Frank J. Sousa

Frank J. Sousa

Frank was a dedicated firefighter who rose to the rank of deputy fire chief and was the town’s fire marshal. He lost his life in a tragic car accident responding to his station, where his fellow brothers and sisters from the department bravely tried to save his life. He was very involved with different organizations within the fire department, including the welfare committee, rescue, fire police, and fundraising, to name a few. He was committed to his station, the Defiance Hose Company Engine 3 and 5, which he joined in 1993. In 2005, he ran a crew to bring the station back to its original format. He was very involved with the biannual clam boils and the firemen’s muster, winning the water battle a few times over the years.

Frank was a true Bristolian. He was raised there and lived there most of his life, briefly moving away in his 20s, only to move back because he loved his town. While in high school, he got involved in carpentry and loved it. He started as a carpenter and continued in that field until becoming the fire marshal in 2009.

When he joined the fire department, he got involved with all aspects of the station. He was captain when his station turned 100 and proudly gave out awards and badges to all the station’s personnel. Just before his death he applied for a grant to receive a Humvee to be used as the first forestry truck in Bristol. He dedicated a lot of time with various businesses to help him get the truck on the road. He was one of the instructors for the department. He enjoyed helping all the younger firefighters and watching them grow and was always there for them. He received many awards for his many accomplishments throughout the years.

His first love was always his family. He loved his son and his stepchildren. He loved visiting and playing with his grandchildren and was a great husband. We loved to travel together. For his 50th birthday, he wanted to go on a Disney cruise and go to Disney World. When we went, I was able to surprise him by having his close friend and his wife join us on the cruise. He was so surprised! Then, when we went to Disney World, our oldest grandchildren were able to join us. He went on every ride with them, and his favorite ride was Peter Pan. He was a lot like Peter Pan—a little boy in a man’s body, always playful and with a big sense of humor.

The world and I lost a true hero. He was my rock, and he touched a lot of lives. He will always be missed.


Richard A. Jenks

Richard A. Jenks

Lieutenant Richard A. Jenks, age 72, of the Pascoag Fire Department, died on February 14, 2018, after collapsing at the scene of a residential chimney fire while assisting with fireground operations.

Gerard Nadeau

Gerard Nadeau was the chief of the East Tiverton Volunteer Fire Department. On the date of his loss, the department was responding to a structure fire on Hancock St, which is on the Tiverton Rhode Island / Massachusetts border. He was responding to the scene in his personal vehicle when he experienced, according to the Rhode Island State coroner, a heart attack. His vehicle then struck a utility pole, he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Edward W. Vanner Jr.

Edward W. Vanner Jr.

Assistant Chief Edward W. Vanner Jr., age 58, of the 143rd Fire & Emergency Services, Quonset ANG Base died on June 17, 2013, after being found unconscious in his office during his shift.

Gerald R. Leduc

Gerald R. Leduc

Submitted by his Chief

In life‚ Gerald Leduc was a leader among firefighters‚ recalled a longtime friend‚ retired Fire Department Capt. Howard Passwater. Leduc was at one time Chief of the South Tiverton Volunteer Fire Department‚ but he never aspired to any rank‚ Passwater said in an interview earlier this week. He was promoted posthumously to lieutenant.

He had worked 25 years as a fulltime firefighter‚ although he began his career in the volunteer force as a teenager. Passwater‚ the retired Fire Department Captain‚ said he has spent several sleepless nights this past week wondering about the fragility of life.

Leduc‚ 52‚ had been on his day off last Sunday‚ enjoying Stafford Pond on a jet ski‚ when the call came in about a man overboard in the vicinity. ‘He would bend over backward to do anything for anybody‚ which is how he ended up dying‚’ Passwater said.

He had ‘more friends than he could count‚’ Passwater said. ‘He was very cool under pressure. It was very hard to rattle Gerry.’

Passwater‚ Leduc‚ and another firefighter had been on a triple date one night in 1982 when they were walking to their cars and heard the unmistakable sounds of a car-pedestrian accident; the squeal of brakes followed by a thud. A drunken driver on Stafford Road had struck a man named Joseph Arruda‚ shearing off one leg and sending him 20 feet into the air as he was trying to cross the street to his car. In flash‚ Leduc and Passwater took off their belts. Leduc got to the man first‚ fashioning a tourniquet. Arruda‚ who survived‚ credited Leduc and a police officer‚ Mark Pelletier‚ with saving his life. ‘There was a lot of blood‚’ Arruda said in a phone conversation this week. ‘I wouldn’t have made it if they weren’t there.’

Passwater said he and Leduc never had to talk much about what needed to be done on the job. They could read each other’s thoughts‚ he said‚ recalling the time when firefighters had driven down a narrow lane to fight a fire on a farm but didn’t have enough clearance in the woods to line up two fire trucks so they could get the water off one vehicle into the hoses of the other. Passwater and Leduc looked at each other‚ Passwater recalled‚ and they both moved as one to unload a portable gasoline pump from one of the trucks and get it going. But the highlight of their shared experiences must have been the time they delivered a baby together in the back seat of a car parked outside the police station‚ just off Route 24‚ Passwater said. It happened during the 1970s‚ when they were young volunteer firefighters‚ still green in experience. He remembered how their shared terror gave way to elation with the birth of the child. ‘I remember that it was cold‚ because there was steam coming off the baby‚’ he said.

Another man who worked with Leduc‚ fire Captain Kevin Ratcliffe‚ said it was fitting that Leduc’s last call involved diving and rescue operations‚ the things he loved most. (Copied from the Providence Journal article) Lt. Leduc was awarded the rank of Lieutenant posthumously; he was also awarded the Department of valor and the metal of Honor. He was also awarded the IAFF Medal of Honor.

Wayne D. Brown

Wayne D. Brown

Wayne D. Brown
Bristol Fire & Rescue Department – Rhode Island
Volunteer Firefighter
Date of Death: November 3‚ 2008
Age: 63

Wayne was born on September 2‚ 1945‚ in Central Falls‚ Rhode Island. As a kid growing up in the 1960s‚ while his friends were rocking to the tunes of Elvis and the Beatles‚ he developed a lifelong passion for classical music and history. Wayne graduated from Rhode Island College in 1972 with a degree in history with a special interest in World War II.

In 1967‚ desiring to serve his country‚ he enlisted in the United States Navy. Not knowing in what direction he wanted to go‚ he listed five areas of interest on his Navy application. The last one he listed was medical corpsman‚ thinking this would never happen as most volunteers were granted their first or second choice. Little did he realize‚ this choice would affect the rest of his life. From 1967-1970 he served as a medic‚ caring for wounded Vietnam soldiers and doing other special missions for the Navy.

Upon leaving the Navy and graduating from college‚ he moved to Bristol‚ Rhode Island‚ and joined the Bristol Volunteer Fire Department in 1976. He was a member of the Hydraulion Engine and Hose No.1‚ rising to the rank of captain of the Bristol Rescue Squad. In the latter part of his 32-year career‚ he served as a member of the Bristol Fire Police.

Wayne was a member and past president of the Bristol‚ Rhode Island‚ Cup Defenders Association and a 31-year member of St. Alban’s Lodge #6‚ Order of the Masons. Wayne was also a tax assessor for Bristol‚ Warren‚ and‚ at the time of his passing‚ for the City of Central Falls‚ Rhode Island.

No matter what Wayne was doing‚ his true calling in life was to be a firefighter. It was his passion. Although a quiet person by nature‚ he loved helping people wherever and however he could. His family and friends never saw him without his radio by his side‚ waiting to run out the door at the first call of a fire.

Wayne’s final call came on November 3‚ 2008‚ at 3:00 a.m. As he rushed out the door and was on his way to a fire‚ he experienced chest pain and radioed the rescue department that was also on the way to the fire. The department diverted a rescue wagon to his location‚ but by the time they arrived he had passed away. His final ride was in the rescue wagon with the people he had so proudly worked with and served with for 32 years of his life.

Michael J. Day

Michael J. Day

Submitted by his Wife

Mike comes from a true firefighting family. He followed his father‚ Lt. Frank J. Day onto the Providence Fire Department in April of 1979. Three of his brothers also joined the department shortly after him.

With Bachelor of Science Degrees in Physical Education and Fire Science‚ he went on to complete his Executive Fire Officer (EFO) from the National Fire Academy shortly before his death in June of 2006.

Mike has several citations and commendations from his 27 years of service in Providence including a Heroic Action Medal for rescuing four people from the ledge of a burning building. He was honored as Providence firefighter of the year in 1989. Mike worked his way through the ranks of Lieutenant‚ Captain‚ and Battalion Chief before being promoted to Deputy Assistant Chief in June of 2005.

Mike is survived by his wife of twenty-three years‚ Cindy‚ and their four children; Michael‚ Amanda‚ Brianne‚ and Stephanie. He is also survived by three brothers‚ three sisters and several nieces and nephews who lovingly referred to him as ‘uncle dude’.

Richard O’Brien

Richard  O'Brien

Submitted by his son

Firefighter Richard O’Brien at the time of his death had over 40 years service in the Warren Fire Department‚ Mechanics Fire Engine Co. #2. Richard had served the Company as a officer in the 1970’s and the department as a Deputy Chief in the 1980’s. He was well respected in the community by many and was elected to the Town Council in the 1980’s. He would always give his time and energy to any organization in the town to help raise money for them.

If you needed to cook and get people fed Richard was your man. During the summer you could find him getting ready for the many Clambakes that he loved to do. He always said ‘ A bad day at a clambake is always better that a good day at work.’

On Sept. 10‚ 2004 Richard answered his last call. Responding to a report of a fire on the third floor at 67 Water Street. This address was one that he knew very well. He had grown up in that house. Responding to the station he found a driver already taken the engine so he said that he would just walk over being only 3 houses down from the station. Richard entered the house to help with ventilation from smoke food that was burned up in a microwave oven. While standing around with other firefighters and officers talking about a clambake that just the day before had worked Richard collapsed into the arms of his son Captain Patrick O’Brien.

Richard is survived by his wife Janet‚ daughters Dawn‚ Erin and Kerri‚ Son Patrick and grand daughter Gillian.

Ralph Warren Blackmar

Ralph Warren Blackmar‚ 66‚ firefighter‚ South Foster Volunteer Fire Department‚ died August 1‚ 2001‚ while driving a fire engine to a fire. A longtime volunteer with the department‚ he was a dedicated and dependable firefighter who responded consistently during daytime hours when fewer volunteers are available. He was a founder and past president of the Foster Ambulance Corps. A graduate of the Territorial College of Guam and the University of Rhode Island‚ Blackmar was an Air Force veteran.

Ronald Albert Guilmette

There is no profile listed for this fallen firefighter.