Firefighters enter a burned-out home in the aftermath of a fatal fire Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014, in Philadelphia. A firefighter was trapped in the basement of the burning row home early Tuesday, becoming the first female member of the Philadelphia Fire Department to die in the line of duty, officials said. The 11-year veteran was part of the first company deployed to a fire in the basement of the home in the city’s West Oak Lane neighborhood at about 3 a.m. Tuesday, fire commissioner Derrick Sawyer said.
[Update: 12:32 p.m.] The deceased firefighter has been identified as Joyce Craig-Lewis, Mayor Nutter said in a noon news conference.
Craig-Lewis was an 11-year veteran of the department, one of 150 women serving. She is survived by two children, a 16-year-old-son and 16-month-old daughter, as well as her parents, two sisters, and a brother.
She graduated from Dobbins High School, and later went on to be certified as an emergency medical technician.
“She loved her job. She was a highly-trained firefighter who served in some of the busiest stations in the city on behalf of our citizens,” Nutter said.
“The fire department, one of the best in the United States of America… has suffered a tremendous loss. That loss extends to all Philadelphians.”
Philadelphia Fire Commissioner said Craig-Lewis was helping fight a fire in the basement of the residence.
“Those that know anything about basement fires knows that basement fires are a challenge,” he said. “During this firefight, the incident commander commanded the first arriving company to withdraw from the basement. After the withdraw, they realized that Firefighter Craig Lewis was missing… They were not able to get her out before she passed.”
He added: “I know she was a great firefighter. I know she gave her life protecting the citizens of this city.”
[Original: 7:10 a.m.]
Sad news this morning: A Philadelphia firefighter died battling a blaze in the West Oak Lane neighborhood overnight — the city’s first female firefighter to die in the line of duty. She was not immediately identified.
Mayor Nutter was speaking live from the scene this morning:
Philly Fire News added some details:
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