Hundreds gather to pay final respects to fallen firefighter, Lt. Matthew LeTourneau

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Hundreds turn out for fallen firefighter: Christie ileto reports on Action News at 11 p.m., January 11, 2017 (WPVI)

A caravan of flashing lights and police cars escorted the body of Philadelphia firefighter, Lt. Matthew LeTourneau to the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul at 18th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway Thursday evening.

Colleagues from other department lined the sidewalks outside the cathedral, to pay their final respects.

"We know when we sign up for this it's a risk you take on," said Sam Munoz of the Camden Fire Dept. "Because any call could be your last call."

LeTourneau was an 11-year veteran, assigned to Engine 45, but also served at Engine 43, 57 and Ladder 77.

Those who knew him said the Delaware County native always dreamed of being a fire fighter.

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Hundreds gather to honor fallen firefighter: Christie Ileto reports on Action News at 6 p.m., January 11, 2018

Former Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers said he remembers welcoming the Delaware County native into the ranks.

"I got the chance to swear him in," said Ayers. "He was doing what he loved to do."

That passion didn't just include fighting fires, but also mentoring and teaching fire safety as an instructor in suburban communities.

The 42 year old died Saturday, after being pinned under falling rubble and debris while battling a two-alarm-fire in North Philadelphia.

Investigators said they are taking the rowhome apart, piece by piece, to determine the cause of the fire and the reason for the collapsed floor that trapped LeTourneau in that blaze.

"It was really sad, it was tragic," said LeAnne Stowe, Fire Department Family Association. "He was an all-around guy, from Springfield to Philadelphia."

Stowe said both she and her husband worked with LeTourneau.
"Funny, always willing to help, always involved," Stowe said. "All the stories you heard about him are true."

A second viewing is scheduled for Friday from 9 to 11 a.m., with funeral services to follow at the cathedral.

LeTourneau will be buried at SS. Peter and Paul Cemetery in Marple Township, Delaware County.

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