Trooper died after trying to save baby from burning building — Remembering Francis O’Brien
Sunday, State Police are remembering a trooper who died trying to save a baby from a burning building.
On Aug. 6, 1935, Trooper Francis R. O’Brien responded to a house fire on the Bridgeton Pike in Millville to assist the fire department, State Police said in a Facebook post Sunday — part of their ongoing effort to remember fallen Troopers.
O'Brien learned a 13-month-old baby was still in the burning building, on the second floor, police said.
"He immediately took off his gun belt and had the firemen soak his uniform with water. He then entered the second floor window from the porch roof and rescued the child from a crib," State Police wrote.
But he was too late. The child was already dead.
O’Brien — a lifelong New Jersey resident who was born in Nutley and lived in Spring Lake and Essex — received the Department Merit Award for Outstanding Bravery.
But he suffered from the smoke inhalation, which eventually led to tuberculosis. He was granted a medical discharge on May 1, 1941, State Police said.
On Nov. 27, 1944, he died from a hemorrhage caused by his lung infection, state police said.
O’Brien had served 10 years and 1 month with the New Jersey State Police. He was 35 years old when he died.
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