Wayne-Westland firefighter killed in the line of duty

Wayne-Westland firefighter Brian Woehlke killed in the line of duty

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Wayne-Westland firefighter Brian Woehlke with his wife and daughter Wayne-Westland firefighter Brian Woehlke with his wife and daughter
WESTLAND, Mich. (WJBK) -

A Wayne-Westland firefighter's life has been tragically cut short.  Wednesday, 29-year-old Brian Woehlke was killed on the job.

At 8:17 a.m., a 911 call from a cell phone reported a working fire at The Electric Stick on Wayne Road in Westland, previously a pool hall converted into a charity poker venue.  The 13,000 square foot structure includes Marvaso's Italian Grille.

While fighting the fire, it was discovered that Woehlke was unaccounted for.

While checking an area of the building that had collapsed, they discovered the missing firefighter.  He could not be revived.  People watching the fire immediately began holding hands and praying.

"He was just one of the nicest kids.  He was my nephew.  Everybody loved Brian.  He'd do anything for anybody," said Art Habitz.  "Everybody's sorry.  It's catastrophe."

"He leaves behind a wife of four years, Jennifer, and a 13-month-old baby daughter Ava," said Chief Michael Reddy.  "He's been a proud firefighter for ten months now, and he was a great employee.  He's well respected and well liked."

The Marvaso family is pledging to help Woehlke's family.

"The real tragedy today is the firefighter that lost his life trying to protect our business," said Geo Marvaso.  "We're going to hold a fundraiser, and we haven't picked a date yet, that we're going to try to raise funds for Brian Woehlke's family."

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.  Funeral arrangements for  Woehlke are incomplete.

Jennifer Woehlke made the following statement: "Brian loved going to work every day, and he worked his whole life to become a firefighter.  Brian was proud a Wayne-Westland firefighter."

A trust fund has been established to help Woehlke's 13-month-old daughter.  If you would like to contribute, you can make a check out to the Westland Firefighters Charity and send it to PO Box 851320, Westland, Michigan 48185.  Checks can also be dropped off to Station 1 at the corner of Ford Road and Central City in Westland.

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