Courtesy video by Mike Berube

BERWICK — The family of a Berwick firefighter killed in a four-alarm blaze Friday mourned the loss of a son and brother whose desire from boyhood was to help others and serve his community.

Berwick Fire Capt. Joel Barnes Photo courtesy of the Barnes family

Capt. Joel Barnes, 32, of Shapleigh, died from injuries he sustained after he and another firefighter became trapped in a third-floor room of an apartment building on Bell Street in Berwick, according to fire officials and his family.

Barne’s father, Michael Barnes, 66, of Old Orchard Beach, said his son’s last act was to shield another firefighter when the flames and the heat pressed in around them.

“They were told to set down, to hang there and wait for rescue, and he covered the other firefighter up and saved his life,” Michael Barnes said. “I met with the person that he saved. He came up and he hugged me and said, ‘Joel saved my life today. He jumped on me.'”

The announcement of Barnes’ death followed an intense effort by crews from 17 communities in Maine and New Hampshire to control a fire that completely destroyed the third floor of the three-story apartment building and engulfed a rear wooden porch area.

Michael Barnes said his son was among a group of five firefighters who went into the building to fight the flames, and only three of them found a way to escape. Barnes and the firefighter he protected had to be pulled from the building.

Barnes was unresponsive when his colleagues removed him from the building, his father said. EMTs and others immediately began efforts to resuscitate him, but were unsuccessful. He was pronounced dead at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover.