Fall River Fire Dept. honored at Firefighter of the Year ceremony
By: Ellie Romano
WORCESTER, Mass. (WLNE) - Firefighters from across Massachusetts received the highest honors at the 30th annual "Firefighter of the Year" ceremony.
The event was held in Worcester on Tuesday morning. Both the governor and lieutenant governor attended the awards.
"The work they do is extremely dangerous," said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito.
The Fall River Fire Department was the recipient of two major awards for responding to extremely dangerous situations.
On December 13, 2018, Fall River Fire crews were dispatched to Route 24, where a gasoline tanker trunk rolled over, crushed another car, and spilled oil all over the roadway.
Fire crews worked quickly to remove the driver in the crushed car. That driver, a 32-year-old man, survived.
The driver of the Cape Cod Gas truck, a 67-year-old man, was pronounced dead at the scene.
“This is a very high stakes game in its most compelling moments,” said Governor Charlie Baker.
Less than a month later, the department was put to the test again.
On New Year's Day, a car drove into the main gas line of the Four Winds apartment complex. The 30-unit building immediately went up in flames.
Two women were trapped inside the car in the burning building. Fire crews tried to save them.
"They actually went into that burning room, cut the people out of the car, and pulled them out," said Fire Chief John Lynch.
Unfortunately, the two women in the car died. Everyone else in the building was saved.
Two firefighters and a lieutenant from the department received the Medal of Valor for trying to save the two women.
The department received the 2019 Governor's Group Citation for Meritorious Conduct for both the December 13 and January 1 incidents.
“Firefighters don’t do it for ceremonies like this. They do it because they believe in it,” said Gov. Baker.
Firefighters from Andover, Boston, Everett, Fitchburg, Lawrence, North Andover, Revere, Rochester, Rockland, Saugus, Sudbury, Westborough, and Worcester were also honored.