Dolton firefighter dies after fighting fire in Harvey, Illinois, south of Chicago

HARVEY, Ill. (Fox 32 News) - A Dolton firefighter died Saturday after fighting a fire in Harvey, Ill., which is a far south suburb of Chicago.

Lawrence Matthews, 36, and the father of four small children, collapsed at the scene of a mobile home fire.

Matthews was a fighter who had already overcome a lot, including a heart transplant ten years ago. Two years later, in 2009, Matthews joined the Dolton Fire Department.

"He was a good firefighter. He did what was required and today he paid the ultimate price and that was with his life,” said Dolton Mayor Riley Rogers.

Dolton firefighters were called to assist Harvey at the scene of a mobile home fire near 150th and Rockwell that grew quickly.

“He wasn't even out there that long and unfortunately he succumbed to his conditions,” said Dolton Fire Chief Steve McCain.

It was a warm day. That can complicate firefighters’ safety, but it’s unclear exactly what caused Matthews to collapse.

"It's going to be tough, its' going to be something that the Dolton fire family as well as the rest of their service family in the south suburbs is going to have to deal with. I'm in shock. It's a total loss,” McCain said.

Those participating in an evening procession honoring his life just hours after his death described Matthews as jovial and a family man.  Matthews was also a good guy to have on the job. He spent the morning helping over 250 firefighter candidates taking an exam.

"No words can express the sorrow that we feel here today for the family and the relatives of this firefighter,” said Rogers.

With Father’s Day just a week away, Dolton’s fire chief says the department will do what they can to support Matthews’ young family.
 

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