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Fire Captain Killed, Firefighter Injured In Queen Village Blaze

By Robin Rieger, Dan Majka, Mike Dougherty, Jericka Duncan, Jenn Bernstein

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A fire captain died and another firefighter was injured while battling a three-alarm fire in South Philadelphia.

The blaze broke out shortly before 6 p.m. Saturday inside a fabric store along the 700 block of South 4th Street in the city's Queen Village neighborhood. The flames quickly spread to the apartments above in the four-story building.

Fifty-three-year-old Captain Michael Goodwin (below) was killed in a fall when a third floor roof collapsed. Goodwin was a 29-year veteran firefighter stationed at Ladder 27.

michael goodwin
Fallen Fire Captain Michael Goodwin. (credit: Philadelphia Fire Department)

"He was the kind of guy that looked out for his folks," said fire commissioner Lloyd Ayers. "[A] ladder man, firefighter's firefighter.

A second firefighter, 28-year-old Andrew Godlewski, was injured while trying to rescue Goodwin. He was taken to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in stable condition.

A spokeswoman for Thomas Jefferson University Hospital reported Godlewski was discharged shortly after noon on Sunday.

PHOTOS: From The Scene

The Red Cross was assisting at least 17 people who were displaced by the fire. Anyone affected can go to the Nebinger School at 6th and Carpenter Streets for assistance.

"We need to be supportive as a city, as a department, as an administration," said Commissioner Ayers. "Right now we're asking for prayers from all of the city, from everyone."

Goodwin's death comes nearly one year after Philadelphia firefighters, Lieutenant Robert Neary and Daniel Sweeney, were killed battling a five-alarm warehouse fire in Kensington on April 9th, 2012.

"We have a department that's wounded," said Commissioner Ayers, "we have scars, they're fresh, and now, indeed they have been opened."

Captain Goodwin is survived by his wife and two grown children. His fellow firefighters at Ladder 27 in South Philadelphia and across the city have their black bunting draped as they mourn his death. The bench outside Goodwin's firehouse is lined with flowers from people offering their condolences. He is being called a hero, a phrase that brought emotions out in his brother Jim Goodwin, a Philadelphia police officer.

"In my eyes, my brother's always been a hero. Nothing more important to him but family and the fire department," Jim Goodwin told CBS3 Eyewitness News.

He says his brother was someone he always looked up to.

"Fortunately I lived next door to my brother. He was only a year older than me and my youngest brother was only a couple years younger than me. We just played together, we were the best of friends," Jim said.

The fire's cause wasn't immediately known, but Bruce Blumenthal, the owner of Jack B. Fabrics, said he believes it started in a wall and may have been electrical in nature.

Blumenthal said he smelled smoke coming from the basement around 5 p.m. and found a box of collars and cuffs on fire. He tried to put the flames out with an extinguisher, to no avail.

IAFF Local 22 President Bill Gault issued the following statement Sunday:

"The brothers and sisters of the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 22 are mourning the tragic death of Captain Mike Goodwin of Ladder 27 in South Philadelphia, a 30-year veteran of the Philadelphia Fire Department, natural-born leader, loving husband, father and grandfather, and a hero whose valor will never be forgotten. Our thoughts, prayers and deepest condolences go out to his wife children and grandchildren. The month of April has been especially cruel to us. Tuesday marks one-year since the tragic deaths of Lt. Robert Neary and Daniel Sweeney and now, nearly a year to the day, we've lost Mike. We will honor all three of them Tuesday at City Hall as we prepare for Captain Goodwin's funeral services. We ask all citizens to remember the ultimate sacrifice these brave men have made and keep their families in your prayers."

Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter released a statement Sunday as well:

"Today, we mourn the loss of Captain Michael Goodwin of the Philadelphia Fire Department and the injury to Firefighter Andrew Godlewski who tried to save him. Captain Goodwin was a leader who for 29 years put on the uniform of our respected department and risked his life on a daily basis in order to protect all of us from the ravages of fire and destruction. On Saturday, while leading his ladder company in the suppression of a raging fire, Michael Goodwin, husband, father of two, brother to three siblings, perished in the inferno.

"I ask all Philadelphians to join me in prayer for this heroic man, for his wife Kelly and their children, his mother Betty, and their extended family and for the members of the Philadelphia Fire Department who have all suffered a grievous loss. I also ask that Philadelphians communicate our great sorrow and condolences to Capt. Goodwin's fellow officers in the finest firefighting force in America. We must never forget the grave risks that these heroic public servants take every day at a moment's notice on behalf of us all.

"Like Capt. Goodwin, Firefighter Andrew Godlewski, a five-year veteran, fought the blazing fire and with all of his professional training risked his life in an effort to save Capt. Goodwin. Please join with me in praying for Firefighter Godlewski's swift recovery."

Philadelphia Fire Department Local 22 and all first responders are invited to share in Mike's Life Celebration Wednesday from 5:00- 9:00 p.m. and Thursday morning from 9:00 to 10:45 a.m. at John F. Givnish of Academy Rd. 10975 Academy Rd.

Michael's Life Celebration Service will be held at 12:00 Noon at St. Michael's Lutheran Church, 2139 E. Cumberland St. Interment Hillside Cemetery, Roslyn, PA.

In lieu of flowers memorial contributions in Mike's memory to the Firefighters Widow Fund c/o Local 22, 415 N. 5th St. Phila, PA 19123 would be appreciated.

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