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‘It’s really impressive, what he did’: Manchester fire captain continues recovery from burns

Capt. Steve DesRuisseaux sustained burns to about 40 percent of his body in a recent fatal blaze.

The Manchester, New Hampshire, fire captain who sustained burns to about 40 percent of his body during a recent fire is continuing to recover and is doing well.

John Soares, president of the Boston Firefighters Union, said that Capt. Steve DesRuisseaux was set for surgery on Tuesday, and that he’s been able to talk to his family as he recovers.

“I think he’s lucky,” Soares said. “It could’ve been a lot worse.”

DesRuisseaux and his crew were the first to arrive at the fire Saturday on Dutton Street, which claimed the life of a woman; firefighters performed six rescues that night.


DesRuisseaux went inside the building after he saw people trapped on the third floor. Four adults and two children were rescued from the second and third floors, including a baby.

At one point, DesRuisseaux became “engulfed in flames” after the rescue from the second floor. He got stuck on a ladder while attempting to jump from the second floor, and as another firefighter went to free him, a third had to knock the ladder away since heavy fire was coming from the second floor.

Soares noted that DesRuisseaux “feels bad” that he wasn’t able to rescue the victim. She has since been identified as Kathryn Conn, 59, according to The Boston Globe.

“It’s really impressive, what he did up there in saving that family in spite of the loss that they did have,” Soares said. “That could’ve been a worse tragedy. His actions and what he did, I told his son, ‘Your father is a real hero.’ I was impressed by what he did.”

As DesRuisseaux recovers, firefighters outside of his department have been helping his family.

“It’s something that you don’t want to ever get. You don’t want to get that phone call, as a parent, as a wife,” DesRuisseaux’s wife, Colleen DesRuisseaux, told 7News.


After that call, the Boston Firefighters Union called to meet the family at the hospital. They paid for a hotel room for a week for the family since DesRuisseaux was sent to Mass General Hospital.

Then, a group of firefighters showed up at the couple’s son’s hockey game.

“It brought tears to his eyes,” Colleen DesRuisseaux said. “He was so touched and moved that these men would come and be there for him and his son when he couldn’t be there and be his dad that night.”

Soares spoke to the family nature and camaraderie of being a firefighter, noting that he could show up at a firehouse in California and the crew there would be welcoming.

“It is one of the best parts of this job,” he said.


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