Thursday, January 3, 2013

A Great Man Lost

Fallen Firefighter Laid To Rest

Jan 3, 2013 4:35pm (CDT)
By: Grace White
Follow Grace on Twitter @Grace__White and on Facebook
Friends and family paid their final respects to a fallen San Antonio firefighter.

Matthew Whitley, 31, died in a fire in his Devine home.

Today, the men who served alongside him say it's his smile they will always remember.

It was a solemn procession for a man who dedicated his life to serving his community.

"I'm his boss at work and it ain't going to be the same to go to the station and Matt not being there," said Batt. Chief Russell Johnson, S.A.F.D.

"It's really difficult and the thing that we emphasize is that we are a family and we take care of our own," said Chief Charles Hood, S.A.F.D.

Whitley's father is also a firefighter.

He's a lieutenant with San Antonio's Training Academy.

"Matt has a large regular family and he also has a very large fire department family, you can see all the different fire departments that showed up. These people took time out of their lives to come pay tribute to a fallen firefighter," said Johnson.

"There's no real words to comfort anybody, all we can do is show our support and love and that's what we are going to do," said Hood.

Investigators say the fire started in Whitley's home at the Gusville Trailer Park just after midnight December 28th.

The Medina County Sheriff's Office says a neighbor called in the fire.

Whitley was found dead inside.

"Matthew was a great kid, he was a pleaser. He would do anything for anybody, to help them out. He smiled all the time and laughed, he was just a happy go lucky young man," said Johnson.

Whitley was a graduate of MacArthur High School.

He's been with the fire department for 10 years.

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