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Injured New Haven Firefighter Speaks Out About Emotional Challenges After Deadly Fire

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A New Haven fire lieutenant who was injured during a house fire that killed a fellow firefighter is sharing more of his story with the public.

Lt. Samod "Nuke" Rankins was badly hurt in a fire on Valley Street in New Haven on May 12 and 30-year-old firefighter Ricardo Torres, Jr. died in the line of duty while fighting the fire.

On Thursday Rankins penned a Facebook post about the experience, saying the devastating events have changed his life forever and describing the emotional challenges he is working through.

"This is life, injury, loss, tragedy and depression. We keep people from knowing the truth because it’s catastrophic. People can imagine how bad it was, but they will never truly imagine the depth of that horror. I let people imagine how bad it can be, and allow them the comfort of thinking that they have imagined it right. They don't have to know what l know. They will never have to deal with the constant playbacks, wondering if only I were just a little bit stronger or a little bit faster," he wrote.

Rankins has been hospitalized twice since the fire.

He was originally released from Bridgeport Hospital on May 23 and was later treated at Yale New Haven Hospital for what his family described as lung complications. He has since been released.  

He went on to say that he wished he could trade places with Torres, and that he intends to carry on his legacy.

"I love you Ricardo and wish I can trade places with you everyday. Everything I do is for you. I’ll make sure your legacy is carried on. All I want is to protect those who count on us and hope to survive this career with my physical & mental health intact," Rankins wrote.

Rankins has already announced plans to donate $50,000 to a scholarship named in honor of Torres. That fund will be available to help New Haven residents interested in pursuing a career as a firefighter.

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