Wayne-Westland firefighter's death shocks community

By Mara MacDonald, Local 4 Reporter, @MaraMacDonald
Published On: May 08 2013 10:47:42 PM EDT
Updated On: May 08 2013 11:21:37 PM EDT

At 9:30 a.m. the distress call came from 29-year-old firefighter Brian Woehlke. He was crushed when the roof of the building collapsed.

WESTLAND, Mich. -

Brian Woehlke graphic What could have caused a pool hall and the restaurant next door to go up in flames early Wednesday morning in Westland?

That question is on the collective mind of an entire community left mourning a beloved firefighter and father.

The fire started about 8 a.m. and consumed a portion of the strip mall on Wayne Road. At 9:30 a.m. the distress call came from 29-year-old firefighter Brian Woehlke. He was crushed when the roof of the building collapsed.

The rest of the day was spent removing debris to find Woehlke's body. The husband and father of a 13-month-old girl loved being a firefighter.

"Well, (his wife) is pretty, pretty broken up. She's a school teacher and they had to go down to the school and tell her. Pretty, pretty rough," said Art Habitz, Woehlke's uncle. "It almost takes your breath away. You don't know what to say. I mean, how could this happen?"

Never in 47 years has the Wayne-Westland Fire Department lost a firefighter on the job. They are holding it together the best that they can.

"Essentially I am going to make a statement on behalf of the family that Brian loved going to work everyday and he worked his whole life to become a firefighter. He was proud to be a Wayne-Westland firefighter," said Deputy Fire Chief Rob Arbini.

Brian Woehlke candlelight vigil Those who saw what happened on TV gathered in the strip mall parking lot Wednesday night to light candles and pray.

Anyone who wishes to help the Woehlke family with donations please make a check out to the Westland Firefighters Charity, PO Box 851320 Westland, MI 48185 or drop a check off to Station 1, which is located at the southwest corner of Ford Road and Central City in Westland.

The department will be forwarding all money to a trust that is going to be setup by the family for his daughter.

Reddy says funeral arrangements are being taken care of.

Comments

The views expressed below are not those of Click On Detroit, WDIV, or its affiliated companies. By clicking on "Post," you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Service and your comment is in compliance with such terms. Readers, please help keep this discussion respectful and on topic by flagging comments that are offensive or inappropriate (hover over the commenter's name and you'll see the flag option appear on right side of that line). And remember, respect goes both ways: Tolerance of others' opinions is important in a free discourse. If you're easily offended by strong opinions, you might skip reading comments entirely.

blog comments powered by Disqus