As rain drops fell on mourners outside, tears flowed from mourners inside Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul as the City of Philadelphia, family members and fellow firefighters said goodbye to Lt. LeTourneau--a hero who lost his life in the line of duty.
"Matt, every day of his life was truly a hero. We're all better off because of his bravery and service," Mayor Jim Kenney said.
Hundreds stood outside in the rain during the Friday morning viewing and mass. Hundreds more packed the cathedral. Lt. Letourneau was not only remembered for his smile, his enthusiasm and his compassion, but mostly for his bravery.
"He was truly a fireman's fireman. He fought that fire to the best of his ability along with everyone else on that fire ground," Philadelphia Fire Captain William Dixon said.
The 11-year veteran of the department died trying to rescue others from a fast moving fire on Colorado Street in North Philadelphia. A resident of the home was also killed and two other firefighters were injured.
"Just the willingness to put your life on the line in that way is something most people can't begin to comprehend," Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross said.
"We will never forget the incredible sacrifice that Lt. Matthew Letourneau made to keep the residents of Philadelphia safe," the mayor added.
Firefighters from across the country turned out. It's a brotherhood they said. Luke Letourneau spoke glowingly about him off camera as a brother, the best man in his wedding, an uncle, a man who loved his family and a man proud to be a Philadelphia firefighter every day.
"Firefighting from the beginning as he came into this world until today was his passion. His love for family, faith and friendships will never die," Luke Letourneau told mourners.
Lt. Letourneau was laid to rest Friday afternoon. The fire commissioner called him a shining example to all. He was 42 years old.