Unwitnessed Arrest Delayed Treatment
BRUCE TURCOTTE, 58, FIREFIGHTER AND FORMER CHIEF of the Hopelawn, New Jersey, Volunteer Fire Department passed away Thursday on the scene of a fatal house fire in Woodbridge. It was later determined that he had a heart attack while operating a pumper and died at the scene.
Star-Ledger file photo
The citizen who found him related her story to the Woodbridge Patch:
She parked her car a distance away, and saw firefighters scurrying to and fro, aiming fire hoses at the thick black clouds of smoke that obliterated the house from view.
That was when Sweeney passed one of the fire engines that, she thought, for a moment had a mannequin in the driver's seat. "That's strange. It's not real. The color is so odd," she thought for a moment.
"I almost wanted to touch him to see if he was real," she said, but in a second that thought fled as she worked her way to some of the firemen whose sole attention was on battling the blaze in front of them.
Sweeney pointed to the engine, hidden behind an ambulance whose EMS workers were treating some firefighters overcome by the smoke. "There's a man in there. He looks unconscious," she said.
The firemen looked at one another and in seconds, they had located Turcotte, dragged his body from the cab of the fire engine, and were furiously working to revive him.
Sweeney stepped back and watched in horror.
"They didn't know [that he was injured.] You couldn't see him from where they were fighting the fire. The ambulance blocked it. You had to be where I was," she said.
During the fire a body was discovered in the basement. Neighbors identified him as the former resident who had been evicted in November by a foreclosure notice. They believe he had been surreptitiously living in the house since then.
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Also on FireGeezer…
- Mom & 4 Children Perish in House Fire – December 27, 2012
- Fire Claims Neighbor Trying to Rescue Occupants – March 4, 2013
- Mom and 4 Kids Perish in Suspicious House Fire – October 16, 2012
- 2 Children Die, 2 Others Serious in Racine House Fire – November 9, 2012