PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Family, friends and fellow first responders gathered Sunday to pay their last respects to the late Philadelphia firefighter Lt. Sean Williamson, who was killed in the line of duty in the Fairhill section of the city. It was a gloomy day during his visit to South Philadelphia.
Lt. Williamson, a 27-year veteran of the Philadelphia Fire Department, rushed to put out a fire at a pizzeria when about an hour later the building collapsed.
You can watch the procession and funeral stream on CBS News Philly on Monday.
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“It’s a terrible tragedy,” said family friend Giovanna Cavalivere.
A last goodbye.
“You say goodnight to them and the next thing you know you get a phone call saying they’re gone,” Cavalivere added.
As Lieutenant Williamson’s coffin was carried inside the Epiphany of Our Lord Church in South Philly on Sunday evening, those who also served gave their fallen colleague a final salute.
“We’re all brothers,” said Keith Nicoliello of the New York City Fire Department, Ladder 30.
Many of those who lined up to pay their respects worked alongside Lt. Williamson, while others traveled to honor the bond of brotherhood.
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“During 9/11, a lot of guys from Philadelphia showed up at a lot of our wakes, so really, it’s our duty to be here,” Nicoliello said.
Lt. Williamson died last weekend when a building collapsed on top of him following an overnight fire in Fairhill. Five others were taken alive. Many onlookers are in mourning, wondering why this happened.
“I wish I had that answer, to be honest with you,” Archdiocese of Philadelphia Bishop Nelson Perez said. “It’s hard, I wonder myself.”
As Williamson’s family entered the church, their pain was palpable.
“It’s the worst thing that can happen to a mother,” Cavalivere said. “That’s not how it should be.”
Lt. Williamson, who began his career in the Marine Corps, leaves behind a mother and son, and a legacy of service as he made the ultimate sacrifice for the job and the city he loved .
“He’s our hero and always will be,” Cavalivere said.
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Lt. Williamson’s funeral will take place on Monday. Click here for more logistical details on the services.