SPRING VALLEY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Fire investigators have confirmed the alarm system at a Rockland County assisted living center was on test mode when a deadly fire broke out.
As CBS2’s Jessica Moore reports, the alarm system was not connected to dispatch at the time of the fire, but the alarm system alerted residents to danger inside the building.READ MORE: Rockland County Mourns Fallen Volunteer Firefighter Jared Lloyd, Who ‘Gave His Life In Service To Others’
The fire chief also says they were not able to fight the fire as quickly as they could have because the water pressure on site was inadequate.
Donations continued pouring in Friday for the residents displaced by the massive fire. There were 112 people inside the Evergreen Court Home for Adults when it went up in flames around 1 a.m. Tuesday. One resident died.
All surviving residents have been moved to other assisted living facilities throughout Rockland County.
Watch Jessica Moore’s report —
A memorial is growing for 35-year-old Spring Valley volunteer firefighter Jared Lloyd, the 15-year veteran who was killed trying to rescue people trapped inside on the third floor.
“Unfortunately, Jared pushed to the last possible second. Him and other members were evacuating a victim that was on the phone with 911, stating he was trapped, he needed help … On their way out, conditions worsened and he was separated from his crew,” Fire Chief Ken Conjura said.
Officials say he was killed because he refused to leave anyone behind.
“This is probably the greatest joint save effort with the worst type of outcome, meaning, there were so many people saved that day, but we lost one of our own,” Conjura said.
Two other firefighters and a dozen residents were hurt in the fire.
The investigation into the deadly fire continues with the fire department looking into how much, if any, impact the downed alarm system had on their response time.
Despite reports, the center says a pre-Passover cleaning did not cause the flames. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
There’s still no word on the identity of the resident killed in the fire. CBS2 has been told four residents are still in the hospital.
As for the other two firefighters who were injured, both had to go to the hospital, but both, we’re told, are back home tonight. The fire chief says they’re expected to make a full recovery.
Remembering A Fallen Hero
The community gathered Friday to thank all the first responders who put their lives on the line that night and to honor Lloyd, who they call the “son of Spring Valley.”
“He must have gone through natural hell to sacrifice his life so that others may live,” said Willie Trotman with the Spring Valley NAACP.
“A hole in my heart to know that someone’s life was taken so tragically, but yet, he saved so many … and the greatest gift was, in talking with his mother, was that he did what he loved, being a firefighter,” said Tijuana Parker, a friend of Lloyd’s.
“He was that guy that you could call and he would be here in a minute. He was that guy that couldn’t leave because he was afraid to miss something. He was that guy that you want to have on your team. He’s going to be a big, big, tremendous loss to this department. He died as a hero,” Conjura said.
Conjura says Lloyd kept going in and out of the building while battling fire, which doesn’t surprise him.
“He’s a giver… He was giving his all and that’s just how he is,” he said.
Friends and family say he was known for lighting up a room with his smile — a friend, a firefighter, but first and foremost, a father.
“He would do anything for children. He would do anything for anybody,” Conjura said.
While fighting the fire, Lloyd was separated from his team, including Eric Cich, who was hospitalized for smoke inhalation.
“The pain in my lungs pales in comparison to the pain in my heart right now,” he told CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis.
He lost a best friend who is more like a brother.
“We’ve been friends for 16 years. It was a really, really devastating blow the other night especially since I was physically with him on the third floor,” Cich said.READ MORE: Resident Dead, Firefighter Unaccounted For After Massive Blaze Destroys Evergreen Court Home For Adults In Rockland County
Cich is the godfather to Lloyd’s youngest son.
“What are you gonna tell his son when he grows up about his dad?” DeAngelis asked.
“Your father died a hero. He died saving lives,” Cich said.
Sentiments echoed by John Conjura, the godfather of Lloyd’s other son, Logan.
“He made me a godfather to his kid to make sure if anything ever happened to him, I was gonna take care of it, which I’m going to,” Conjura said. “If he’s got a tee-ball game, I’m gonna go to it because he’s not there to do it.”
Conjura met Lloyd in high school when they were both on the football team. They were roommates for six years and Lloyd was even in his wedding party.
Conjura described him as a great guy who always had a smile on his face.
“We didn’t know why he was smiling half the time, but he smiled anyway, even that night when we got out the truck, he smiled at me and went on in,” he said.
The fire department rallied around Logan this week with a massive fire truck parade for his sixth birthday.
“I think that that shows a lot about each and every one that signs up to be a volunteer firefighter,” Rebecca Schultz, the mother of Lloyd’s oldest son, said.
She is also a member of Columbia Engine Fire Company No. 1 and is so moved by the support.
“It’s really hard to sit there and tell my kid you’re used to seeing your dad so often and now you physically can’t,” she said. “We couldn’t imagine going through this tragedy without the love and support of everybody.”
“How do you want him to be remembered?” DeAngelis asked.
“I want people to remember him as a happy, loving, biggest heart, best father anybody could ask for,” Schultz said.
She says Lloyd made everyone around him better.
“Jared was extremely hard working and would give you the shirt off his back. I think Jared was extremely loving and if he felt a bond with a person, he would go over and beyond for someone,” Schultz said.
A volunteer firefighter for 15 years…
“He would drop everything he had to do to come and make sure he was helping the residents,” Ken Conjura said. “He’s all around a hero.”
A selfless man who made the ultimate sacrifice.
“That is a great loss and that we’re really going to miss him,” Schultz said.
“Don’t remember Jared for the fire, just remember Jared for who he was, a funny, goofy guy, always fun to hang out with, always had a smile on,” Cich said. “Jared was an unbelievable soul and I’m gonna miss him a lot.”
Fundraisers have been set up to benefit Lloyd’s family.
Checks and cash can be mailed to:
Columbian Engine Company
Attn: Lloyd fundraiser
63-65 West St.
Spring Valley, NY 10977
CLICK HERE to donate online.
CBS2’s Jessica Moore and Jenna DeAngelis contributed to this report.