NORTH HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – A North Haven firefighter that died in the line of duty was laid to rest on Tuesday.
Outside of the funeral, hundreds of fellow firefighters lined up to show their support for a fallen brother. Some even traveled from other states.
The official estimate says 1,000 brother and sister firefighters paid their respects to Matthias Wirtz. That included departments from all over Connecticut and beyond.
“It’s important to honor a fallen firefighter always,” said Deputy Chief Kevin Heffernan, White Plains, NY Fire Department. “Whether he was on our job or some other job, or across the country.”
“It’s absolutely important for the brotherhood and the sisterhood of the fire department to stick together at an awful time like this,” said Firefighter Mike Jefferson, Somerville, Massachusetts Fire Department.
Officials say there were fire crews at the funeral home from as far away as New York City and Boston. Local departments were represented, too.
For the past week, many local departments have been taking over shifts in North Haven so North Haven firefighters had time to grieve.
North Haven officials said they had gotten condolences from across the country and even as far away as Canada and South America. There is one simple thing that binds firefighters together wherever they are.
“It’s a very demanding profession,” Heffernan said. “It can kill you at any time. Unfortunately, this is what happened here. We recognize that and we just want to honor his life and his sacrifice and service to the city of North Haven.”
Everyone wearing that uniform has signed up to run toward danger when others are running away. They all know how important it is to support everyone else who has signed up to make those same sacrifices.