Neighbors Hope Badly Burned Firefighter Heals, Comes Home Soon
UPDATE: Jason Martinez remains in critical condition as of Friday night at 8:30 p.m.
Hartford firefighter Jason Martinez was searching a burning home on Blue Hills Avenue on Tuesday night when he was forced to jump out of a second-story window, according to a letter written by the president of the Hartford Firefighter's Association.
Martinez's colleague, Kevin Bell, 48, died after the same fire when he suffered "critical injuries and was removed from the building in cardiac arrest,” the letter said.
Martinez, 29, received burns to 10 percent of his body. He is in critical, but stable condition at the Bridgeport Burn Center, where he's being treated, as of 7 p.m. Wednesday.
The fireman's neighbors in Manchester hope he is okay.
“I'm going to church this evening and I am going to pray for him,” said Francis Okonkwo, who lives a few doors down.
People who know Martinez said he always sports a smile. They describe him as a dog lover and a good person.
“My impression of him was that he was very helpful because we were talking about some wood that was left in the yard over here,” said Toni Sterne, who lives across the street. “We had a nice conversation and I said, it's nice to have somebody young people around that I think might help."
Martinez is appreciated at work, too. In 2011, Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra praised him and six others for extraordinary acts during a fire on Cleveland Avenue in Hartford’s Northeast end.
The decorated fireman is expected to survive, and Martinez’s neighbors hope he is home soon.
“I wish him a speedy recovering because the job they are doing is a humanitarian job, you know, not everyone can do that kind of job,” said Okonkwo, who said he hasn't formally met Martinez, but he’s glad to know “such a caring person lives in the neighborhood.”
“I know he's a delightful young man and I wish him the speediest recovery. Tell him that I'm thinking of him. It's the English lady across the street, he will know,” said Sterne, with a smile.
Well-wishes for Martinez are coming in from all over the country via social media, including ‘thoughts and prayers’ from departments in Ohio, Nevada, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, South Carolina and New York.