MURRELLS INLET, S.C. (WBTW) – A former Grand Strand firefighter died from cancer early Friday morning in his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, according to the Murrells Inlet Garden Ceity Professional Fire Fighters Association.

Matthew Piontkowski died at about 4:30 a.m. surrounded by family, the group said.

He started at the Murrells Inlet-Garden City Fire Department in 2018 after serving with Horry County Fire Rescue from 2010 to 2017. He was the former president of the local department and was known for making an impression on everyone he came into contact with, the post stated. 

The Murrells Inlet-Garden City Fire Department said Piontkowski will be “truly missed, but never forgotten,” and the department expressed gratitude for the East Cleveland Firefighters for supporting Piontkowski while they could not physically be present. 

“He was a brother, mentor, friend, and coworker to many first responders in Horry and Georgetown Counties, leaving a lasting impression on everyone he encountered throughout his career,” the Murrells Inlet-Garden City Fire Department said.

Horry County Fire Rescue also posted condolences.

“Our thoughts are with Piontkowski’s family, friends and colleagues during this most difficult time,” HCFR said. “To all our first responder brothers and sisters, this is never easy, but we’re here, however, you need us.”

Funeral arrangements are pending. 

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Taylor Ford is a digital journalist for News13. She joined the News13 team in January 2023. Taylor is a Florence native and covers the Pee Dee out of News13’s Florence Bureau. Read more of Taylor’s work here.