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Remembering Fire Captain Michael Goodwin

Hundreds of motorcyclists rode from Port Richmond to South Philadelphia in honor of Capt. Goodwin.

Hundreds of motorcyclists rode an honor ride in remembrance of Capt. Michael Goodwin on Tuesday night from Port Richmond to South Philly.

The Philadelphia Fire Department and the Kensington community lost “a hero” when Fire Captain Michael Goodwin perished while battling a three-alarm blaze in a South Philly fabric store on Saturday night.

According to fire department officials, Goodwin, 53, was on the roof of the burning shop when it collapsed and he became trapped in the rubble.

Goodwin, a husband and father of two, lived in Parkwood, but he grew up near Cumberland Street and Trenton Avenue, graduated from Mastbaum Tech, remained active in St. Michael’s Lutheran Church and spent much of his career as a member of Ladder 16 at Belgrade and Huntingdon streets.

On Tuesday, April 9, hundreds of motorcyclists congregated in the parking lot of Lowe’s at Aramingo Avenue and Butler Street for an “honor ride” to Engine 53, Ladder 27 at Fourth and Snyder Streets in South Philly, where Capt. Goodwin worked.

Pedestrians and passers-by watched as for almost an hour prior to the ride motorcycle clubs assembled.

“I knew it would be like this,” said Capt. Chris Beale, a firefighter in Roxborough and motorcyclist who participated in the ride, looking at the massive crowd. “This brings everybody together. It would be just like this for a police, too.”

At 7:30 p.m., engines roaring, hundreds of motorcyclists from police, fire, veterans’, and other law enforcement-supporting motorcycle clubs started rolling out onto Aramingo Avenue and continued down to South Philly. Fire engines from Philadelphia and fire departments outside the city, and an escort of city and state police, led the riders.

Goodwin, a 29-year veteran, was in command of Ladder 27 on Saturday when fire broke out at the Jack B. Fabrics store, on the 700 block of S. Fourth St., shortly after 5:30 p.m. The first arriving firefighters observed heavy smoke on the first two floors of the three-story building, Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers said.

A second alarm was struck at 6:04 p.m. A short time later, Goodwin was on the roof when it collapsed to the floor below. A third alarm was struck at 6:30 p.m. Goodwin died at the scene. He is survived by his wife Kelly, his adult daughter Dorothy Dunn, his adult son Michael Jr., two grandchildren, his mother Elizabeth, three siblings and numerous other relatives.

Goodwin was posthumously promoted to battalion chief.

“My father, Chief Mike Goodwin, served the citizens of Philadelphia for 29 years as a dedicated firefighter,” Mike Goodwin Jr. said. “He was also a devoted husband, father and grandfather. … He would help out anybody he could. It didn’t matter who you were, he would run into that building and pull you out.”

Viewings were held for Goodwin last night and this morning at John F. Givnsh Funeral Home, with a Life Celebration Service scheduled for noon today at St. Michael’s, 2139 E. Cumberland St. Interment will be at Hillside Cemetery in Roslyn.

The family asks that all gifts be made to the Firefighter Widows Fund, c/o Local 22, 415 N. Fifth St., Philadelphia, PA 19123. ••

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