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STOW — State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey and Montgomery Deputy Fire Chief Chris Galipeau announced that Montgomery Fire Chief Stephen P. Frye collapsed fighting a fire at 1524 Southampton Road, Montgomery last night. Immediate aid was rendered by firefighters that were with him and the Hilltown Ambulance that was already on scene. He was transported to Bay State Noble Hospital in Westfield where he was pronounced dead.
Chief Frye was 59 years old. He has been a member of the Montgomery Fire Department since 1993 and chief for about 13 years. He is survived by his wife, an adult son and adult daughter, all of whom live in Montgomery. His son is also a member of the fire department and had responded to the fire where his father collapsed. This is a volunteer fire department made up of members of the community serving their neighbors.
State Fire Marshal Ostroskey said, “This is a small tight knit community and the fire department is like a second family to its members. I offer heartfelt condolences to the Frye family and the Montgomery and area fire departments on this devastating loss.” Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) services are on scene working with the first responders.
The incident required mutual aid from the Easthampton, Huntington, Southampton, Southwick, Westfield, Westhampton, Russell, Barnes Air Force Base, Westover Air Reserve Base, and Holyoke Fire Departments, Hilltown Ambulance, Massachusetts State Police and the Huntington Police Department.
The joint investigation into the origin and cause by the Montgomery Fire Department and State Police assigned to the State Fire Marshal’s Office and to the Hampden District Attorney has determined that the cause of the fire was an accidental chimney fire.
This is the second fire-related firefighter death this year. Watertown Firefighter Joseph Toscano died fighting a house fire on March 17, 2017. Western Massachusetts has not lost a firefighter in a fire since July 24, 2010 in Otis, and April 8, 1999 in Russell.