It's just the beginning of the mourning process for members of the Owego FireDepartment following the death of one of their own. Captain Matthew Porcari was killed after falling through a burning floor Monday night in Newark Valley; Fellow firefighter Lt. Daniel Gavin was also injured in the fire. Our Melissa Kakareka has more on what happened late Monday night.
NEWARK VALLEY, N.Y.-- Flames began burning at 871 Chamberlain Road around 10:45 p.m. Monday. Captain Matthew Porcari and Lt. Daniel Gavin of the Owego Fire Department were on scene to assist. But when they entered the building, the floor collapsed underneath them.
"Captain Porcari fell all the way into basement, Lt. Gavin fell partially into the basement," explained Owego Fire Department Deputy Chief Bob Williams.
Lt. Gavin was able to escape. He re-entered the building with other firefighters to help rescue Cpt. Porcari.
"Efforts to rescue Cpt. Porcari were not successful initially, subsequently, additional firefighters entered the residence and were able to extricate Cpt. Porcari," said Williams.
Cpt. Porcari was taken to Wilson Hospital by ambulance and was pronounced dead there. Lt. Gavin was taken to Wilson Hospital with burns and was transported to Upstate Medical. Lt. Gavin's injuries are not life threatening. He has since been released from the hospital.
The fire departments are trying to help personnel cope with the tragedy.
"Basically, we are just trying to support each other. Both departments are working together, and we're receiving a lot of support from neighboring fire companies both in Tioga and Broome counties," said Newark Valley PIO and former Chief Cliff Alexander.
"Critical stress debriefing teams from Broome and Tioga counties are actively working with the fire services to assist firefighters and EMS personnel," said Williams.
It’s not the first time an Owego firefighter has been lost in the line of duty. One of them was Lt. Gavin’s father in 2003. Like those who were lost before him, Porcari will be missed by those that knew him.
"People call us heroes by the way we die and I think it’s more about how they live before that. He was a dedicated fireman and gave his life for the community he supported," said Alexander.
Funeral arrangements for Cpt. Porcari are currently being arranged.
Watch the full news conference: