Firefighter, resident killed in North Philly row home fire

A veteran firefighter and a resident were killed when a fast-moving fire roared through a North Philadelphia row home.

City officials say 42-year-old Lieutenant Matthew LeTourneau was pinned under debris inside the home when it collapsed. He was rescued by fellow firefighters and taken to the hospital. The 11-year-veteran was pronounced dead there a short time later.

Lt. Matthew LeTourneau (Philadelphia Fire Department)

The fire broke out shortly before 9 a.m. Saturday.

Authorities say a person inside the home died in the blaze. Another person from a neighboring home was taken to the hospital and was listed in critical condition.

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“Our hearts are breaking,” said Fire Commissioner Adam K. Thiel. “And we are without words.”

Two other firefighters were also injured in the fire and were being treated at a hospital. Their injuries were not considered life-threatening.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

According to City officials, LeTourneau of Engine 45/Platoon had previously served at Engine 43 and Engine 57, and was promoted to lieutenant in 2015. He was a 1993 graduate of Cardinal O’Hara High School and held an associate’s degree in fire science from Delaware County Community College. He lived in Springfield and is survived by his mother, other relatives and friends.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney also released 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.”

To honor the memory of Lt. LeTourneau, all City of Philadelphia flags will be flown at half-staff for 30 days.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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