The fire chief confirmed the death and described it as a devastating loss for his department. The 22-year veteran of the North Haven Fire Department passed away on Monday as a result of injuries received while responding to a morning fire at a four-family house.
Firefighters were extinguishing the fire when the incident took place. According to a department report, a request for a “fireman on the ground” was made during the fire assault. Firefighter Matthias Wirtz, 46, was operating a fire vehicle outside the burning structure. According to the story, he was rushed to Yale New Haven hospital with serious injuries. Later, a doctor at the hospital declared him dead.
The Connecticut State Police Department is investigating the cause of the fire, which displaced 13 residents on Christmas Eve.
“We worked hard to save him, very hard. We made every effort,” Fire Chief Paul Januszewski said of Wirtz, noting that an ambulance and paramedics were on the scene due to the fire. He did not comment on Wirtz’s injuries. Januszewski said he started working for the department around the same time as Wirtz. He said the firefighter was thrilled with his recent job as a driver.
“He was everyone’s friend. He was a great person. He was a great family man,” said Januszewski. “He would do anything for anyone.”
Firefighters from the neighbourhood who are battling the wildfire will support the fire department on Monday as they mourn Wirtz’s passing, the fire chief said.
He said, “Those departments will help our department in incident response throughout today and give our personnel some space to grieve.” Social media was used by firefighters from all around the state to send their condolences to the North Haven Firefighters and Wirtz’s family.
Firefighters were called to the multi-family home shortly after 1 a.m. and found heavy smoke billowing from the rear of the three-story building. The fire had also reached the attic. Wirtz began his career as a volunteer firefighter in 1996 with North East Volunteer Fire Co. #4 in North Haven. He has received numerous letters of commendation over the years and was one of the Connecticut firefighters who responded to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City.
Firefighters were called to the building just after 1 a.m. and discovered heavy smoke billowing from the rear of the three-story building. The fire had also reached the attic.
Wirtz began his career as a volunteer firefighter in 1996, serving with North East Volunteer Fire Co. #4 in North Haven. He has received numerous letters of recommendation over the years and was one of the Connecticut firefighters who responded to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City.
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