1 Firefighter Dead, 1 In Coma After Fire


Contributed photosAn overnight Valley Street fire killed one firefighter and sent another to the Bridgeport Hospital burn unit in critical condition.

The alarm came in from 190 Valley St. Wednesday at 12:45 a.m.

It was declared a two-alarm at 1:15 a.m.

Firefighter Ricardo Torres was on the second floor, amid the flames and smoke. At 1:17 a.m.,he called in an urgent “Mayday” message, meaning he was in danger.

A Mayday message followed from a second firefighter, Lt. Samod Rankins.

Fellow firefighters pulled the two out of the building, according to several people familiar with the situation. They had both run out of air. Both were unconscious. Torres’s skin was “bright blue.”

Torres, known as “Rico,” a member of the most recent class of firefighters, was brought to the hospital. He was declared dead.

Torres was married with a 3-year-old child and a second on the way.

Rankins, known to friends and colleagues as “Nuke,” was sent to Bridgeport Hospital. He is reported to be in a medically induced coma.

Colleagues were maintaining hope he would pull through. “It sounds like he’s moving in a positive direction,” one firefighter said Wednesday morning.

Firefighters rescued a person from inside the house during the blaze. Initial reports are that there was a “hoarding issue” in the home.

The tragedy comes at a tough time for the department, which is mourning the off-duty death last week of another member, William McMillan.

Rankins is active in the Firebirds association. Social media Wednesday morning was filled with messages wishes him a recovery. One example: “We love you stay strong All my Prayer Warriors!! Let’s pray for our hero!!! He is a real New Haven Hero!!! Get well King stay strong!!!”

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