07/26/2010 // West Palm Beach, FL, USA // Tara Monks // Tara Monks
Bridgeport, CT – A search-and-rescue mission inside a burning house in Bridgeport, Connecticut, resulted in the death of two firefighters Saturday, July 24, 2010, as reported by The New York Times. Fire officials are seeking to understand what happened.
The two firefighters, Lt. Steven Valasque, 40, and 49-year-old Michel Baik died after responding to the search-and-rescue mission. Fire officials reported, “They were doing something that is quite routine…Something obviously went wrong.”
The men were sent to the top floor of the three-story house to rip down the ceiling, reach hot spots and search for anyone who may be trapped inside, according to officials’ reports.
They were found unconscious after sending out distress calls. Efforts to revive them were unsuccessful. The men were declared dead at local hospitals.
Two other firefighters suffered minor injuries during the operation, Chief Rooney pointed out.
Several men experienced heat exhaustion as temperatures reached the mid-90s.
The deaths are the first the Bridgeport Fire Department has seen since 1999.
Mayor Bill Finch said, “We’re the biggest city in the state, but we’re really just a small town, and this is just devastating.”
Lieutenant Velasquez was a member of the department since 1994. He is survived by a wife and two children.
Baik had served with the department since 2007. He is survived by a wife and three children.
The investigation continues.
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