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Support pours in for responders called to alleged murder of kids by mother

Boston Fire offered Duxbury Fire Department its Critical Incident Stress Management team to help the responders and their families


Photo/Duxbury Fire Department

By Will Katcher

DUXBURY, Mass. — Support arrived from across the globe for the Duxbury first responders who were called to the Clancy home last month, where officials believe a mother killed her young children before attempting to take her own life.

In an interview Monday on GBH News, Duxbury Fire Chief Robert Reardon said callers phoned from as far as the United Kingdom with words of support for his staff after the tragic and traumatic scene they responded to the night of Jan. 24

But one of the most significant calls came from about 25 miles to the north.

The Boston Fire Department offered Duxbury its Critical Incident Stress Management team, Reardon said. The specially trained unit of volunteers and clinicians is built to help first responders and their families process especially jarring incidents like the one in Duxbury.

“I don’t know that there’s a roadmap for this. We train to put out fires and we train to treat people. But I don’t know that we train to treat ourselves and to help our people that work for us,” Reardon told GBH.

But after firefighters and police officers responded to a Duxbury home on an evening two weeks ago, where they found two young children dead and a third gravely injured, “we immediately saw that our responders needed help,” Reardon said.

According to Plymouth County prosecutors, Lindsay Clancy, 32, strangled her daughter and two sons before attempting to kill herself. She was arraigned Tuesday in Plymouth District Court on charges of killing Cora, 5, and Dawson, 3.

Her infant son, Callan, died days later in a hospital. But prosecutors have not charged Lindsay Clancy with the 8-month-old boy’s death.

Duxbury Town Manager René J. Read said the day after the killings that any Duxbury police officers, firefighters and dispatchers who responded to the Clancy home or provided support during the incident had been placed on leave. In the days following, Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler visited the Plymouth County Control to meet with dispatchers.

When the clinicians offered by the Boston Fire Department arrived to help the Duxbury first responders, “one of the first things they said was, ‘it’s OK to not be OK. It’s OK to reach out for help,’” Reardon told GBH. “They made it alright to open up.”

Their services were also offered to first responders in the surrounding towns of Marshfield, Pembroke, Kingston and Hanson — all of whom were called to the Clancy residence. The fire department also hosted a “spouse’s night,” Reardon said, helping those closest to firefighters and police officers understand what their loved ones might be going through.

“In order to heal you need people with credibility and people who have unfortunately seen horrible things themselves. And those are the people that came there and were able to talk to us,” Reardon said. “They came down every day for a week to spend time with our members, just to talk. They’ve been there before, they’ve had some tragedy in their department before and they were tremendous to lean on.”

“I don’t know how we’ll ever repay,” he added.

At a press conference the day after the slayings, Read said support for the first responders called to the Clancy home was “absolutely critical.”

“We have a lengthy road ahead of us and we’re thankful that we’re not alone in that journey,” he said.


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