Fire lieutenant Jason Menard and his family were looking forward to their vacation to the Happiest Place on Earth. Instead, tragedy struck.
Menard, 39, was killed after he battled a four-alarm blaze in Worcester, Massachusetts, early Wednesday morning. The father of three and his wife, Tina, were scheduled to leave for Walt Disney World following his shift.
"Jason and Tina had been together since high school," Menard's friend Mark Senior Jr. told TODAY Parents. "They were inseparable. Tina and the kids were Jason's whole life."
Menard became trapped by heavy flames while searching for a woman and a baby in a three-story home, Worcester Fire Chief Michael Lavoie said.
“Lt. Menard heroically and selflessly saved his crew, helping a probationary firefighter to the stairs and then returning to rescue another firefighter, assisting him out the window,” Lavoie told reporters on Wednesday. “Fire conditions overtook the third floor at this time and Lt. Menard was unable to escape.”
Menard and three other firefighters were taken to UMass Memorial Medical Center.Two have been released and one remains in serious but stable condition.
According to officials, the baby was unharmed, while the female resident was transported to the emergency room with serious injuries.
Lavoie described Menard as a “passionate firefighter” with unwavering dedication to the community that he protected.
Governor Charlie Baker extended his “deepest and sincerest” condolences to the Menard family.
“You can’t say this enough, first responders wake up every morning, answer every call, never knowing what surprise may be in store them and knowing full well they might be putting their lives on the line for the sake of others,” Baker said. “It’s because of brave men and women like Lt. Menard and his team that we all rest easy at night. We must always be eternally grateful for their service and their sacrifice.”