Connecticut firefighter dies from injuries sustained at house fire

Published: Dec. 26, 2022 at 6:46 PM EST
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NORTH HAVEN, Conn. (WFSB/Gray News) - A firefighter died from his injuries after a fire in Connecticut Monday morning.

Officials said companies in North Haven were dispatched to calls for a building fire on Quinnipiac Avenue around 1 a.m.

Firefighters saw heavy smoke coming from the back of the multi-family home when they arrived, officials said.

While crews battled the blaze, a mayday was called for a firefighter who collapsed, according to officials.

The firefighter was transported to the hospital a short time later where he was later pronounced deceased.

The North Haven Fire Department identified the fallen firefighter as Matthias Wirtz.

The department said Wirtz started as a volunteer in 1996.
The department said Wirtz started as a volunteer in 1996.(North Haven Fire Department)

Wirtz, 46, was a 22-year veteran of the department, fire officials said.

The fire department said Wirtz started as a volunteer firefighter in North Haven in 1996. He graduated from Notre Dame High School in West Haven.

Wirtz received several awards and letters of commendation. He responded to New York City on 9/11, the department said.

“The North Haven Fire Department wants to thank our neighboring departments for the outpouring of support during this difficult time as well as fire station coverage,” the department said.

Wirtz was a talented snare drummer for the New Haven County Firefighters Emerald Society.

“We spend the better part of our careers working with the fire service conducting fire investigations. Our hearts go out to the NHFD during this tragic time,” said Trooper Paul Makuc, of the Connecticut State Police.

Governor Ned Lamont ordered flags to half staff in honor of Wirtz. He also released a statement.

There were no other injuries reported, the fire department said.

Tenant Megan Stafford wiped away tears. She knows she’s lucky. She was out with her kids when the fire started in the house.

“It hurts a lot, but it’ll be alright,” said Megan Stafford.

Stafford came back around 2 a.m. Monday morning to see with firefighters and investigators in the street.

“The first thing I was like, ‘Please don’t be our house,’ and of course, it was,” Stafford said.

North Haven firefighter dies after battling fire

Four families totaling 13 people lived there. They are all OK.

“That’s horrible, it’s just a horrible situation for whatever reason. I’m really sad and my condolences to his family,” said Stafford, talking about Wirtz.

The Red Cross is assisting the displaced families.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. Stafford said she believes the fire started in the attic.