Like I said earlier, it’s difficult to get into the “Christmas Spirit” following today’s events. Rhett called me early this morning to make sure I was aware of what was happening in Worcester Massachusetts.
My phone was abuzz with messages and texts throughout the morning as we learned of the Line Of Duty Death of Brother Davies.
Our Brothers from Worcester responded to 44 Arlington Street around 4 am. Cold temperatures and high winds were already on scene. The Brothers arrived to find a working fire in a 3 story (“triple decker”) apartment and went to work.
A total of 12 people were rescued / evacuated from the structure before one of those occupants reported someone missing. Two crews re-entered the building for a secondary search in hopes of locating this missing occupant. Firefighters Davies and Carroll were one of those teams. The occupant was reported to have been in a upper, rear bedroom. About the time the members reached the area, a collapse of the rear of the structure occurred.
The result killed firefighter Davies and seriously injured Firefighter Carroll, trapping him for nearly an hour.
Any LODD is tragic but this Worcester loss comes just days from the 12th anniversary of the December 3, 1999 cold storage fire that claimed the lives of 6 other Worcester firefighters.
The members lost that day were Paul A Brotherton, Timothy P. Jackson, Jeremiah M. Lucey, James F. “Jay” Lyons III, Joseph T. McGuirk and Lt. Thomas E. Spencer.
Firefighter Davies was a 17 year veteran of the Worcester Fire Department. He was also the father of 3 sons. I will keep you posted as more details and arrangements are released. Please keep the family and friends of Brother Davies in your thoughts and prayers. Hold a special place in your hearts and mind for the Brothers and Sisters of the Worcester Fire Department as well as prayers, hopes and wishes for a full and speedy recovery for Brother Carroll.
I’m sure the Arlington Street fire was a sort of “mini- deja vu” for the people of Worcester Massachusetts because we had something very similar right here in “small town” Virginia today.
There was another shooting on the campus of Va Tech today leaving two people, one of which was a Va Tech Police Officer; dead. The name of the officer (nor the 2nd deceased) has not been released at this time . It is believed ( but unconfirmed ) that the incident is a possible murder / suicide.
There were 2 active crime scenes (both on campus) following the shootings. Va State Police were also conducting operations at an I-81 rest stop in nearby Radford, Va.
The Va Tech campus was on “lock down” as was several nearby grade schools. Fire, Rescue and Police from several adjoining jurisdictions responded to the incident.
Much like with the Worcester LODD, this incident opens old wounds and brings back unwanted memories. It was just back on April 16th, 2007 that Seung-Hui Cho murdered 32 people and wounded 25 on the VT campus before taking his own life. That incident is now often referred to as the “VT Massacre”.
I can only imagine the feelings and thoughts going through the minds of the members on either of these scenes today … Worcester or Va Tech. I would guess several (and I actually know of some ) of these members were on scene of the first incidents. I would also say and think that several folks (both civilian and on the job) relived those past feelings / emotions as today’s events unfolded.
I can remember the details of the Cold Storage fire coming out bit by bit. I also remember exactly where I was on the day of the VT Massacre. I was on duty. My daughter was in class … at Va Tech!
Today, many of those emotions returned for me. Following the news from Worcester, I thought … “oh no … not again!”. I also wondered how much more the brothers of Worcester can take? When I got the news of the on campus shooting, my thoughts went back to 2007 and how thankful I was that my daughter was safe and unharmed that day. My thoughts then turned to the murdered officer and the others who would be responding today.
You see, we are a small enough community down here that we still help each other out in times of need and know each other by name. I have several friends and Brothers on Police forces all around us. Dallas Leamon of the VT Police Department .. long time and good friend. George Jackson and James McClain also members of the VT Police Department as well as players for The Roanoke Rampage. Nathan Odell, Ben Machingo, and Sedrick Hayes also play for the Rampage while working for the Blacksburg PD. Travis Harvey is another player and works for the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Dept. We also have several players who work for the Va State Police .. William Monteith, Richard Conley and Corbin Brown.
These Brothers are safe and will return home at the end of their shift. They, as well as the slain Officer (who’s name has yet to be released) have my gratitude, sympathy and shall remain in my thoughts and prayers as well.
Firefighter Kevin Townes of the Mt. Vernon City (NY) Fire Department died on the scene of a working fire at about 2:45am this morning.
Members responded to 124 Lorraine Ave where they found a working fire in the basement. Brother Townes was on the 3rd in and collapsed of an apparent heart attack while donning his gear. Reports say treatment was quickly initiated by members on scene but their efforts would not save Brother Townes.
Brother Townes leaves behind his mother, wife, three daughters and a son (children ranging in age from 12-24). He was a 25 year veteran of the Mt. Vernon Fire Department and the 1st LODD in the Department since 1995.
As with all the members above .. please keep Brother Townes Department, friends and family in your thoughts and prayers as they move forward through these difficult times.
WELL DONE BROTHERS! We wont forget you .. and we’ll take it from here…