Father of Fallen Hero Killed in Kensington Factory Fire Remembers Son

“I was very proud of my son, very proud of him.”

The father of a Philadelphia firefighter, who was killed Monday while battling a factory fire in Kensington, talked to NBC10 about the tragic loss of his son.

Firefighter Daniel Sweeney, 25, was killed along with fellow firefighter, Lt. Robert Neary, 60, during the five-alarm blaze. Both men were from Ladder 10 on Kensington and Castor Avenue. Lt. Neary was a 37-year veteran of the department.  Sweeney was a “new firefighter”, according to Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers.


Sweeney’s father, David, said he just saw his 25-year-old son on Easter Sunday.

“We saw him last night...he stopped over for dinner. He had a light dinner with us because he was eating down at the station...I shook his hand and told him to have a good night, never dreaming this would happen,” David Sweeney said. “I was very proud of my son, very proud of him.”

Flowers and symbols of their service were left out of sadness and respect at their fire company marking the huge and shocking loss of Ladder 10. The two were killed early Monday morning after a collapsed wall trapped them in a furniture store next to the burning warehouse. Flags were lowered at half staff in honor of the two men.

“This is probably one of the worst days of my life,” Captain Dennis Merrigan of Ladder Company 10 said.

Mayor Michael Nutter, returning from Florida Monday night, visited the charred Kensington factory and later when to the homes of the victim’s families to offer condolences and support. He ordered all flags in the city to be flown at half staff for the next 30 days.

“They were doing their job to make sure that others were safe and it's a terrible feeling.”

Sweeney is survived by his parents and three sisters.  Family members say Sweeney followed in his father’s footsteps, David is a retired company captain. Sweeney was a 2005 Bishop McDevitt graduate. He eventually became a paramedic and then a firefighter.

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