MANCHESTER, N.H. (CBS) – Fire Captain Steve DesRuisseaux suffered severe burns over nearly half of his body while trying to save residents during a fatal fire at a Manchester, N.H. home Saturday night.
Flames broke out in a 6-family home on Dutton Street around 6 p.m. Heavy fire engulfed all three floors of the building.
DesRuisseaux and other firefighters rushed into the building and began making rescues.
A man and woman were rescued from the third floor, followed by two children and an adult male from the same floor on the other side of the building.
After saving a man from the second floor, DesRuisseaux was caught in a flashover.
While trying to flee from a second floor porch, DesRuisseaux’s self-contained breathing apparatus strap got hooked on the ladder. With DesRuisseaux trapped, Lt. Scott Brassard climbed up to help.
As heavy fire was coming from the second floor, firefighter Joshua Charpentier decided to knock the ladder away from the building. Brassard sprained an ankle in the 10-15 foot fall.
One resident was later found dead on the second floor porch. Six people were rescued in total.
“I have a friend who lives in here with her daughter. They had a dog and the dog ended up passing away, he perished in the fire,” Sara Evans told WBZ-TV. “I feel bad for the family that lost the person that died up there. The firefighters, I’m so thankful for them.”
“I can’t even imagine what it would have felt like to be in there or even seeing it happen,” neighbor Derek Evans said.
DesRuisseaux was rushed to Elliot Hospital, then taken by helicopter to Mass General Hospital in Boston. He suffered second and third degree burns to about 35-40% of his body and remains hospitalized.
“The actions of the crews last night went above and beyond the call of duty, and Captain DesRuisseaux’s efforts were nothing short of heroic. Captain DesRuisseaux’s actions led to the rescue of six people and is a true testament to Steve’s professionalism,” battalion chief Dave Flurey said. “He’s surrounded by his family, friends, members of the fire department, Boston Fire, he’s at ease, he’s in good spirits, hopefully expected to make full recovery.”
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.