SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

December 13, 2012

Late firefighter honored with Medal of Honor

PEABODY — Fallen Peabody firefighter Jim Rice will be honored with the Medal of Honor at a ceremony Tuesday in Worcester as part of the annual Firefighter of the Year Awards.

A number of North Shore firefighters are also scheduled to receive awards from Gov. Deval Patrick at the event.

Only two days before Christmas last year, Rice collapsed and died while fighting a three-alarm fire at an apartment house on Hancock Street. The fire was of an intensity that crews were at one point driven from the building.

Charged with looking for occupants, Rice was between the second and third floors, facing the flames and heavy smoke, including toxic fumes, when he fell. He sent out a distress call.

Also to be recognized is Deputy Chief Eric Harrison — then a captain — who, according to the fire marshal’s office, passed several crews held back by the blaze and heavy smoke in an effort to locate Rice. On the second floor, Harrison abandoned the relative safety of the hose line to do it. When found, sadly, the fallen man was “unresponsive.”

Harrison next carried Rice over a number of obstacles to his waiting fellows. Though rushed to Salem Hospital, the stricken Rice could not be revived.

“The Medal of Honor is the highest award the governor presents each year,” said Jennifer Mieth of the state fire marshal’s office. “This year, it will go to the people who have sacrificed the most.”

Also receiving a posthumous Medal of Honor will be Worcester firefighter Jon Davies, who died only days before Rice when a building he was in collapsed.

Rice is survived by his wife, Amy, and three children, Alyssa, 13, Katelyn, 10, and Ryan, 8.

“It’s another way to honor Jim and to recognize him,” Peabody Deputy fire Chief Joe Daly said yesterday. “And let me tell you, there isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t think about Jim.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News

AP Video
Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Home-sharing Programs Help Seniors Clinton: "AIDS-Free Generation Within Our Reach" Ex-NYC Mayor: US Should Allow Flights to Israel Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress Bush: Don't Worry, Sugarland Isn't Breaking Up US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Raw: First Lady Says `Drink Up' More Water Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City
Comments Tracker