The fire service is an incredible and unique profession which truly comes together in times of tragedy and I am honored to be a part of such a special brother and sisterhood. While we always hope and pray that moments of tragedy like the loss of Lieutenant Matthew LeTourneau will never ever happen, it is comforting to know that the entire fire service, the public safety sector, and a City will rally around the family in an incredible display of unity and support.
For me, as a member of this special group and a photojournalist, it is difficult for me to make a decision whether to put on a class-A uniform and stand at attention with my fellow brothers and sisters or pick up my camera and tell the story so generations after us will never forget. In this case, I choose to tell the story. I truly struggle with that decision.
Lieutenant Matthew LeTourneau is an 11-year veteran of the Philadelphia Fire Department assigned to Engine Company 45. Engine 45 with Lt. LeTourneau abord responded to a building fire in the 2200 block of North Colorado Street in Philadelphia shortly before 9 a.m. on Saturday, January 6, 2018. Lt. LeTourneau became trapped inside the home after a structure collapse. Upon extrication from the building, he was transported to Temple University Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
A full honors fire department funeral was held for Lieutenant LeTourneau on Friday, January 12, 2018. Thousands of people from all walks of life turned out and stood in the driving rain to pay their final respects. Hundreds of public safety professionals from all around the region and countless civilians who lined every mile of highway between Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter in downtown Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to the Saints Peter and Paul Cemetery in Springfield, Pennsylvania where Lt. LeTourneau was laid to rest. Bagpipes and snare drums echoed throughout downtown Philadelphia bringing the city to a halt as everyone paused to pay respects.
Rest easy brother.