Community mourns loss of young father, firefighter in 2019


Among the many stories to affect Burrillville residents in 2019 was a tragic accident that led to the death of a well-known father and public servant.

Ryan Ferris, 39, of Harrisville was pronounced dead in the evening of Wednesday, March 13, as a result of injuries sustained in a crash on Route 102.

Ferris was a member of the Harrisville Fire Department and a graduate of Burrillville High School. He was married to Danielle (Jenness) Ferris, and a father of two daughters, ages 10 and 2.

He was off-duty during the four-vehicle crash, reportedly on the way to pick up one of his daughters.

A well-know member of the Burrillville community who had worked with the Harrisville Hose Company since 1995, Ferris was mourned in ceremonies across the Blackstone Valley.  Flags were lowered to half staff across town, and a silent parade of emergency responders drove through Burrillville in the days following his death. Fire trucks and ambulances parked on bridges along major roadways throughout northern Rhode Island. A black banner honoring Ferris was hung at the Harrisville Fire Department.

Ferris’s name was put on the side of a Harrisville Fire truck, and at the Burrillville Police Department’s annual awards ceremony in October, Col. Stephen Lynch recognized the colleagues who responded to the scene of the accident, and tried to save his life.

The accident led members of the council to ask state traffic officials to examine speed limits along the busy highway in April.

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