Tuesday, December 9, 2014
From Philly.com: As intense heat and smoke poured from the blazing basement of a house in West Oak Lane early Tuesday, the firefighters attacking the flames with a hose were ordered to get out.
The woman who lived there had been rescued. Another company was poised to go in through a back entrance to fight the flames. With conditions deteriorating, a commanding officer had said over the radio around 2:30 a.m. that that would be safer. The firefighters began to retreat as directed, battling disorienting heat and blinding smoke. But Joyce Craig-Lewis did not emerge. Instead, the decorated 11-year veteran hit a Mayday button. "I'm trapped! I'm trapped!" her frantic voice could be heard saying over the radio. Her fellow firefighters rushed back into the flames. But it was too late.
Craig-Lewis, a 36-year-old mother of two working an overtime shift, became the first female member of the Philadelphia Fire Department to die in the line of duty.
At a City Hall news conference, Mayor Nutter said the department had suffered a tremendous loss - a loss, he said, that extends to all Philadelphians. "Joyce Craig-Lewis was a much-loved mother, daughter, and sister," said Nutter, flanked by a line of solemn-faced Fire Department commanders. "She loved her family, and she loved her job."
Firefighter Craig-Lewis is a hero and she will be missed by her family and her family at the Philadelphia Fire dept.