MORTON — Michael Malinowski was all about helping others.
Now the community he loved to serve will rally around his family after the sudden death of the popular Morton Rutledge volunteer fire captain.
Malinowski, 40, reported feeling ill after responding to a traffic accident Monday night. He went to work the next day, when he suffered what appears to be a heart attack. He was rushed to the hospital but did not survive.
On Monday evening Malinowski was responded to the report of trees and wires down just after 8 p.m. in Nether Providence. Following the call, Malinowski reported to officers that he was feeling ill.
“He was running the duty engine Monday night when they came back he let some of the crew know he wasn’t feel well,” said Morton Rutledge Fire Chief Don Holstein. “He went to work the next morning, had tightness in his chest and was taken to the hospital where he died.”
Malinowski leaves behind a wife, Melissa Anne and five children, from three to 17 years of age.
“My world came crashing down yesterday when Michael Malinowski unexpectedly passed away,” she posted on his Facebook page Wednesday.
“I drove him crazy but he loved me, Harper, Cooper, Matt, Michael, & Bailey with all that he had. There were some days the fire house or cooking might have topped us though. I keep wishing we would all wake up from this nightmare. Please keep me, the kids, his mom, his sister, and the rest of his family in your thoughts. I love and miss you so much.”
Malinowski had been with the fire company for five years after being a firefighter in Gloucester City, N.J. Holstein said he was promoted to captain in the past two years.
“You’d walk in and he was the guy who was always there,” Holstein said. “He was all about helping others, either in community or helping friend. If you needed someone one to help you move he was there, an outstanding individual.”
Holstein said Malinowski was involved in numerous aspects of the fire company from being on the board of directors to training, fund raising and running the website. "There wasn’t anything you asked that he wouldn’t get done."
On Wednesday the American flag at the fire station on Alfa Terrace flew at half staff and black bunting was wrapped on the trucks as Holstein and his 25- 30 fellow firefighters came to gripes with losing one of their own.
Delaware County Department of Emergency Services Executive Director Timothy Boyce said his office was informed of Malinowski’s death late Tuesday, offered its condolences and notified state officials.
Boyce said there is a window of coverage for first responders that may have had a medical event while on duty pending an investigation.
“There are host of benefits state and federal as well as workers compensation,” Boyce said. “They all relate back to the cause.”
The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 27 and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 654 are collecting toys for the Malinowski children. Gifts can be dropped off at Folcroft police or the IBEW Local Union 654. Business Office -3729 Chichester Ave. Boothwyn, PA 19061.
His funeral service will take place Saturday, Dec. 14. A viewing and service will be held at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, 2130 Franklin Ave. in Holmes from 9:30 a.m. to noon. A funeral Mass will follow in the church at noon.
Burial will be private.