PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A firefighter was among two people killed after flames ripped through a row home in North Philadelphia.
The fire broke out around 9 a.m. Saturday in the 2200 block of North Colorado Street and quickly grew to two alarms.
Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel says there was an interior collapse, and 42-year-old Lieutenant Matthew LeTourneau, of Engine 45, was trapped for about a half hour. He was pulled from the debris by fellow firefighters and taken to the hospital, where he died a short time later.
“Our hearts are breaking,” said Fire Commissioner Adam K. Thiel. “And we are without words.”
Lt. LeTourneau was an 11-year-veteran of the department. He had previously served at Engine 43 and Engine 57, and was promoted to lieutenant in 2015.
“We mourn the loss of Lieutenant LeTourneau,” said Mayor Jim Kenney, “and want to point out the fact that every one of our firefighters and paramedics every day on every shift put themselves in harm’s way for us. And we will be there for his family forever.”
The mayor later issued a statement on LeTourneau’s passing.
“I am deeply saddened to hear of the loss of Lt. Matthew LeTourneau. I am grateful for his outstanding service to our city during his 11-year career. It is always a tragedy to lose a first responder in the line of duty. Lt. LeTourneau sacrificed his life trying to save others. Our firefighters demonstrate tremendous acts of heroism every single day. I extend my sincerest condolences to his family. Please keep his loved ones in your thoughts and prayers during this very difficult time.”
The Philadelphia Police Department tweeted its condolences shortly after Commissioner Thiel gave the tragic news.
Authorities say one person inside the home also was killed in the blaze. Another person from a neighboring home was taken to the hospital in critical condition.
Officials say two other firefighters also were injured and taken to the hospital. Their injuries were not considered serious.
Despite some serious challenges from the freezing temperatures, crews were able to bring the fire under control in a little more than an hour.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.