He said it was like a war zone.
But that didn’t stop off-duty Salem fire Capt. Dennis Levasseur from jumping to action during the Boston Marathon bombings. He wasn’t alone.
Yesterday, Levasseur was among two dozen firefighters from across the state awarded for their heroic efforts in assisting those injured after the attack. He received the State Fire Marshal’s Award during the 24th annual Firefighter of the Year Heroic Awards, in which Gov. Deval Patrick, Public Safety Secretary Andrea Cabral and Fire Marshal Stephen Coan presented more than 16 individual and group awards.
Levasseur was in the stands on April 15 to watch his fellow captain, Kevin Koen, run his first Boston Marathon. As soon as he saw the blasts, he went to see if he could help, while his wife assisted elderly people out of the stands.
“Dennis began to immediately help evacuate the viewing stands,” said fire Chief David Cody in a letter to the marshal’s office. “Even after the second bomb exploded, he moved barriers to open up access for ambulances and first responders. Not knowing if there were other devices planted, Dennis directed his wife away from the area and tended to the injured, assisting with patient care, triage and transport for many individuals.”
Cody said it doesn’t surprise him that Levasseur jumped to action while off duty.
“That is the kind of guy he is. The kind of firefighter he is. The kind of neighbor he is,” Cody said yesterday. “That is how he lives his life; he helps everyone else out.”
Cody said it was a “proud moment” to watch Levasseur and other firefighters receive the awards.
“We are proud to have Dennis as a leader in our department,” he wrote. “His unselfish actions that afternoon provided comfort and care to strangers and support for his fellow first responders and a testament to his character and dedication.”