By Angeljean ChiaramidaStaff Writer August 1, 2011 SALISBURY — The town is mourning the loss of a hometown hero today, after veteran firefighter Tim Oliveira died yesterday at a Boston hospital from injuries sustained in a work-related accident on Friday. It fell to Salisbury’s Deputy Fire Chief Steven Lesage to make the announcement yesterday. “It is with great sadness that I announce the death of Salisbury fire Lt. Tim Oliveira, who passed away this afternoon,” Lesage said in a prepared statement. “Tim was a much-beloved, 27-year member of the Salisbury Fire Department. “Our heartfelt condolences go to his wife, Pam, and his extended family that truly includes members of the Salisbury Fire Department including Fire Chief Richard Souliotis.” Oliveira, 53, of Salisbury, who was in charge of vehicle maintenance for the department, was crushed Friday when a jack slipped while he worked beneath a vehicle that was parked behind the fire station on Lafayette Street. As the lieutenant lay pinned by the weight of the vehicle, his fellow firefighters rushed to his aid, working desperately to rescue him. One of five full-time firefighters on Salisbury’s primarily on-call fire department, Oliveira was part of the department’s sturdy foundation. “This is terrible,” Selectman Donald Beaulieu said. “Timmy was such a good man. He was one of those incredibly steady guys. He was always there, always on the job. As I understand it, he helped keep the fire department’s fleet of vehicles going. He was an exemplary town employee and firefighter who did a great job protecting the citizens of Salisbury.” Oliveira grew up in a family that understood public service. His father, Edwin Oliveira, a Navy veteran, was a member of the Salisbury Police Department for 30 years, serving as its chief from 1980 until his death in 1988. Oliveira’s death delivered a double loss for Souliotis. Not only was Oliveira a treasured colleague, but the two were brothers-in-law. “They were incredibly close,” Town Manager Neil Harrington said on Saturday. Following the accident Friday, fire officials from the region converged on the Salisbury Fire Department to provide station coverage and support Oliveira’s worried colleagues. Police from Salisbury and Newburyport diverted traffic on busy Route 1 to allow an ambulance to reach Oliveira as fast as possible, then race him to Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport. In critical condition upon arrival, Oliveira was airlifted by helicopter to a Boston hospital for treatment. On Sunday, with the announcement of Oliveira’s passing, fire officials from neighboring communities returned to the Salisbury station to console the men and women who had worked with Oliveira, in some cases for decades. The Salisbury Fire Department has asked the public to respect the family’s privacy during this time of mourning. Funeral arrangements will be announced when they are finalized.
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