families of their lost brothers after they’re gone. Several of the Worcester 6 had children that have gone on to become firefighters. There will be fundraisers, I’m sure Jason had life insurance, and the community will rally to support his wife and children. I’m trying to brainstorm ways in which we can help. I’ll gladly share any links to legitimate fundraisers, but I’d like to help in a different way if possible. I don’t think raising money will be an issue, but we have a large audience and a social responsibility to mobilize that platform to help.
Jason’s sister is a long time turtle rider and a friend of mine. She’s obviously devastated. I think with the outpouring of support that is about to come for Jason’s immediate family, maybe we could use our resources to find a way to support his sister’s family. I’m sure the last thing she wants to do this week is cook, and maybe we can find a way to help her get through this tragedy. If anyone has any ideas for a way to support her family please feel free to reach out to me. I’m all ears.
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