Lt. Samod Rankins, who was found unconscious in the house with fallen FF Ricardo Torres and was rushed to Bridgeport Hospital’s burn unit, was upgraded from critical to fair condition today, Friday. Lt. Rankins, who is clear-headed and functioning well — although not recovered — was critically injured Wednesday in that fire in the 100 block of Valley Street, killing Firefighter Ricky Torres. Naturally, Lt. Rankins was emotionally distraught Thursday to learn of his death.
Lt. Rankins, a New Haven resident, has been a Firefighter for little more than three years and rose through the ranks quickly. Doctors are telling Rankins not to talk, as his throat and lungs are healing, and so he is not. He is breathing on his own after they took a tube out Thursday.
Rankins, who comes from a close-knit family of churchgoers, was so worried about his mother after he was injured that once he was at the hospital on a stretcher and gained some awareness after being unconscious, he contacted a retired NH FF through Facetime to say, “Call my mother,” then Facetimed him again to remind him and yelled out her number.
In a note written on a pad Thursday morning, he told his Mom that he wanted to see certain people, including his firefighters….his big concern is was about the other men.
Lt. Rankins and FF Torres were pulled from the fire after each made Mayday calls indicating distress. The two were found unconscious on the second floor of the building…NHFD Firefighters rescued two residents who were trapped inside the home.
The New Haven community, as well as the firefighter community, have expressed grief over the death of Torres and the critical nature of Rankins’ injuries, as he is so loved and respected. Torres was the first New Haven firefighter to die in the line of duty in more than a decade.