Tenants of a Worcester three-decker that caught fire earlier this month, killing Worcester Fire Lt. Jason Menard, told fire investigators that flames were spotted in a second-floor heater, according to court documents.
The cause of the four-alarm fire remains under investigation. Menard and fellow members of Ladder 5 ran into the building in the early hours of Nov. 13 as flames consumed the century-old building. Menard has been called a hero for saving the life of Firefighter Chris Pace.
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As the investigation continues, officials collected fire debris, cigarette lighter remains, debris from a pile of clothing and smoke alarms from 7 Stockholm St., according to a search warrant filed in Worcester District Court written by Worcester Fire Lt. Douglas Armey.
“The fire was reported by tenants who stated a fire was observed in a second floor heater,” the search warrant reads. “The 9-1-1 caller also stated that people, including a baby, were trapped on the third floor.”
It appears the baby, along with the baby’s mother, got out of the burning home before firefighters got inside, Fire Chief Michael Lavoie previously said.
When firefighters got to the scene, they saw heavy fire coming out a second-floor window, according to the search warrant.
“As coordinated fire attack and search operations began, the fire conditions rapidly became worse,” the search warrant continues.
Initial observations of the fire scene are consistent with witness statements about the blaze, according to the search warrant.
“Below freezing conditions with significant ice buildup are expected to hamper investigation efforts to determine the origin and cause of this fire,” the search warrant reads.
Last weekend, fire officials said that though the investigation continues, the residence had been turned over to its owners.
It’s possible that the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, or NIOSH, Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program will investigate the fire. The agency is currently investigating the blaze that claimed the life of Worcester Firefighter Chris Roy last year. When asked earlier this month if NIOSH would investigate the blaze that killed Menard, an agency spokesperson said it was too soon to confirm.
At Menard’s funeral last week, the 39-year-old was remembered not just as a passionate firefighter, but as a family man who loved Disney, Christmas music, his high school sweetheart, Tina, and their three children.
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