Fire chief suffers emergency at fallen firefighter’s funeral, dies


In this June 11, 2017, photo provided by Erin Thomas, Berwick Fire Capt. Joel Barnes pulls a ladder on the scene of a structure fire in Somersworth N.H. Barnes died on March 1, 2019, while battling an apartment house fire, (Erin Thomas via AP)

PORTLAND, Maine (AP)  — Maine Gov. Janet Mills says a town fire chief has died after attending the funeral of a fallen firefighter Berwick Fire Capt. Joel Barnes.

Mills says Oxford Fire Chief Gary Sacco on Sunday “lost his life while honoring that of his fallen brother, fellow firefighter Captain Barnes.”

The Boston Globe reports that Maine Medical Center spokesman Matt Wickenheiser confirmed that Sacco was admitted to the hospital while attending the memorial service in Portland, Maine.

Wickenheiser told the Globe that Sacco was pronounced dead at the hospital. No further details have been released.

Barnes was fatally injured shielding a colleague while battling a four-alarm fire earlier on March 1. Firefighters from across New England attended the public memorial.


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