Bridgeport Mourns Two Fallen Heroes

Gov. Jodi Rell order flags flown at half-staff

By Brynn Gingras
|  Monday, Jul 26, 2010  |  Updated 11:21 AM EDT
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Bridgeport Mourns Two Fallen Heroes

Ben Sosenko NBC Connecticut

The city of Bridgeport is mourning the loss of two of Connecticut's bravest.

Lt. Steven Velasquez and firefighter Michel Baik died while trying to extinguish a house fire on Elmwood Avenue Saturday afternoon.

They’re jobs were to search and rescue victims inside the home and ventilate the house; they were the ones that needed to be rescued. Both men died while trying to save others. Sunday, Governor Rell ordered flags be flown at half-staff in their memory.

At the fire station located on Ocean Terrace, a black draping adorns the door where Ladder Eleven sits quietly.

Lt. Velasquez’s and Baik’s boots were placed outside with candles and flowers. Members of the community are still in shock.

"They come in to do their jobs and look they’re not here today, it’s really sad," says Mirna Velez, who lives across the street from where the house fire happened.

A former Bridgeport resident told NBC Connecticut that upon hearing what happened, she felt compelled return to her hometown and pay her respects.

"I just expect to give my condolences to the fire department and their family that died," says Dora Olivera, who now lives in Ansonia..

Firefighters who worked at the same station told NBC Connecticut Lt. Velasquez was a "great guy" who had been with the department for more than a decade.

The same was said about Officer Baik who was considered a rookie with the department but "was an extremely hard worker".

Now, everyone’s condolences turn to the young families the two men leave behind.

"We send our prayers quietly, we mourn with them," said Velez.

Funeral arrangements have not yet been made for the two men.

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