It was an emotional day for the Owego community, people paying their respects to one of their bravest. Firefighter Matthew Porcari was battling flames in Newark Valley when a tragic accident took his life. Our Elyse Mickalonis spoke to people whose lives were touched by Porcari.
OWEGO, N.Y. -- Family and friends of fallen firefighter Captain Matthew Porcari took on the heartbreaking task of saying their final goodbyes on Sunday afternoon.
"What you see here is just an outpouring of our daily lives and how we’re all there for each other and we’re so sorry for the loss,” said Mary Kay Thomas, Owego resident.
Porcari died when the floor beneath him collapsed during a fire in Newark Valley Monday night. Funeral services were held at the Owego Middle School, and a procession carried him to his final resting place.
"I think he was a leader in his own way. It’s evident now the leadership he took,” said Bob Fenton, Porcari’s former coach.
Those who knew Porcari say there was something special about him that allowed him to touch so many lives both in and outside of the community.
"He had a spark to him, a sparkle. He brought life into every area he was in. He was effervescent,” said Margaret Espe, Owego resident.
Thomas added, "We are all better people, anyone who knew him is a better person."
Porcari helped his high school baseball team win a state championship during his senior year. His former coach says it’s a moment he’ll never forget.
"When we came to the front of the school, just as we are here today, the fire trucks were up there and we got up, they gave us a mic and everyone said what they wanted to say about the championship,” said Fenton. “That was the way we entered the town and today Matt is leaving the town on the fire truck and it’s a greater accomplishment than that championship we accomplished."
Fenton says Porcari was always willing to make sacrifices for the sake of the team, helping others, a trait that will never be forgotten.