What to Know
- Penn Wynne/Overbrook Hills Fire Company Firefighter Sean DeMuynck died while fighting a fire in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, Sunday night.
- The July 4th blaze broke out around 10:30 p.m. on July 4th. It remains under investigation.
- DeMuynck and his wife were set to move back to their native Canada on Monday, fire officials said.
A volunteer firefighter in the Philadelphia suburbs, who was on his last call ahead of moving home to his native Canada this week, died at the hospital after fighting a blaze in Montgomery County on July 4th.
Penn Wynne/Overbrook Hills Fire Company Firefighter Sean W. DeMuynck was responding to a call on Rosedale Road in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, Sunday night when he was found unresponsive on the third floor of the home, the Lower Merion Township Fire Department said in a Monday news release.
"We lost a true hero last night," Lower Merrion Township Fire Chief Chas McGarvey said while fighting back tears during a Monday afternoon news conference.
Get Philly local news, weather forecasts, sports and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC Philadelphia newsletters.
The fire was first reported just after 10:30 p.m. "Upon arrival, units found the structure heavily involved with fire and smoke, fire suppression began, and incident command was established," the news release said.
DeMuynck was pulled from the structure after 11 p.m. after a mayday call went out and was rushed around 11:30 p.m. by ambulance to nearby Lankenau Hospital where he was pronounced dead 22 minutes after midnight, officials said.
He was just 35 years old.
Two other firefighters who were with on the third floor were able to escape the blaze, McGarvey said.
DeMuynck served as a volunteer firefighter in the community since August 2019. He and his wife, Melissa, were set to move back to the Toronto area in his native Canada on Monday so that they could be closer to family, officials said.
The DeMuyncks came to the Philadelphia area on a work visa for the firefighter's wife to do research, officials said.
DeMuynck was an avid hockey enthusiast and found his way to volunteer firefighting as he was not permitted to work during his time in the United States, PWOHFC Fire Chief Ted Schmid said. He has some applications in with Canadian fire departments.
Breaking news and the stories that matter to your neighborhood.
DeMuynck became a certified firefighter and was known to help out around the fire house and in the community in any way he could, Schmid said.
"His dedication was second to none," Schmid said. "We lost a good one."
His loss is being felt throughout the entire Lower Merion community and beyond.
"There is no difference between a career firefighter and volunteer firefighter -- we're all firefighters," McGarvey said.
Back in Canada, DeMuynck once served a video coach for the junior hockey Windsor Spitfires.
“The entire Windsor Spitfires organization is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of former video coach Sean DeMuynck," Spitfires general manager Bill Bowler said. Sean was an awesome person to be around and always came to the rink well-prepared. Sean will be dearly missed by everyone.”
Funeral arrangements were pending as of Monday.
The cause of the fire remained under investigation Monday. ATF investigators joined local and county investigators on scene. A drone could be seen flying over the home late Monday morning.