PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Funeral arrangements are pending for the Philadelphia firefighter who was killed in the line of duty. Lieutenant Matthew LeTourneau, 42, died Saturday morning after battling a row home fire in North Philadelphia that also claimed the life a civilian. Now he is being honored in the city and his hometown in Delaware County.
The city flags in Philadelphia will be flown at half-staff for 30 days to honor the life and service LeTourneau, an 11-year veteran of the department. The same is happening at the Springfield Fire Company in Delaware County, where he was a life member.
“He was absolutely a leader and just a super knowledgeable firefighter,” Acting Deputy Fire Chief Tom Foran told CBS Philly. “We are just coming together. We’re trying to do our best to support our members and obviously keeping the family in mind.”
Foran says LeTourneau’s dream was to become a Philly firefighter, but he still helped with training in Delaware County.
Delaware County Director of Emergency Services Timothy Boyce says they’re doing what they can to be there for his family.
“There’s quite a collection of people here trying to offer their support, trying to give back, maybe a little of what Matt gave to all of us…leadership and compassion,” Boyce said. “Matt really exemplified dedication in everything he did. He had an interest in animal welfare, the fire service education and his compassion and caring for people really stood out.”
LeToruneau is also being remembered by The Red Paw Emergency Relief team, a nonprofit that provides emergency assistance to animals affected by fires and other residential disasters, where he dedicated a lot of his time to helping the organization fulfill its mission.
“Matt would foster for us. He would collect supplies for us. He adopted two cats that he actually rescued from a fire in West Philly,” said founder Jen Leary.
She says she and Lt. LeTorneau went to fire school together, and he was instrumental in helping her found Red Paw.
“It’s a huge loss. Trying to fill that void is going to be hard, but we’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing and we’re going to do it in his memory,” she said.
Jen says Lt. LeTorneau’s passion for rescuing and helping people and pets was unrivaled.
LeTourneau studied at Delaware County Community College and is a 1993 graduate of Cardinal O’Hara High School.
The civilian who was killed in the fire has not been identified.
KYW’s Tim Jimenez and Justin Udo contributed to this report.