Click the image for raw video from DoingItLocal.com as the evacutation order is given.
In Bridgeport, Connecticut this afternoon Lt. Steven Velasquez and Firefighter Michael Baik were found dead on the top floor of a burning home at 41 Elmwood Avenue. The fire was reported at 3:53 PM. According to the Connecticut Post, the firefighters had sent out a may day call.
Before joining the Bridgeport Fire Department in the mid-1990s, Steven Velasquez was a career firefighter in Prince George’s County, Maryland. Chief Spokesman Mark rady confirms Velasquez was hired in 1990 and spent most of his PGFD career on day work at Station 33 (Kentland). (See more below.)
Both Velasquez and Baik have young children. Lt. Velasquez was a neighbor of Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch. Finch pinned the badge on Velasquez during a February promotion ceremony. Baik had been on the job for two years. Here’s more form the Post:
They were found by the department’s rapid intervention team, and were given CPR at the scene. However, Mayor Bill Finch said, they were unable to revive the men and they were pronounced dead at the hospital.
Fire officials were too upset to attend the press conference, Finch said, adding Chief Brian Rooney, who was out of state when the fire hit, sped back to Bridgeport to be with his men. “They’re just too emotional to talk about it,” Finch said.
Deputy Fire Chief Robert Petrucelli said he arrived on the scene 15 minutes into the fire and found heavy smoke coming from the second and third floors.
“Firefighters were making progress on the fire,” Finch said, “knocking down the flames.”
He said Velasquez and Baik were the furthest inside the house, doing search and rescue and ventilating the house.
PGFD Lt. Col. Steve Hess was in the same recruit class as Steve Velasquez. Col. Hess tells STATter911.com that Steve remained friends with a number of PGFD folks, both career and volunteer and had a close friendship with Captain Steve Gallagher, anothere member of the same class. More from Hess:
Steve was a modest, mild mannered man who was one heck of a firefighter. He was a great co-worker and was a quiet leader in his own way, very unassuming and humble. You will probably get the same comments from anyone that knew him and worked with him. While he was one of the youngest recruit firefighters in my academy class, he was one of the most courageous and giving persons, working diligently to improve his skills and worked with others in his squad to make them more confident and proficient in their competencies.