Derek Horsey's 80-year-old mother was having a stroke two months ago at their home in West Oak Lane when Firefighter Joyce Craig came to save her.

"My mother was on the floor," Horsey said. Craig gained entry through a window and Doris Horsey was taken to Einstein Medical Center.

"If it wasn't for her," he said, "no telling where my mother would be."

On Friday, Horsey joined the hundreds of people who endured a frigid December night to line up outside Batchelor Bros. Funeral Services to pay their respects to Craig, the first female Philadelphia firefighter to die in the line of duty.

The 36-year-old mother of two was fatally injured fighting a predawn house fire Tuesday in West Oak Lane. The investigation into her death is ongoing.

Among those waiting outside was Jeanette Dodson, 56, of Mayfair. Her grandson played football with Craig's 16-year-old son, Mekhi Green, and her daughter, a Fire Department paramedic, was close friends with the fallen firefighter.

While his 16-month-old sister, Laylani, bundled in winter clothes, was in the arms of a family member, Green embraced Dodson.

"She was good people," Dodson said afterward. "Hardworking, very determined, and motivated."

The 11-year veteran was one of five children and graduated from Dobbins High School in North Philadelphia in 1995.

Salim Thomas, 36, of Center City, attended Dobbins with Craig. He recalled when the high school had a career day and Craig talked about becoming a firefighter.

"They should name a street after her - street, school, library, something," Thomas said.

Marie Barnett, 57, of West Oak Lane, never met Craig. "I'm just out here for respect," said Barnett, who has police officers and firefighters in her family.

"They put their lives on the line every time they get on a truck," she said.

Craig was assigned to Engine 64 in Rhawnhurst, but was working an overtime shift with Engine 73 on Ogontz Avenue when a fire was reported inside a two-story brick house in the 1600 block of Middleton Street at 2:29 a.m. Tuesday.

Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer credited Craig with helping to save the life of a 73-year-old widow who lived there.

She had been injured on the job eight years ago, suffering a burn to her right leg that required a skin graft and left her bedridden for two months.

The Philadelphia Firefighters and Paramedics Union Local 22 has created a memorial fund for Craig's children. Donations may be sent to Local 22 Joyce Craig Memorial Fund, 901 Arch St., Philadelphia 19107.

A second viewing will be held Saturday beginning at 8 a.m., followed by a funeral service at 10, both at Batchelor Bros., 7112 N. Broad St. Burial will follow at Ivy Hill Cemetery.

In line Friday night was 74-year-old Phil Sheridan, who retired from the Fire Department eight years ago after nearly four decades on the job.

"It's like losing a family member," Sheridan said, his voice cracking and tears welling. "Even though I've been away from the job for years, it still hurts."

Derek Horsey said his mother had become ill this year and Craig had responded to emergencies at his house five times since April.

"She's a hero in my book," Horsey said.

"I had to come say goodbye."

215-854-5983 @RobertMoran215