Epping firefighter Cam Beauchesne is on a road to recovery that will take him to a Boston hospital Wednesday after suffering second-degree burns fighting a fire in Brentwood last weekend.
The 27-year-old whose passion for firefighting began when he was young has been sidelined by the injury that occurred while fire crews from several communities were battling the latest in a string of house fires that have hit the state in recent weeks.
Beauchesne was among the Epping firefighters who responded to a home on South Road in Brentwood that was heavily damaged by the fire Saturday night.
After arriving at the scene, he said he pulled a hose line to the front door to try to enter, and as he got closer he could feel the heat intensifying.
“I was trying to put my glove on and flames were shooting back at me and I ducked to protect myself and I put my hand up,” he said.
The heat from the fire burned this left hand and the top of his head.
“It’s a weird feeling because it felt like my head was on fire,” he said.
Even as the skin on his hand began to blister almost instantly, Beauchesne managed to put the glove on and continued to work the fire scene.
But after several minutes he began to realize the severity of the burns.
“I walked up to the pump operator and I said to him, ‘I need to go to the hospital. I’ve been burned.’ I just felt like I was starting to fade away and that’s when it really did hurt,” said Beauchesne, who was treated at Elliot Hospital in Manchester.
He’ll travel to Massachusetts General Hospital on Wednesday to receive additional treatment at its burn center.
The possibility of infection is one of the biggest concerns, he said.
Beauchesne began his career in fire service as a fire explorer 14 years ago and has been a call firefighter for six years.
This is the first time he’s ever suffered a serious burn.
The experience has taught him a few things that he will do differently at the next fire. The most important, he said, is making sure he puts his gloves on before he gets too close to a burning building.
“It’s a lesson learned,” he said.
Beauchesne doesn’t know how long he’ll be sidelined, but he hopes it isn’t too long. He’s already itching to get back on the scene.
“If I had the clearance, I would go right back right now,” he said.
His passion for firefighting began when he was young. He said he joined the fire department as a way to give back to the community.
While he’s an Epping firefighter, Beauchesne lives in Raymond and has never hesitated to help out in his hometown when the need arises. When fire swept through a large apartment building in Sunview Apartments in Raymond last month, Beauchesne showed up at Raymond High School to help with relief efforts for the victims.
“I’m all about giving back and I don’t expect anybody to give me anything. I don’t want anything from anybody. This (injury) sets me back big time,” he said.
Acting Epping Fire Chief Joe Lombardo knows Beauchesne wants to get back on the job as soon as possible.
“He wants to heal quickly so he can come back and help out as much as he can,” he said.
Lombardo and others who know him praised Beauchesne for his dedication to the department.
“To see a young man like him and his aggressiveness and his passion for helping others is really remarkable. He is definitely somebody you can count on whenever there’s a fire,” Lombardo said.