From Mayor Finch:
Two City Firefighters Die in Line of Duty
Two City firefighters died while fighting a fire at 41 Elmwood Ave., on Saturday afternoon.
Lieutenant Steven Velasquez was pronounced dead at St. Vincent’s Medical Center and Firefighter Michel Baik was pronounced dead at Bridgeport Hospital. Velazquez had just been promoted to lieutenant in February 2010, and Baik had been a firefighter for only two years.
“Bridgeport is mourning the loss of two of its Bravest,” said Mayor Bill Finch. “I urge you all to pray for the firefighters and their families during this most trying time.” The Mayor has requested all flags on City buildings to fly at half-staff in honor of the fallen firefighters until further notice.
Firefighters from Engine 3 were first on the scene and were quickly joined by Engines 1, 4 and 7, Ladders 5 and 11, Rescue 5 and the Battalion Chief.
The last time a firefighter died in the line of duty was Firefighter Walter J. Flyntz on March 18, 1999.
The cause of the fire will be under investigation by the state Fire Marshal’s office.
As the son of a former Bridgeport fire fighter and a former member of the Board of Fire Commissioners I am in shock over this story. Growing up as a kid, this thought crossed my mind every time I heard the sirens going off.
My heart goes out to the families of these firefighters and to all the brave members of the Bridgeport Fire Department.
I am sure Andy and Ron feel even worse having served on BFD.
May GOD have mercy on their souls. These two brave firefighters paid the ultimate price to keep us safe. Having lost 8 friends to line of duty deaths while I was on the job I know it hurts. My prayers go out to those who died and to their families and to those who continue to lay it on the line every time the bell rings.
Andrew Fardy, Retired Firefighter