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Injured New Haven Firefighter Thanks People Who've Supported Him; Creates Scholarship in Honor of Fallen Colleague

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A New Haven fire lieutenant who was injured during a house fire that killed a fellow firefighter has released a statement thanking people for all their support as he heals and he is also creating a scholarship in the name of his fallen colleague.

Lt. Samod 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.

“I would like to thank everyone for all their love, prayers, and support over the last few weeks. Words are not enough to express my true gratitude,” Rankins said in a statement.

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.  

“Knowing I was surrounded by so much love, brought me a sense of peace and comfort during such a difficult time. You have helped carry the burden of this journey and your prayers made all difference in my healing. I have a long road ahead of me, but I know I’m not alone. Out of such a dark time came so much light and love. You brightened my darkest days and continue to help me fight each and every day. You have made a huge difference in my world and I pray a special blessing in return,” the statement from Rankins said.

Rankins' family released a statement on Tuesday, saying he is donating $50,000 toward city residents interested in obtaining their EMT certification to pursue firefighter career paths.

The scholarship, the “Ricardo Torres Jr.” scholarship, is named after Torres, who was both Rankins’ colleague as well as a friend.

"I'm creating scholarships to help New Haven residents obtain their EMT certification which will give residents a helping hand in pursuing their Firefighter career paths," Rankins said in a statement.

Rankins’ family said the requirements will be that the applicants must reside in the City of New Haven, be 18 years or older, possess a high school diploma or GED, and write a one-page essay as to why they want to become a firefighter. Applicants will then be contacted for an interview.

The applications will become available on Aug. 1.

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