Philadelphia Fire Department mourns third line-of-duty loss in a year

The Philadelphia Fire Department will on Tuesday honor the one-year anniversary of the deaths of firefighter Daniel Sweeney and Lt. Robert Neary, killed battling a warehouse blaze in Kensington.

After 53-year-old Capt. Michael Goodwin suffered a fatal fall while fighting a three-alarm fire Saturday night, the department now has another fallen brother to memorialize.

Authorities said Goodwin plunged through the third-floor roof of Jack B. Fabrics near 4th and Fitzwater streets.

Firefighter Andrew Godlewski, 28, attempted to save the 29-year department veteran, but the second-floor roof and several walls gave way, Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers said.

Godlewski was released from the hospital Sunday, but Goodwin died on the scene. Ayers said rescue units had to cut through a roof to retrieve his body.

“For this to happen within a year of three days to our April 9 anniversary – words cannot express how we feel for the families of Mike Goodwin and our second family in the firehouse as well,” firefighters union Local 22 sergeant-at-arms Jack Eltman said Sunday.

Union president Bill Gault issued a statement calling Goodwin “a hero whose valor will never be forgotten.”

“The month of April has been especially cruel to us,” he said, noting preparations for Goodwin’s funeral services are underway.

“We ask all citizens to remember the ultimate sacrifice these brave men have made and keep their families in your prayers.”

Eltman, who previously worked with both Sweeney and Neary, said he befriended Goodwin after the captain helped paint his home.

“He was one of those rough, gruff, giant, loud guys yet such a teddy bear if you got to know him,” he said, adding, “He’ll never be forgotten.”

Timeline

According to Ayers, officials at 5:33 p.m. received reports of smoke coming from Jack B. Fabrics at 438 S. 4th Street.

5:37 p.m. Engine 11 responded and rescued one person from inside.

6:04 p.m. A deputy chief arrived and called a second alarm.

6:21 p.m. Firefighters received a report of a member down as Goodwin fell through the roof. A short time later the second-floor roof gave way and Goodwin was declared missing.

6:30 p.m. A third alarm was called.

9 p.m., approx. Goodwin’s body was recovered from the debris.


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