Updated 01/28/2013 07:31 AM
Hundreds of firefighters say goodbye to one of their own
Among the hundreds of people paying their respects to Captain Matthew Porcari are firefighters from coast to coast. Our Melissa Kakareka has more on their thoughts as they say goodbye to one of their own.
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OWEGO, N.Y. -- Matthew Porcari was a firefighter in Owego. But he was a part of much more than just that fire department. That's why firefighters and first responders came to Owego Middle School Sunday to pay their respects.
"In the history of the fire department, this is what we do. If we lose a brother, everybody shows up and shows support for everyone in the family and in their department that was there," said West Colesville Fire Department firefighter Steve Brown.
Many came from the Southern Tier and Central New York, while others traveled from cities and towns across the country. Some even made the trip from Canada.
"I think it helps the family, even the department, that they are not just a small department, but that it's the whole USA and Canada mourning with them the loss of one of their members," said Lt. Denis Charbonneau of the Ottawa Fire Department.
The West Webster Fire Department lost two firefighters just a few weeks ago when they were shot in the line of duty. Matthew Porcari organized the Owego Fire Department's trip to Webster. Members of the West Webster Fire Department were also at the funeral to return the favor on Sunday.
“It's pretty amazing to know that he was the one that helped Owego get set up to come visit us and help us and we had to make sure to get down here to help them," said West Webster Fire Department Fire Chief Jim Deisenroth.
But no matter where they came from, the firefighters say they all share a common bond.
"It's a true brotherhood. Paid, volunteer, doesn't matter. We all work together and train hard and we are all here to support one another at this time of need," said Town of Vestal Fire Chief Pat McPherson.
"We all do the same job, doesn't matter where you are. If you're in Japan, they are doing the same job that we are here. So we all do this together. It’s just a dangerous thing. We all love to do it. That's why we show up. We come to support someone who was doing his job and unfortunately lost his life," said Brown.
Some firefighters say it’s a connection that only another person in uniform can fully understand.