Worcester Chief, Firefighter Honored in Ceremony for Fallen Firefighter

WORCESTER – Fire Chief Gerard A. Dio and Brian Carroll, the Worcester firefighter who was seriously injured in the Dec. 8 three-decker blaze on Arlington Street that killed his friend and fellow Firefighter Jon D. Davies Sr., will be honored Wednesday at the annual remembrance of fire victims sponsored by the Main South Alliance for Public Safety.

FFN: Worcester Firefighter Killed, Another Injured in Collapse

“These two men deserve recognition for all they’ve done for the city,” said William T. Breault, chairman of the group.

The program starts at 10 a.m., at the black granite fire memorial erected at Main and Agawam streets.

The remembrance is for people who lost their lives in Worcester fires since 1986.

It is always held on March 7, the day in 1990 when Ethel Baisden and her three children – 3-year-old Francis, 23-month-old David, and 7-month-old Paul – died in a fire in their apartment at 21 Florence St.

The deaths shocked the Worcester community and resulted in tougher fire codes and a better awareness of the dangers of fire.

Fire investigators theorized that the blaze at 21 Florence St. began when little Paul’s blanket was ignited by a gas space heater.

The public safety alliance etches on the memorial the names of those killed over the course of the previous year.

Two names will be added this year: Lynda L. Richard, a 54-year-old woman who died in a fire Sept. 12 in her home on Lyman Street, and Firefighter Davies, who died when a portion of the three-decker at 49 Arlington St. collapsed.

With the new additions, there are 57 names on the memorial, including the six firefighters who died in the December 1999 fire at the Worcester Cold Storage and Warehouse Co. building. There were no fire-related deaths in 2004 and 2005.

The crime watch group has rarely given out its Public Service Award.

Former District Attorney John J. Conte was given the award for his many years of service, and the group honored Worcester Police Officer Patrick Harrington and Clark University Police Officer Michael Palermo for their work in March 2008 in apprehending a man who accosted a Clark University co-ed.

Mr. Breault said Firefighter Carroll is being recognized for his bravery at the Arlington Street fire, and Chief Dio will be honored for his efforts at reorganizing and improving the Fire Department after the deaths of the six firefighters in 1999.

“Firefighter Carroll is just a great example of the people we have working as firefighters,” Mr. Breault said. “And Chief Dio has to be recognized for all the things he’s done over the years. He’s a quiet guy who never wants to take any credit for the things he’s done.”

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