City mourns fallen Philadelphia firefighter Michael Goodwin (PHOTOS)

Pictured: The funeral for Philadelphia Fire Dept. Captain Michael Goodwin at St. Michael's Lutheran Church in the Kensington section on Thursday, April 11, 2013.

April 11, 2013 5:00:33 PM PDT
His casket carried to the church on a fire truck, a city firefighter killed in a blaze over the weekend was remembered Thursday as a respected supervisor willing to work alongside his crew.


The funeral for Captain Michael Goodwin was held Thursday afternoon at Saint Michael's Lutheran Church in Kensington.

Goodwin's wife, Kelly, and the rest of his family waited as the bagpipes wailed in tribute outside the church. It was Goodwin's long-time church, located in the section of town where he grew up.

"A great captain, a wonderful family [man], trying to do his duty - protect the lives of others," said Mayor Michael Nutter.

"He knew how to keep the score, making sure that everybody carried their weight, doing the things they're supposed to do, doing their job and being a professional, because that's what it's really about," said Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers.

The Rev. Marjorie Neal told of a conversation she had with Goodwin in which she told him that as a captain, he should supervise his crew from the sidewalk.

"And he replied, 'Pastor, I will not send my men into a place I would not be willing to go myself,'" Neal said. "He loved and he served his men and women of his community. As a faithful servant, he was willing to lay his life down. And he did."

Goodwin was laid to rest at Hillside Cemetery in Roslyn, Pennsylvania.

The final viewing was held on Thursday morning, a short time before the funeral. Among those in attendance was 28-year-old Andrew Godlewski, who burned his hands trying to rescue Goodwin from the fire that took his life.

Goodwin died Saturday night in the line of duty, battling a fire that began in a South Philadelphia fabric store. He fell from a collapsing third floor onto a section of roof that also collapsed into the burning building.

During the viewing Thursday, Goodwin was remembered by his one-time boss as a physically imposing man with a terrific work ethic.

"Even old firemen looked up to him - he was big enough!" said Battalion Chief Robert Lewandowski. "He was a guy who was all business."

Former Fire Commissioner William Richmond remembered Goodwin as a new man back in the 1980s.

"Mike was one of those kind of guys that once you meet him it stuck with you," said Richmond. "He had an attitude to serve and he could instill that in the young guys and the other guys he worked with."

Some of those in attendance never met Goodwin. From other departments, their presence was a statement.

"It's a brotherhood. We're all out there doing the same job and we're all brothers and sisters in the fire service," said Asst. Chief Christopher Kiskeravage of the Allentown Fire Department. "It's important that we all show our support to the family and the department that lost one in the line of duty."

The farewell to Goodwin began with a ceremony outside the Givnish Funeral home in Northeast Philadelphia on Wednesday afternoon as the leaders of the Philadelphia Fire Department led the way as Engine 53 carried Goodwin's casekt.

His wife and family arrived to watch the procession along with the pomp and circumstance deserving of a man who dedicated his life to the fire service.

Mayor Michael Nutter said, "We try to rally around each other, but all eyes, all focus, all attention must be on the Goodwin family."

At Wednesday's ceremony before the viewing, the entire Philadelphia Police Department command staff stood and saluted the fallen hero.

"I think it's important that we honor all of our heroes and certainly Captain Goodwin falls into that category, giving his life in the line of duty," said Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey.

The city continues to mourn the loss of the 29-year veteran and it was Mayor Nutter who presented Captain Goodwin's wife with the American flag, which draped his casket.

"It's not about me and it's not about us. It's about duty, it's about honor, it's about respecting the great work and service these men and women who do what they do," added Nutter.

Goodwin had recently taken the test for a promotion to battalion chief. Executive Fire Chief Richard Davison announced Monday that the promotion will be awarded posthumously, and that the promotion will enhance his family's benefits.

Goodwin is survived by a wife and two grown children.