Funeral services have been set for a Philadelphia firefighter who died in the line of duty while battling a rowhome fire in North Philadelphia.
Public viewings for Lieutenant Matthew LeTourneau, 42, will take place Thursday, January 11 from 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday, January 12 at 9 a.m. at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul on 19th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia. Friday's public viewing will be followed by a funeral mass at 11 a.m. and then interment at Saints Peter and Paul Cemetery in Springfield, Pennsylvania.
LeTourneau, an 11-year veteran of the Philadelphia Fire Department, was one of 100 firefighters who responded to a two-alarm row home fire on the 2200 block of North Colorado Street shortly before 9 a.m. Saturday. He became trapped inside the home after a structure collapsed. He was pulled out by fellow firefighters and taken to Temple University Hospital where he was pronounced dead a short time later.
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A man who lived in the home was also killed in the fire. Officials and family members have not yet identified him but friends and neighbors described him as a talented basketball player and fixture of the community who was in his 50s.
Two other firefighters were treated at a hospital for undisclosed injuries that were not considered life-threatening.
On Monday, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf ordered all commonwealth flags to be flown at half-staff in honor of Lieutenant LeTourneau. The tribute will begin Tuesday and continue until Saturday. The order covers flags being flown at the Capitol complex and all commonwealth facilities.
LeTourneau was a member of Engine 45. He previously served at Engine 43 and Engine 57. He was promoted to lieutenant in 2015. He received a unit citation in 2010 and a letter of commendation for his service during the World Meeting of Families in 2015.
LeTourneau graduated from Cardinal O’Hara High School in Springfield in 1993 and held an associate’s degree in fire science from Delaware County Community College. He became a volunteer firefighter when he was a teenager and also served as an instructor at multiple fire academies around the area.
"It definitely was his passion," said Pennsylvania State Rep. Donna Bullock (D), a friend of LeTourneau's. "He was very much in love with his job as a fireman."
LeTourneau lived in Springfield and is survived by his mother, other relatives and friends.
"To say that Matt died doing what he loved is hard but I'm also very proud of that," said Timothy Bryce, the Director of Emergency Services in Springfield. "He led people and today he led a group of firefighters trying to save someone's life."
A procession for LeTourneau also took place Saturday afternoon as his body was taken from Philadelphia to the O'Leary Funeral Home in his hometown of Springfield. Outside the home, members of several area fire companies, loved ones and neighbors gathered to pay their respects.
"All we can do is honor them through coming out and just showing our respect and gratitude for all they do for us," said Mary Lynskey, a Springfield resident.
LeTourneau died a day before he was supposed to celebrate the anniversary of his fire academy graduation.
Officials continue to investigate the cause of the fire.