WORCESTER (CBS) – Funeral arrangements have now been finalized for fallen Worcester Fire Lt. Jason Menard. The wake is set for 3-7 p.m. on Sunday at Mercadante Funeral Home, with the funeral set for 11 a.m. Monday at St. John’s Church.
Outside the firehouse on McKeon Road where Lt. Menard was stationed on Ladder 5 there were prayers, quiet reflection and a salute from members of the community who didn’t know him but have been touched by the loss. “This guy is amazing. He saved a rookie from dying in that building. I give him the utmost respect that’s why I saluted,” said former Auburn firefighter Jason Lombardi who stopped by a memorial that continues to grow.
It’s this kind of outpouring that’s unfortunately all too familiar in Worcester, but something the department says helps them get through the grief.
“Everything is uplifting whether it’s a wave, a donation or flowers. Everything supports our firefighters and helps us through these tough times,” said union president Mike Papagni.
Nothing more difficult than the loss of a brother. Lt. Menard, a married father of three children, was unable to escape the fast moving flames inside a Worcester triple-decker after getting two other crew members to safety.
Pawtucket, Rhode Island firefighter Chris Parent says it was his duty to come to the firehouse to pay his respects. “This guy didn’t go to work thinking he was going to die. It’s how do I get through this 14 hour shift and hop on a plane to Disney. That’s the reality,” said Parent.
At the fire scene the investigation continues into how the blaze started that’s left another firefighter still hospitalized in serious condition. Lt. Menard is being called a hero and the department says his funeral sendoff will be a fitting tribute.
“We come out every day willing to put our lives on the line for people in the community. Jason Menard did exactly that,” said Papagni.