Man gets prison time for starting fire that killed Worcester FF

“My father, Christopher Roy, was the best father I could have asked for," his daughter wrote in her victim impact statement


Tom Matthews
masslive.com

WORCESTER, Mass. — “My father, Christopher Roy, was the best father I could have asked for and he did so much for me when he was alive and still does,” Ava Roy wrote in her victim impact statement, which was read by Roy’s mother, Michelle Roy, in Worcester Superior Court Friday. “He gave me strength, courage and a great mindset.”

Ava wrote that every now and then she feels a sense of warmth and happiness rush over her.

Christopher Roy, 36, died on Dec. 9, 2018.
Christopher Roy, 36, died on Dec. 9, 2018. (Photo/WFD)

“I always know that’s him watching over me — I get a rush of strength and energy when that happens,” Ava wrote.

Several victim impacts were read in court Friday including one from the fallen firefighter’s brother, Jay Roy; the Roy family; Ava Roy; David Scavone, a friend of Christopher Roy; and several statements from former residents of the 5-7 Lowell St. apartment where Roy died while fighting a fire there on Dec. 9, 2018.

The West Boylston man accused of setting the Worcester apartment building on fire, which resulted in the death of Worcester Firefighter Christopher Roy, was sentenced to 14 to 16 years in prison after he pleaded guilty in superior court Friday to a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter.

Momoh Kamara, 24, pleaded guilty in superior court Friday to four changes including voluntary manslaughter, arson of a dwelling, armed burglary and malicious destruction of a vehicle.

Worcester Superior Judge Daniel Wrenn sentenced Karmara to concurrent sentences of 14 to 16 years on the manslaughter and arson charges and five years of probation on the armed burglary and malicious destruction charges.

Roy, 36, died on Dec. 9, 2018, fighting a blaze at 5-7 Lowell St. in Worcester. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined that he died of smoke inhalation.

A Worcester County Grand Jury indicted Kamara, of 157 Hartwell St. in West Boylston, in March of 2019 on charges of second-degree murder, arson of a dwelling, armed burglary and malicious destruction of a motor vehicle.

Kamara accepted a plea deal Friday agreeing to serve a sentence on a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter.

Prosecutors said investigators determined that Kamara started the fire in the early hours of Dec. 9, 2018, in the basement of 5-7 Lowell St. Residents living in the three-story building were able to escape without injury.

Kamara lived at 7 Lowell St. for a short period of time. Prosecutors said he had disagreements with former roommates and was asked to leave.

When responding to the fire, Roy became trapped on the second floor of the six-unit building as firefighters battled the blaze. Other firefighters were able to escape, but Roy’s air tank ran low, and he couldn’t get out.

After fellow firefighters pulled Roy out of the burning building, he succumbed to his injuries.

The loss of Roy in December 2019 was mourned by many in the city and greater region — upwards of 10,000 firefighters attended Roy’s funeral.

Roy’s loss was especially heart-wrenching for the Worcester Fire Department, which has a sad history of firefighter deaths in the month of December, including the loss of the “Worcester Six” in the Cold Storage Warehouse Fire on Dec. 3, 1999, and the death of Firefighter Jon D. Davies Sr. in a Dec. 8, 2011 blaze.

Kamara’s indictment came in March 2019, several months after the 5-7 Lowell St. blaze claimed the life of Roy, who was the father of a 9-year-old girl. He worked as a firefighter in Worcester for two and a half years.

Kamara once lived at 7 Lowell St. but was asked to move out several months before the fire due to issues with roommates. Assistant District Attorney Jeffrey T. Travers said Kamara was upset about items he had lost that were left behind when he moved out. Kamara later damaged a car owned by one of his former roommates outside the building months before the fatal fire as well.

Tavers said investigators determined that on the morning of the fatal fire, Kamara took an Uber early that dropped him off near Clark University in Worcester’s Main South neighborhood. Police tracked Kamara’s movements from there by utilizing surveillance video, which showed him entering Lowell Street around 2:30 a.m., prosecutors said during Kamara’s arraignment in.

Kamara set several fires in the basement while residents were asleep inside the 100-year-old building, according to the prosecutor.

The fire was reported at 3:58 a.m., Travers said. Firefighters arrived one minute later.

Surveillance video picked up images of Kamara leaving Lowell Street near the intersection with Main Street within four or five minutes of police and fire arriving at the fire, Travers said.

“Each and every one of my tears are a memory and sometimes I don’t want to hold them in, I want to share them with him again and so I will,” Ava wrote in her statement. “I always feel a relief of stress after those little moments. I love you dad.”

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