Local News

N.H. fire captain suffers burns on 40% of his body while making rescues

"The actions of the crews last night went above and beyond the call of duty."

A fire captain was seriously injured while rescuing residents from a deadly building fire in Manchester, N.H. on Saturday evening. 

Fire Captain Steve DesRuisseaux suffered second and third-degree burns over 35-40% of his body when he became engulfed in flames during a rescue operation, according to the Manchester Fire Department. Though six were rescued, firefighters discovered one body after they put out the flames. Authorities have not identified the victim, and an autopsy is scheduled for Monday, the Associated Press reported.

“The actions of the crews last night went above and beyond the call of duty, and Captain DesRuisseaux’s efforts were nothing short of heroic,” Battalion Chief David Flurey said in a statement. “Captain DesRuisseaux’s actions led to the rescue of six people and is a true testament to Steve’s professionalism.”

Fire personnel responded to a building fire on Dutton Street in Manchester around 6 p.m. on Saturday and found a heavy fire on all three floors of the multifamily building. DesRuisseaux’s crew was the first to arrive, and quickly began knocking out the fire.


DesRuisseaux saw people trapped on the third floor, and entered the building. Working together, he and other firefighters rescued three adults and two children from the third floor and one adult from the second floor. According to NBC10 Boston, a baby was among those rescued. The victim was found dead on the second floor back porch, New Hampshire State Fire Marshal Sean Toomey told NBC10.

According to the department, DesRuisseaux became “engulfed in flames” during a flashover, the rapid ignition of exposed material, after the second-floor rescue. When he attempted to jump from the second-floor porch, the strap of his self-contained breathing apparatus got caught in the ladder, trapping him. Fire Lieutenant Scott Brassard climbed up the ladder to free him. Since a heavy fire was coming from the second floor, firefighter Joshua Charpentier knocked the ladder away, and Brassard sprained his ankle from the fall.

DesRuisseaux was transported to local Elliot Hospital, and then by helicopter to Mass General. One of the rescued adults was also hospitalized for burns, NBC10 reported.

“He’s in good spirits and aware of everything that happened,” Flurey told the Manchester Ink Link. “If not for Captain DesRuisseaux’s actions I think we’d be having a different interview right now. The outcome would have been even more tragic.”


The cause of the fire is under investigation.


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