WORCESTER (CBS) – Three months after the tragic loss of his partner, Jon Davies, Worcester firefighter Brian Carroll is going back to work.
The partners were in a home searching for a person who’d been reported missing, when the floor collapsed beneath them. Firefighters raced to save them, but they couldn’t get to Davies in time.
On Wednesday, Carroll collected hugs and a community award for bravery, but respectfully wondered, ‘why me?’
“This should all be about Jon, he made the ultimate sacrifice,” says Carroll. “He was one of my best friends, it’s been real hard.”
Other firefighters found Davies’ body within minutes, but Carroll had plummeted to the basement almost buried in debris.
“I freaked out for the first five minutes, until I realized I couldn’t move,” he says. “I couldn’t do anything and I was sucking my air down.”
So he tried to relax and conserve air wondering if rescuers would reach him in time. Ironically, while he was trapped in the inferno, Carroll feared he might drown. Water being used to battle the fire was filling the hole he was trapped in, and it began seeping into his mask.
“That’s pretty much when I started saying my goodbyes,” he says.
His air tank was empty, and he was gasping for breath by the time rescuers tunneled over to him almost an hour later.
He didn’t know his partner was dead until the ambulance ride.
Carroll honored his partner by carrying his helmet at his funeral back in December, and when he returns to work Friday, it will be with a likeness of Jon Davies tattooed on his back.
Carroll’s internal injuries put him in the hospital twice and counseling continues. He thinks he’ll be OK Friday, but admits he won’t know for sure until that first call comes in and he jumps onto the truck.