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COVENTRY, R.I. (WPRI) — A Coventry firefighter is recovering after the roof of a burning building collapsed on him Thursday afternoon.
Firefighters rushed to a home on Mohawk Street following reports of smoke and flames shooting from the second floor.
Acting Lieutenant Scott Brown with the Central Coventry Fire District was one of the first to arrive and assess the situation.
“He was the first firefighter through the door [of the house],” Central Coventry Fire Captain Jim Almagno said.
Almagno said Scott had knocked down most of the fire shortly before a portion of the roof collapsed on top of him.
Scott was thrown to the ground, according to Almagno, but immediately got back up and continued working after checking himself and his gear.
It wasn’t until Scott couldn’t move his arm that he realized something was wrong.
“His adrenaline was pumping,” Almagno said. “He kept trying to work but noticed his arm gave out.”
Brown was brought out of the house by the firefighters who were inside the house with him.
“His fellow firefighters went to work on him right away,” Almagno said, adding that most firefighters double as paramedics.
Coventry Fire Chief Frank Brown tells 12 News that it appears a shard of glass “impaled” Scott’s arm.
“[The roof], we think, hit a flat screen TV and shards of glass shot out from that,” he explained. “It appears the shard of glass went parallel through his arm.”
Scott was eventually brought to Rhode Island Hospital, where doctors expressed concern that he may have suffered significant nerve damage. He underwent surgery Friday to have the glass shard removed from his arm, according to the fire chief.
“We’re talking about a young firefighter who just loves this job,” he said. “When he was told prior to surgery that he might not make [a full recovery], it really hurt.”
The surgery was successful, according to the fire chief, and while Scott has a lengthy road to recovery ahead of him, he will eventually be able to return to work.
“He’s going to be waking up to good news,” he added. “We can’t wait to get him back.”
The fire chief described Scott as as asset to the department. Back in 2018, Scott went above and beyond in his attempt to stop an autistic boy from driving off in an ambulance.
“He put himself in peril to stop a potentially bigger incident from happening,” the fire chief said. “It’s just the type of individual he is.”
An image of Scott being cared for by his fellow firefighters is making its rounds on social media. The fire chief tells 12 News that, when he first saw the photo, it brought a tear to his eye.
“When we come to work, we don’t know how the day is going to go,” he said. “That picture shows the brotherhood in this job … we will do whatever it takes to be there for each other.”
Almagno said the cause of the fire remains under investigation, and that the home appears to be a total loss. The three residents who lived there are being assisted by the American Red Cross.
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