Matt’s story began in Springfield, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, where he attended Holy Cross Grade School and Cardinal O’Hara High School. From the tender age of five, Matt dreamed of being a firefighter like his grandfather. While attending high school, Matt took the opportunity to join the Springfield Fire Company and from there on dedicated himself to training and education and achieving his dream of being a professional firefighter. Matt pursued an associate degree in fire science at Delaware County Community College and joined the Springfield Ambulance Corps. He continued to train at the Delaware County Emergency Training Center and became an instructor at his alma mater. Matt was a certified county and state fire instructor and loved every minute of it. He took up residence in Philadelphia in order to fulfill his lifelong dream of working in a big city fire department. This dream was realized when he was appointed to the Philadelphia Fire Department on January 8, 2007.
Matt had a passion for advancing his knowledge and he always wanted to share his knowledge to help others advance as well. His passion for education and teaching the craft of firefighting was unmatched. He exemplified what it meant to have love for the job and translated that love into his instructing. Matt was an 11-year veteran of the Philadelphia Fire Department and served as the lieutenant of Engine 45 – Platoon A. He had previously served at Engine 43 and Engine 57, as well as Ladder 77 that was commissioned for Pope Francis’s World Meeting of Families visit to Philadelphia.
On the frigid morning of January 6, 2018, at 8:51 a.m., Engine 45 responded to a fire call at 2240 Colorado Street in North Philadelphia. The snowcapped roofs and ice covered streets lined the way as Engine 45 pulled up to a rowhome with fire showing and the interior full of heavy black smoke with people trapped. The crew of Engine 45 went into service attempting an interior attack on the fire in order to rescue the occupants. During the attempt, an interior structural collapse occurred, pinning Matt and injuring other members of Engine 45. Matt was trapped for a duration of time and ultimately passed away due to the injuries he sustained. Box Alarm 7743 will forever be associated with the life and legacy of Matt LeTourneau. He was posthumously promoted to the rank of captain.
Matt’s service, sacrifice, and love for firefighting was unmatched. He always said with firefighting he never worked a day in his life, because it is was what he loved to do!