Veteran firefighter killed in roof collapse during Queen Village blaze

A veteran firefighter was killed Saturday evening and his colleague was injured when the roof a Queen Village fabric store partially collapsed during a three-alarm blaze.

Capt. Michael Goodwin, 53, of Ladder 27 Platoon B, fell through the third-floor roof of Jack B. Fabrics on the 700 block of South 4th Street near Fitzwater Street, according to authorities.

Officials said the building’s second-floor roof and wall then partially collapsed, trapping Goodwin inside.

Capt. Goodwin is a 29-year veteran of the department who would have celebrated 30 years of service in September.

Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers, who called Goodwin a friend, described the man at a press conference Saturday night as “the kind of guy that looked out for his folks” and said he was “a ladder man, firefighter’s firefighter.”

Firefighter Andrew Godlewski, 28, a five-year veteran also stationed with Ladder 27, was injured as he attempted to assist his comrade.

He was in stable condition at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital with his family is by his side, Ayers said Saturday night.

Godlewski was reportedly released from the hospital Sunday afternoon.

A total of three buildings were damaged and seven people were evacuated due to the fire but have relatives that can house them, according to the Office of Emergency Management.

The Red Cross is assisting 17 people affected by the blaze.

Ayers said firefighters responded to the shop on Fabric Row shortly after 5:30 p.m. for reports of smoke coming from the first floor of the three-story storefront, which had apartments above.

“They faced heavy smoke, heavy fire – the store is a store that sells fabric,” he said. “Just from the exterior you can see bolts of fabric all over the store.”

He said firefighters rescued one person from the dwelling.

A second alarm was struck shortly after 6 p.m. as the fire spread upstairs and to a neighboring boutique.

“The second alarm that was struck by Deputy Chief Wilkins was because of the heavy volume of fire and because of seeing that we needed a lot of staffing power as well as the water to get this fire under control,” Ayers said.

A third alarm was struck less than 30 minutes later.

By that time, firefighters had already received a report of a member down – Goodwin had fallen through the third-floor roof and was trapped on the second-floor roof.

That alert was shortly followed by a report of a member missing.

“Firefighters were trying to rescue [Goodwin] from the second-floor roof when that roof collapsed,” Ayers said.

Godlewski, who was injured as he attempted to save Goodwin, was rescued and taken to the hospital. Goodwin could no longer be seen.

What ensued was a “very dangerous firefighting situation,” according to Ayers, as members attempted to control the flames and locate Goodwin while contending with partial roof and wall collapses.

“All of our resources were trying to fight the fire and at the same time rescue this captain,” he said.

He said once Goodwin was found, rescue units had to cut through a partially-collapsed roof to remove him from the rubble.

“The captain was then taken by a medic unit to the hospital,” Ayers said. “But he had been pronounced dead on the scene.”

Goodwin leaves behind a wife, two children and three siblings, including a brother who services with the Philadelphia Police Department Narcotics Unit.

“Right now we’re asking for prayers from all of the city, from everyone, to support this family,” Ayers said. “This family is grieving.”

He said the department is also grieving – the tragedy comes nearly one year to the day after firefighters Daniel Sweeney and Lt. Robert Neary were killed in a partial wall collapse as they conducted a safety check during a Kensington warehouse fire.

Their memorial service is Tuesday.

“We have a department that’s wounded,” Ayers said.

“We have scars. They’re fresh and deep and now they have been reopened. And we’re going to do the things that we need to do to move through this.”

Firefighters and paramedics union Local 22 sergeant-at-arms Jack Eltman, who previously worked with both Sweeney and Lt. Neary, said Sunday he also befriended Goodwin after the captain helped paint his home.

“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,” Eltman said.

“Mike was a great guy. He’ll never be forgotten. Everything he did was positive.” He said the captain was well-known all around the city as someone always willing to pitch in and help his brothers.

“He was one of those rough, gruff, giant, loud guys yet such a teddy bear if you got to know him,” Eltman said. “He was amazing.”

As far as a cause of the fire or of Capt. Goodwin’s death, authorities said it’s too early in the investigation to release much information.

“The Fire Marshal is on the scene,” Ayers said. “He’s going to be on the scene for some time. It’s a lot of devastation there – we have collapsed walls, collapsed roofs.”

In the meantime, officials are asking citizens to be supportive of Fire Department members and their families.

“The mayor has ordered the flags to fly at half-staff for 30 days as is our protocol in honor of the heroic nature in what we have lost today,” Deputy Mayor Everett Gillison said Saturday.

“Members of the Philadelphia Fire Department are in mourning again for one of their own and recall these two fallen heroes,” Mayor Michael Nutter said on Sunday in a statement.

“Our firefighters need our support and prayers, but we know that every minute of every day, they are protecting us with all their skill and heart and we thank them.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Woman dies when run over by bus at…

A woman at the Burning Man arts and culture festival in the Nevada desert died on Thursday when she was run over by a bus carrying participants.

National

Texas parents sue day care center for duct…

By Marice RichterDALLAS (Reuters) - A Texas couple has filed a lawsuit against the owners of a Fort Worth-area day care center seeking $1 million…

National

Santa Fe city council votes to decriminalize marijuana

By Joseph KolbALBUQUERQUE N.M. (Reuters) - Santa Fe on Wednesday became the latest U.S. city to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana, with lawmakers in the…

International

Egypt queries Mursi over documents "leaked" to Al…

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt is investigating jailed ex-president Mohamed Mursi in connection with documents that judicial investigators say were leaked to the Qatar-based Al Jazeera…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…