3 cops rush into burning Fall River building, save fire victim

Both triple-decker buildings on Irving Street are total losses, firefighters said. (Brian Yocono/WPRI)

FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) – A man is still hospitalized after being rescued from Saturday’s fire in Fall River by three Fall River police officers.

Chief Daniel Racine said Sunday that three officers entered the burning building on Irving Street Saturday afternoon and pulled a victim out.

They were on Irving Street for an unrelated matter when they saw smoke and heard alarms, so Officers John Aguiar, Frederick Mello and Edmund Desmarais ran into the building an got an injured man out safely.

That victim, who is not yet being identified, is in critical but stable condition at Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, Racine said.

“We call them heroes. They won’t accept that,” he said. “They say that’s their job, that’s what they’re supposed to do.”

The three officers were also treated for smoke inhalation but were otherwise unhurt.

“It’s very dangerous to go into a fire without the appropriate equipment as firefighters have on,” Racine said, “but I’m sure they were in a quandary where someone needed help, they were there, and they did what they had to do.”

Fire officials said Saturday that when firefighters arrived, two triple-deckers were burning, the flames having spread from one to the adjacent building. Eventually, every on-duty firefighter in the city responded to the scene and it took crews hours to get it under control. Their efforts were hampered by the breakdown of one of their fire trucks.

Both buildings are total losses, and the Red Cross responded to help 11 people who had been displaced.

Aside from the man the three police officers rescued, nobody was hurt, and firefighters were also able to save six cats.

Chief Racine could not confirm reports of an explosion that several residents claimed to have heard, and said that the investigation is still underway.

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