A New Haven firefighter who dreamed of being a member of his hometown fire department as a 2-year-old child, and tragically lost his life in a blaze last week, will be laid to rest in Hartford today following a procession and church service in New Haven.
Following a private ceremony honoring the life of Firefighter Ricardo Torres, an on-foot procession with motorcycles, fellow firefighters and officers from all over the state and the New York Fire Department’s pipe and drum band will be led from the New Haven Fire Department Headquarters to St. Mary’s Church around 9:15 a.m.
After the funeral, Torres’ will be transported to Cedar Hill Cemetery in Hartford as his final resting place.
Torres joined the fire department in July 2019. He’s remembered as someone with a “significant impact in the fire service, with his coworkers, with his family and on me personally,” Fire Chief John Alston said. Alston hired the 30-year-old just shy of two years ago.
“It is a very difficult time for our department, there has not been a line of duty death in the city of New Haven for several years. It’s my first, as fire chief,” Alston said in a news conference Wednesday afternoon. “There are a lot of questions I have, not only for myself, but the process. When there’s a line of duty death, there are investigations on the local, state and federal levels.”
Torres and other firefighters responded to the fire on Valley Street last Wednesday. The firefighters were able to rescue two people, but Torres, and his 28-year-old fellow firefighter Lt. Samod Rankins, became “lost and disoriented,” in the home, resulting in a “MAYDAY” rescue call. The two men were pulled out from the second-floor of the home unconscious.
Rankins was in critical condition and put into a medically induced coma at burn unit at Bridgeport Hospital. A few days later, his condition was upgraded to “fair,” and the young lieutenant has been recovering since, but Torres succumbed to his injuries.
He left behind a pregnant wife and infant son.
Jessika Harkay can be reached at email@example.com.
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