Fire Capt. Who Rushed Into Deadly NH Blaze Suffered Serious Burns, Chief Says

Capt. Steve DesRuisseaux was hailed as a hero by the Manchester Fire Department for helping to rescue people in the fire on Dutton Street

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A fire captain who helped rescue people from a burning building in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Saturday night became engulfed in flames and was seriously burned, officials said in an update Sunday.

One person died in the fire, while several people, including a baby, were rescued. The firefighter and another person were taken to Boston for treatment.

Manchester fire Capt. Steve DesRuisseaux had rushed into the blaze when he saw people trapped on an upper floor as his crew arrived at the six-unit building on Dutton Street about 6:10 p.m., Chief Andy Parent said.

Several people were rescued from the fire, including a baby.

Firefighters rescued two girls, two men and a woman from the third floor and a man from the second floor by ladder, Parent said. But DesRuisseaux became overcome with flames, and a breathing device got caught on a ladder, trapping him.

He was driven to a local hospital, then flown to Massachusetts General Hospital, where doctors assessed that he had second- and third-degree burns on about 35-40% of his body.

DesRuisseaux is recovering, officials said.

"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 in a statement.

Neighbor Sarah Evans lives down the street and knows one of the survivors. She said she is so thankful for the firefighters.

"It's just all really emotional. I was thinking about the children that live in this home that were probably brought out here in the cold and they’re watching — their whole house is up in flames," she said.

Derek Evans added that a lot of people sadly lost their pets in the fire.

“Pretty sad," he said. "We’d be pretty upset if we lost our pets.”

He also said the whole street was blocked off with tape as fire trucks and police cars responded.

In total, 11 fire departments helped the Manchester Fire Department fight the blaze.

Among those saved was a baby. Video shows a firefighter clutching the baby tightly, descending down a ladder to safety. The same firefighter then climbed back up the ladder to rescue more people trapped inside, with intense flames raging only feet away.

“I’m hoping that everyone that lived here is safe — has somewhere to stay right now,” Derek Evans added.

Parent said Saturday that crews saved as many people as they could, but after extinguishing the fire, they discovered one person didn't make it.

“Once things started going sideways, we pulled everybody out of the building and we found later that there was a person out back,” Parent said.

The victim was found dead on the second floor back porch, New Hampshire State Fire Marshal Sean Toomey said.

It's still unclear what caused the fire. An investigation is ongoing.

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