STATEWIDE (WGME) – It’s been a tough couple of days for members of Maine’s firefighter community, as they prepare to lay another one of their own to rest.
On Monday, a procession of fire trucks led fallen Oxford Fire Chief Gary Sacco from Maine Medical Center in Portland to Fortin’s Funeral Home in Lewiston.
Chief Sacco died of an unknown medical problem Sunday morning while attending the funeral for fallen Berwick Fire Capt. Joel Barnes.
Oxford Deputy Fire Chief Shawn Cordwell said the entire department is devastated and stunned after Sacco’s sudden passing.
“The fire service community is a true brother and sisterhood and to have lost one brother and to be celebrating his life and then to lose another was devastating,” Cordwell said.
Cordwell said Sacco was with other fire chiefs getting ready to go into Barnes’ funeral when he had to be rushed to the hospital.
“It was a medical event, catastrophic medical obviously, but as far as specifics, we won’t know,” Cordwell said.
Sacco, who was 63, had been Oxford’s fire chief for the past two years after retiring from the new Gloucester Fire Department.
Officials at Maine Medical Center said Sacco died not long after being admitted.
Cordwell said he rushed there when he heard the news.
“We do this job every day and we are usually on that end of the resuscitation to try to revive someone and to be on the other side of the fence is heartbreaking and a very helpless feeling,” he said.
He said Sacco was a firefighter and mentor who will be greatly missed.
“He was constantly studying fires, learning from fires and then an incredible mentor to pass that knowledge onto us so that God forbid this day occurred, he would’ve left us with the knowledge that he had gained,” Cordwell said.