WORCESTER (CBS) – One firefighter was killed and another was seriously injured when part of a burning apartment building collapsed in Worcester early Thursday morning.

Jon Davies, a 17-year veteran of the department, was killed when he and another firefighter went back to search for a missing person inside the burning building at 44 Arlington Street after 4 a.m.

The 43-year-old was a father of three sons, including two in the military, and one of them is currently serving in Afghanistan. Davies was also engaged.

Davies responded to the deadly Worcester Cold Storage Warehouse Fire back in December 1999, when six Worcester firefighters were killed.

When Thursday’s fire started, there were 12 people inside.

Worcester Fire Chief Gerard Dio said Davies and his partner Brian Carroll, a 14-year veteran of the force, initially went through the building looking for trapped residents and then left. They re-entered the  first floor of the burning building after someone claimed his friend was still stuck inside.

“Two crews went up to do a secondary search for the individual and there was a structural collapse, and at that time, two firefighters were trapped,” said Chief Dio.

Officials said Davies was pinned by debris on the first floor, while the collapse sent Carroll sliding into the basement. Carroll spent an hour trapped in basement before crews could reach him.

WBZ-TV’s Jim Armstrong reports 

“After the fire went on for an hour and a half, I saw… the back of the building had collapsed and the firemen were punching a big hole through the foundation to get to the basement. And I saw them bring gurneys over,” said a neighbor.

WBZ-TV’s Christina Hager reports

The two firefighters were pulled from the rear of the building and rushed to UMass Medical Center. Davies later died from his injuries. Carroll is expected to survive.

Davies and Carroll were both members of Worcester’s Special Operations Technical Team and the Worcester Fire Scuba Dive Team.

The person they were looking for still has not been accounted for. It is unclear whether there was ever a person stuck in the building to begin with. Investigators say there is an active search for that person.

Lt. Gov. Tim Murray, who was a Worcester City Councilor during Cold Storage Warehouse Fire, arrived in Worcester Thursday morning to offer his condolences.

“People throw around the word ‘heroes’ a lot, but again, this is proof-positive of what our firefighters do,” said Lt. Gov. Murray.

Murray later released a statement saluting the Worcester Firefighters and offering sympathies on behalf of Gov. Patrick, who is currently out of the country.

“When duty called, they answered, and in the face of a deadly fire, they responded quickly to protect their fellow citizens. Now, it is up to all of us to offer our prayers and reach out in any way we can to provide comfort and support for those who suffered so greatly,” the statement read in part.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens reports.

A neighbor said this is at least the third major fire in this crowded neighborhood in recent years. Inspectors said the property had numerous building code and sanitary code violations that the owner failed to address. Worcester City Manager Michael O’Brien said an unlawful heating device, structural deficiencies in the foundation wall, mice, and rats were just some of the issues cited. The city says the owner was uncooperative in fixing many of those issues and officials were in the process of taking that owner to court. A court date was scheduled for December 12.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Lana Jones reports.

Reaction to the death poured out from other state agencies.

“We offer our condolences to the members of the Worcester Fire Department. Know that you are in our thoughts on this sorrowful day,” said the Boston Fire Department on Twitter.

“The Mass. State Police extend deepest condolences to the Worcester Fire Department. A hero who gave the irrevocable gift: his own life,” said the Mass. State Police in a released statement.

The fire started inside the back of the building. The cause is still under investigation.

The state Fire Marshall’s office is looking for photos or video from the early moments of the fire to help with the investigation. Anyone who can assist is asked to call the arson hotline at 1-800-682-9229.

Comments (31)
  1. tsal says:

    God Bless him and his family and friends. A horrible tragedy.

    1. Bob says:

      Another tragedy 12/7/11 in Worcester. My prayers are with the firefighter’s family and fellow brothers. It takes a special person to run into a burning building. God bless and may you rest in peace.

  2. Melissa says:

    When I’m called to duty god
    wherever flames may rage
    give me strength to save a life
    whatever be its age
    Help me to embrace a little child
    before it is too late
    or save an older person from
    the horror of that fate
    Enable me to be alert
    to hear the weakest shout
    and quickly and efficiently
    to put the fire out
    I want to fill my calling and
    to give the best in me
    to guard my neighbor and
    protect his property
    And if according to your will
    I have to lose my life
    bless with your protecting hand
    my children and my wife

    1. Jackie says:

      omg i love your comment u left i am sorry my brother pressed the wrong buttion

    2. capt bill's daughter says:

      thank you melissa. amen! my condolences to the family of ff davies, and the injured officer. i remember well the tragedy of 1999. the loss of 1 life is sorrow enough, compounded when 2 of his sons are in service to their country (and 1 in harm’s way). sorry for the loss to the department of a brother. dad was nypd for 30+ years, and was always saddened by the loss of a first responder in ny or elsewhere. prayers from ny to all affected. take a moment everyone, the next time you see a cop or firefighter, to say thank you for their service. you’d be surprised just what that means to them

  3. cfd says:

    thoughts and prayers from the chicago fire dept,rest easy brother.

  4. Ellen says:

    You and your fellow brothers are the real heros who put their lives on the line for others. Something Jesus himself did many generations ago. My prayers go out to this brave firefighter and his family, and my gratitude and thanks go out to you and your brothers in arm.

  5. MD says:

    His only thoughts were for a stranger — a true hero. My deepest sympathies to his family, friends, and fellow first-responders. Thanks to all of you who risk your lives to keep us safe

  6. Joe says:

    As you would want more than anything, may God bless your family and provide the strength needed during this horrific time of mourning your heroic death. Rest in peace knowing that your community will forever take care of your family as you have done for ours over the years. You will never be forgotten and may God bless your soul for all of eternity. RIP my brother.

  7. sean says:

    thank you for giving your life for others. May you rest in peace.

  8. RYAN says:

    When the econemy goes bad everyone goes after the Fire & Police People forget the ultimate sacrafice they might have to give on any given day or night.My Heart breaks for the fallen firefighter and his family and the Worcester Fire Department.GOD BLESS YOU ALL

  9. Nosgood4me says:

    When the economy goes bad our civil service men and women are taxed more than they should be, by selfless acts of devotion of duty are those that unfortunately make the supreme sacrifice. Remember this day and appreciate them when the box is not struck. rest in peace.

  10. Nosgood4me says:

    When the economy goes bad our civil service men and women are taxed more than they should be by selfless acts of devotion of duty are those that unfortunately make the supreme sacrifice. remember this day and appreciate them when the box is not struck.

    rest in peace

  11. jon davies jr says:

    i wish they would spell my dads name its jon not john

  12. Ken, PA FF says:

    Rest in peace brother Davies. Such a true statement that Ryan said above. When it is budget time, we are the ones who are always facing budget cuts and staff reductions. And then when one makes the ultimate sacrifice such as this brother, we are called heroes. Maybe the ones who control the strings should remember us ALWAYS…God be with the Worcester brothers…

  13. Francis971 says:

    God Bless You brother Davies and may He look over your family in the days and years to come.Dear Davies Family I pray for your fallen hero and hope he rests in peace.He is truly a hero. As a fellow firefighter my heart aches for your loss.

  14. Terri says:

    12 Years ago to this day was the memorial service for the firefighters who lost their lives in the Worcester Cold Storage Fire. My heart goes out to the families and fellow firefighters for their loss. May God b with you at this time.

  15. Friend says:

    Why are you reporting he leaves a mom and sister?? He ALSO has a brother!!!!!!!

  16. capt bill's daughter says:

    such a tragic loss for his 2 families (the sons & fiance, and the members of the wfd). i remember the cold storage fire, and was glad to have helped provide some support during the difficult days that followed. my dad was nypd for 30+ years, and was always saddened by the line of duty death of first responders in any location. be assured of my prayers. last call sounded for ff davies. may ff carroll have a speedy and complete recovery. take a moment people and thank those who serve your city, you’d be surprised how much that means to them.

  17. Becky Corbett says:

    My heart breaks for Davies and his family… may you rest in peace. May your family find peace in knowing all that you have sacrificed for your fellow man. God Bless…

  18. noabitya says:

    The same politicians who show at these events are the ones who reduce staffing thus placing these brave men & women in harms way…the politicians should hang their heads in shame.

    Our condolences to the family & the fire service. As James McNulty retired FDNY firefighter so eloquently put it in his poem, I give you the last part.
    “May They Not Be Forgotten,”
    As firemen, we understand
    That death’s a card dealt in our hand —
    A card we hope we never play,
    But one we hold there anyway.
    That card is something we ignore,
    As we crawl across a weakened floor.
    For we know that we’re the only prayer
    For anyone that might be there.
    So remember, as you wipe your tears,
    The joy I knew throughout the years.
    As I did the job I loved to do,
    I pray that thought will see you through.”

  19. Derreck says:

    Rest easy brother. Thoughts and prayers go out for both of your families- those at home, and those on the job. Thank you for your service and sacrifice.

  20. Jeff Blizard says:

    Glad we connected this past summer. I missed the last 25 years of catching up on our old stories and great times at HNCCHS. Hopefully God SCUBA Dives too so you’ll have a buddy to get wet with and that he gives you time off to get some fishing in.
    Sorry you left so soon – you’re a great soul and you’ll be missed.

  21. John Wilson says:

    What ever happened to that missing person.the 13th person .dead in the building or on the run from starting the fire.they’re were reporting that those people were in dispute with the landlord.

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