BOSTON (CBS) – Loved ones and fellow firefighters honored fallen Worcester Fire Lt. Jason Menard during a Sunday wake. The veteran firefighter has been hailed a hero for saving his colleagues before he lost his life in a house fire last week.
The wake was set for 3-7 p.m. on Sunday at Mercadante Funeral Home in Worcester. A funeral is scheduled for 11 a.m. Monday at St. John’s Church.
Menard died while saving members of his crew early Wednesday morning. That included firefighter Christopher Pace, who escaped through a third-floor window thanks to Menard.
A husband and father of three, Menard died just hours before he and his family planned to leave for a Disney vacation.
Menard had been a member of the Worcester Fire Department since 2010.
“He was a passionate fire officer who absolutely loved being a firefighter. He took his job very seriously, performed it admirably and his dedication to the residents of Worcester was unwavering,” Worcester Fire Chief Michael Lavoie said following Menard’s death.
He added on Sunday, “I can’t thank the community enough for the support and understanding. I also want to thank the men and women of the Worcester Fire Department who come to work every single day and do their job with heavy hearts and obviously tremendous sadness right now.”
“Unfortunately, this community has become all too familiar with how to do that: how to support [the Worcester Fire Department] in trying times, and this certainly is a trying time. I couldn’t be prouder of the Worcester Fire Department,” said Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus. “I know I speak for every citizen in this city when I say how proud we are of them and how we mourn with them, our hearts bleed with them, and how we will be with them and the Menard family, and Chris Pace and his family, in the hours, days, months, and years ahead.”
Firefighter Chris Pace was injured while battling the same blaze that killed Menard. He remains hospitalized but is in stable condition. “He does have a long road to recovery. He is doing well being taken care of by a fantastic family, a very strong, caring wife, and he has the full support of the Worcester Fire Department behind him” said Fire Deputy Chief Martin Dyer.