By BOB OLIVER
DEARBORN — A 29-year-old Dearborn resident who was working as a Wayne-Westland firefighter was killed May 8 while working to extinguish a fire at a strip mall at the corner of Hunter and Wayne roads in Westland.
Brian Woehike was killed by a roof that collapsed on him as he and other firefighters attempted to put out a blaze that was consuming the Electric Stick pool hall and Marvaso’s Italian Grille. He was the first firefighter killed in the 47-year history of the Westland Fire Department.
Woehike lived in Dearborn with his wife and their child, a 13-month-old girl. He had been working with the Wayne-Westland Fire Department for 10 months.
The cause of the fire was not immediately known, but the fire department was called to the mall about 8:17 a.m. Woehike was one of the responders and was inside the building complex when the roof collapsed.
According to published reports a mayday call was issued through the communications system about an hour after the firefighters arrived on the scene. A mayday call indicates that a firefighter is in distress.
Woehike’s body was recovered about 12:40 p.m.
Crews continued to extinguish hot spots in the building well into the afternoon.
Westland Mayor William Wild said that he was “deeply saddened” by Woehike’s death.
“He dedicated his life to protecting the residents of Wayne and Westland, and this is a terrible loss for the firefighter’s family and our entire community,” Wild said. “This tragedy is a reminder to us all of the sacrifices that firefighters make along with their family and friends every single day.”
Westland Fire Capt. Kevin Tomaszewski announced Thursday that a charity was being established to benefit Woehike’s family and that about $17,000 in the Westland Firefighters’ Charity would be given to Woehike’s widow.
(Bob Oliver can be reached at [email protected].)