NORTH HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Friends filled J Roo’s Restaurant in North Haven on Thursday to honor and remember a firefighter who died in the line of duty.

Matthias Wirtz, a 46-year-old, 22-year veteran of the North Haven Fire Department, was always meant to be a firefighter, according to his best friend, Anthony Desimone.

“When you get to know him, like anyone got to know him — he just like instantly became your best friend,” Desimone said. “And, again, he did anything and everything you asked him. He was that guy. He would just come out there and do it for you, and he’s there.”

Hundreds were expected to attend the fundraiser, with benefits going to Wirtz’s family.

Inside, firefighters wore t-shirts to show their support.

“It’s an unfortunate thing — but you see who’s here tonight,” Peter Criscuolo, a firefighter for the North Haven department, said. “It’s a tribute to who he is, who he was. I hate to use the word ‘was.'”

Those in attendance shared memories and laughs as they paid tribute to a friend.

“He knew the importance of not just being a firefighter but being a decent human being. Criscuolo said.

Another fundraiser will be held this Sunday at La Lupa’s Ristorante in North Haven.