Firefighters hold memorial for three brethren killed in line of duty

firefighter local 22 memorial
Marion Sweeney and the family of Capt. Michael Goodwin, who died in the line of duty Saturday. Credit: Rikard Kalma/Metro

Family members, firefighters and supporters Tuesday memorialized three of their brethren lost in the line of duty within the past year.

“It has been a difficult year,” Marion Sweeney said.

“We’ve lost a son, one of my babies, and a mother should not lose a baby.”

Her son, 25-year-old Daniel Sweeney, was killed exactly one year ago in a tragedy that also claimed the life of 59-year-old Lt. Robert Neary.

The two were fighting a five-alarm warehouse blaze in Kensington when the wall of an adjacent furniture store collapsed, trapping them in the rubble.

In an awful twist of fate, Capt. Michael Goodwin, 53, was killed this past Saturday – just three days before the painful anniversary.

Officials said Goodwin was standing on the third-floor roof of a burning Queen Village fabric shop when it gave way, followed by the building’s second-floor roof and walls. Goodwin also died trapped underneath debris.

“Please pray for my family and myself as we struggle to go on and look around the house and there’s something missing,” Sweeney said.

Members of City Council and the Philadelphia Police Department were present as mourners solemnly laid three wreaths in the fallen heroes’ memories and a bagpipe troupe played.

“We cling to the hope that someday we’ll see Daniel and he’ll be reunited with my husband and myself,” Sweeney said.

“And happy anniversary to my husband,” she finished tearfully. “Our son died on our 29th wedding anniversary.”

Firefighters union Local 22 president Bill Gault said his men would support all three families.

“We will all protect you and all be here with you,” he said.


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