LODD, Worcester

We filled three busses. The road from Providence to Worcester, Rt. 146 is an old, by today's standards anyway, highway that rolls through Rhode island and Massachusetts. I looked out the window and watched the country pass me by, used car lots, old homes, strip malls and closed down factory buildings. It was a quiet ride, by firefighter standards, all of us lost in our thoughts for the most part, using what was left of our brains to engage in idle conversation.

Six firefighters has died days before our journey, we, and thousands of firefighters from around the country were converging on downtown Worcester, to help lay them to rest. The city was quiet when we arrived, a few miles from the procession route. We could only get so close, then had to park the bus and walk in. We lost half of our people and ended up marching in two groups.

Once organized we marched through the city. Along the route people stood by the side of the road, ashen faced in the cold December wind, solemn as I had never seen solemn before. Construction workers. Housewives. High school girls. Elementary school children. Homeless people. Business owners. All paying their respects to those who lost their lives, and as I walked the route, and more and more people bowed their heads, or saluted as we passed I realized that they were saluting us as well.

It was the guys my age that got to me the most. Roofers, jack hammer operators, cooks, cops-men from all walks of life stopping to honor the fallen, and also those who carry on. Their gesture of support has stayed with me every moment that I'm in uniform, and even when I'm not. President Clinton and Vice-President Gore waited at the end of the procession, and spoke to the ten thousand firefighters and family members and friends who filled the Worcester Coliseum. Though much appreciated, their presence meant nothing to me after experiencing the true grief and respect shown to me by the citizens of Worcester.

Firefighter John Davies, a seventeen year veteran with the Worcester Fire Department died today, doing the job. The people of Worcester will appreciate the sacrifice, and honor him accordingly.

Rest in peace, brother.

7 Comments

  • Lynda M O says:

    May he inspire others of similar ilk to the field of emergency management. RIP.

  • Dave says:

    “A true hero is one who gives his or her own life for something greater than oneself”

  • Pat Blackman/Grandma Muggle says:

    Yet another angel in heaven wearing a helmet.  Terribly sad and yet, in a strange way so inspiring.  Firefighters, including rescue firerfighters, are a special breed of people.  They are willing to put the safety of strangers before their own.  Not many professions out there can claim the same with a few notable exceptions.  Law enforcement and military being the other two I can think of. 
    The spouses of firefighters are also a special breed.  To love a person so much that you are willing to support his or her passion for the job at no small sacrifice to your family life and suddenly to realize that that passion is your own as well.  Such strength is rare but common in this group.
    As for the children of firefighters?  Well, in case you had not guessed, I have reason to know that we are one damned proud bunch!
    RIP Firefighter John Davies.  Say hello to my Daddy for me please.  You are both in good company. God bless you and all firefighters.
     
    Good job once again Michael.

  • Chris says:

    Michael:
     
    I know that this column typically deals with politics, opinions and feelings, but could you change gears when you get a chance?  Non-firefighters like me have no idea what it's like to be in a housefire.  We have no idea how quickly they burn, and don't understand how residents can't just walk out of a building, or go to a window to await rescuing.

    Could you write an entry that talks about how buildings burn, and what the average person should understand and do so that if we find ourselves in a fire, we have a chance of getting out alive?  Not having experience here, I'd assume that I'd smell the smoke, or would awaken to a smoke detector, and would head for the nearest exit.  One of the things that I do do these days is to look for extinguishers, fire exits, and escape paths when I enter an unfamiliar building.  If there's a fire, I want to know how to get out quickly.
     
     
    Prayers to the injured and deceased firefighters who suffered while keeping us safe.
     
     

  • Fern says:

    I remember being a kid in the 2nd grade and seeing the memorial service on TV. Worcester was pretty much shut down. Schools were closed, as well as most other businesses. Those that were open and had tv's, had them tuned to the memorial service.
    http://youtu.be/kUyuBCi6Hkc
    Not to take away from your post Lt., but would you mind if I link to mine? I've got most of the details from FF Davies LODD posted there.

    Either way, RIP FF Davies, you will be missed.  

  • michael says:

    Thank you, Fern, feel free to link.

  • Fern says:

    Thanks Lt.
    Everything about the incident that I've been able to get my hands on, is posted here: http://fire-rescue-newbie.blogspot.com/2011/12/damn-it-continued.html
     

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