Plaque to honor fallen Mass. firefighter

Fire Capt. Patrick J. Foley died of multiple injuries in a vehicle accident

By Ellie Oleson
The Telegram & Gazette

AUBURN, Mass. — On Firemen's Memorial Sunday, June 13, the dam behind Drury Square Fire Station will be dedicated in memory of Fire Capt. Patrick J. Foley in a ceremony at 10 a.m. A brass plaque will be placed on a stone behind the station.

"This will do more than honor the first Auburn firefighter to die in the line of duty. It will also remember all our fallen firefighters," said Fire Lt. Kenneth A. Holstrom, department historian.

On March 6, 1930, Engine 2 stopped at the Worcester Rendering Works on Southbridge Street to pick up town police officer and Fire Capt. Foley, 60, on the way to a blaze on the Thayer estate off Pakachoag Street.

Capt. Foley died at the scene. His death certificate says he died of "multiple injuries — automobile accident, fire truck at a grass fire, crush of chest — fractured ribs, fractures of both lower legs."

"We know he was the first Auburn firefighter to die in the line of duty, and we know it is time he was honored after 80 years," Lt. Holstrom said.

He said the department's only other on-duty death was that of Deputy Fire Chief Arthur G. "Doc" Pierce, who died of a heart attack while responding to a fire on Sept. 22, 1961.

Lt. Holstrom credited Auburn Historical Society members Kenneth R. Ethier and Norma E. Card with initiating Sunday's dedication.

Among those invited to the ceremony are Capt. Foley's relatives, including Worcester resident Joseph M. Baniukiewicz, chaplain for the Yankee Division Veterans Association and a 30-year deacon at Christ the King Church in Worcester.

Capt. Foley was a firefighter, police officer and member of the St. Joseph's Church Holy Name Society, Knights of Columbus and Auburn Rod and Gun Club. He was survived by his wife, Elizabeth F. Foley; two children, John J. Foley and Anna F. Sabin; and two grandchildren, Elizabeth and Richard Sabin of Fall River.

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