Documentary features fallen Westland firefighter saving lives

Published On: May 14 2013 02:41:49 PM EDT
Updated On: May 14 2013 03:24:52 PM EDT
DETROIT -

A short documentary called "Image of the Invisible" features Brian Woehlke on the job as he worked as a paramedic for Redford Township.

29-year-old Woehlke died Wednesday while battling a fire at a strip mall in Westland. He was crushed when the roof of the building collapsed.

The documentary by independent filmmaker Aaron Trager and Mike J. Moore is described as: "A short documentary about the jobs and lives of paramedics in Chicago and Detroit. Following two paramedics on the job in suburban Detroit we delve in to the question as to whether paramedics are under appreciated and have become a medical taxi service for the general public.". The short film was made just over a year ago.

In it Woehlke can be heard talking about his job and seen tending to people in need -- including a woman who appears to have suffered a heart attack.

Trager told ClickOnDetroit.com he spent one day with Brian and his partner Katie for one day during filming - but saw his face over and over again he and Moore edited the footage they had collected. He said Woehlke has been called by many a "favorite character" in the documentary because he was so light hearted and fun.

Prior to Woehlke's death, never in 47 years had the Wayne-Westland Fire Department lost a firefighter on the job.

Woehlke leaves behind his wife of four years and a 13-month-old daughter. He was hired by the department in July 2012.

Saying goodbye

Streets were lined with supporters who waved flags and gave salutes Monday morning as the casket carrying fallen Westland firefighter Brian Woehlke made its way to the church.

Hundreds of firefighters from across the state, and Canada, stood in solidarity outside the church. Those who didn't know Woehlke personally say they knew him in spirit.

The sentiment:

"So it's import for us to come out and recognize his sacrifice," said Detroit firefighter Reginald Johnson.

"Well even though we all come from different departments, we all have a common enemy and that's fire," said Detroit Deputy Fie Commissioner Edsel Jenkins.

"We don't recognize boarders as such, their our brothers in the task that they do and we feel the loss everywhere, we're all firefighters," said Toronto Firefighter George Krallk.

"This is what we do. This is what all firefighters do. When one goes down, we all feel the pain. So, it's important for us to come out and recognize his sacrifice," one visiting firefighter told Local 4.

Gov. Rick Snyder has ordered U.S. flags lowered at state buildings around Michigan to honor Woehlke.
Snyder said in a statement that Woehlke "is an example of the brave men and women" who protect Michigan communities every day.

Statement from Woehlke family:

"We would like to thank the community for their outpouring of support through this difficult time. The community’s generosity in the form of memorial donations, flowers, food, prayers and support are greatly appreciated, more than words can express. He would be humbled by the heart-felt expressions of thoughtfulness and support from his fellow brothers and sisters in the fire service, extended family and the community at-large. Brian fulfilled his lifelong dream of becoming a firefighter when he joined the Wayne Westland Fire Department."

Gallery

IMAGES: Procession for fallen firefighter Brian Woehlke

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