A firefighter from Dolton, Il., died Saturday doing what he loved — fighting a fire.
Dolton firefighter Lawrence Matthews responded with the Harvey Fire Department to a report of multiple mobile homes burning, according to Harvey police spokesman Sean Howard.
NBC Chicago reports Matthews, 35, was on the sidewalk at the scene of the fire when he collapsed and became unresponsive, according to officials.
Matthews was taken to Ingalls Memorial Hospital where he died, authorities tell NBC. It was not immediately clear if his collapse was related to the fire.
“I’m in shock — it’s a total loss.” Dolton Fire Chief Steven McCain told WGN 9. “He was a family man. Four little ones. Loved his wife. Loved the job.”
According to Matthews’ Facebook page and an article by the University of Chicago Medicine, Matthews had a heart transplant 10 years ago — but that wasn’t going to stop him. WGN 9 reports he was determined to be a firefighter, and joined the Dolton Fire Department in 2009. He was determined to live a normal life and chase a dream he previously thought was impossible with his heart condition.
Dolton’s mayor echoes the fire chief’s feelings.
“He was just doing his job today, and it cost him his life,” Dolton Mayor Riley Rogers told WGN 9.
Matthews leaves behind a wife and four children between the ages of three and 11, according to NBC.
Dozens of firefighters and police officers escorted Matthews’ body to the Medical Examiner’s office, a moving testament to the man Matthews was and the family he leaves behind.
According to WGN 9, the City of Harvey says they plan to honor Matthews. With Father’s Day just around the corner the Dolton Fire Department says it will do everything possible to make sure Matthews’ family has everything they need.
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