It's a sad day in Philadelphia when a firefighter is killed, even though it's accepted that facing death is part of the job. Added to the list of the fallen Tuesday was Joyce Craig-Lewis, 36, who died in the smoky haze of a basement fire inside a West Oak Lane home. She becomes the first female member of the Philadelphia Fire Department to die in the line of duty.
An investigation is ongoing to determine how Craig-Lewis became isolated and trapped in the basement. Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer said basement fires are particularly challenging. Descending into the fire and smoke is like "running down into a chimney," he said.
Adding to the sadness, the firefighter leaves a 16-year-old son and a 16-month-old daughter. The children should receive the city's full support in the absence of their heroic mother.
It's been more than a year since the last death of a firefighter on the job, Capt. Michael Goodwin's. No amount of time makes accepting such deaths any easier.