Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont has directed all United States and state flags lowered to half-staff to honor New Haven firefighter Ricardo Torres, Jr. who died battling a house fire on Wednesday morning.
First responders were dispatched to a two-family home on Valley Street at approximately 12:45 a.m. on Wednesday, May 12, where a two-alarm fire broke out, officials announced.
Firefighters were able to rescue two occupants inside the home, with one woman taken to the hospital for treatment due to smoke inhalation, while the other was treated at the scene.
While battling the blaze, two firefighters got trapped inside the home and needed to be hospitalized after being rescued. Torres was pronounced dead from his injuries while a second was transported to Bridgeport Hospital in critical condition.
In total, four firefighters suffered injuries.
“Today, we grieve as a City for our fallen hero and pray for another’s recovery,” New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker stated. “We extend our gratitude, prayers, and sympathies to their family and to all who keep us safe.”
To honor Torres, Lamont said that flags should be lowered immediately and remain lowered until sunset on the date of interment, which has not yet been determined.
“Accordingly, since no flag should fly higher than the U.S. flag, all other flags, including state, municipal, corporate, or otherwise, should also be lowered during this same duration of time,” he added.
“Today’s tragedy is a heartbreaking reminder of the dangers that firefighters face each and every day when responding to emergencies,” Lamont said. “Firefighter Torres is a hero, who dedicated his life to the safety of the people of New Haven.
“My thoughts are also with the firefighters who were injured while responding to this emergency, and I pray for their speedy recovery.”
The Office of the Governor will send out a notification when flags should be returned to full-staff.
“We grieve for the tragic loss of Firefighter Torres,” Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz said. “He sacrificed his life for the lives of others.
“His bravery and courage in service to his community and our state will always be remembered,” she added. "My heart goes out to his family, friends, and the New Haven Fire Department.”
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