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‘He sacrificed his life saving someone else.’ Firefighter dies battling early morning house fire

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    NEW HAVEN, Connecticut (WFSB) — A firefighter died and four others were hospitalized from a fire in New Haven Wednesday morning.

It happened at a home on Valley Street overnight.

Officials plan to provide an update later in the day.

The fire broke out around 1 a.m. Minutes after they arrived, firefighters said they rescued a woman inside.

“Companies on arrival saw heavy fire, flames,” said Chief John Alston, New Haven Fire Department. “[There was a] report of multiple occupants trapped.”

After they got the woman out, there was a mayday call.

“One firefighter reported being lost and disorientated,” Alston said. “We activated our search and rescue team to find them. Turned out, it was two of them.”

Both firefighters were unconscious when they were found.

One of them died. The other was critically injured and brought to Bridgeport Hospital for respiratory injuries.

City officials said another two firefighters were hospitalized as well. They suffered minor injuries.

An eyewitness told Channel 3 that he was outside the house while firefighters were working to rescue the firefighters.

“All of a sudden, when they found out the firefighter was caught in the house, that’s when they started rushing. There was the sound, the oxygen tanks, when they are running out of oxygen,” said Jean-Pierre Sanchez-Solis, a New Haven resident.

Channel 3 also spoke to a woman who lives in the house.

She said it was her mother who was trapped inside the home and taken to the hospital.

She said she is expected to be ok.

Firefighters were visibly upset on the scene.

“This is a very difficult time for our department,” Alston said. “Many of our members are hurting. We ask the public [for] their prayers.”

The state fire marshal is on scene, along with New Haven police. A cause has yet to be determined.

The identities of the firefighters involved were not released.

Mayor Justin Elicker said it is a challenging time for the community.

“To lose someone who is truly a hero who went into harm’s way to ensure the safety of others, this is something that will impact us for months and years to come,” Elicker said.

Alston said that though this was tragic, heroes rose above and beyond. He also spoke about what he would like people to remember about the firefighter who died.

“I want them to remember that since he was a child, he wanted to be a firefighter,” he said. “I want him to be remembered doing what he loved to do and that he sacrifice his life saving someone else.”

Tributes from other public service departments were posted on Wednesday.

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