A solemn procession made its way through southern Maine on Sunday afternoon as the body of fallen Berwick Fire Capt. Joel Barnes was escorted from Dover, New Hampshire, to an Old Orchard Beach funeral home.

The procession moved from the Tasker Funeral Home in Dover, where firefighters had kept a 24-hour vigil over Barnes’ body, to the Old Orchard Beach Funeral Home at 36 Portland Ave.

Firetrucks from several communities were stationed on highway overpasses along the route on the Maine Turnpike.

Barnes was a 2005 graduate of Old Orchard Beach High School and had worked at the Old Orchard Beach Fire Department in the past.

Barnes, 32, of Shapleigh, died Friday after becoming trapped in an apartment building fire at 10 Bell St. in Berwick. He was a paramedic and served as the Berwick Fire and Rescue training officer, as well as its emergency medical services coordinator, according to a statement issued by the town of Berwick.

There is expected to be a private family service for Barnes this week in Old Orchard Beach. Details for a public memorial service for the firefighting community are expected to be announced later this week, Berwick officials said.


Barnes has been credited with saving a fellow firefighter, Mitchell Manfredi, by jumping on him to protect him from the heat and flames while they awaited rescue on the third floor of the apartment house.

“Captain Barnes died a hero, battling a large and dangerous building fire. He made the ultimate sacrifice for his community,” Berwick Fire Chief Dennis Plante said in a statement.

Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the blaze, which started on a third-floor porch.

A team from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is expected sometime early this week to join investigators from the state Fire Marshal’s Office, said Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

McCausland said the ATF team, which brings additional expertise to the investigation, and the state Fire Marshal’s Office team will work at the Berwick fire scene in an effort to determine what started the fire.

The fire displaced 10 people from the three-floor, four-unit building. Dozens of firefighters from 17 communities converged on the scene to extinguish the fire.

Barnes had been with the Berwick Fire Department since 2016 and had worked as a firefighter and paramedic in Maine and South Carolina.

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey contributed to this report.


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