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.
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.”
The body of a Wayne Westland firefighter has been recovered from a blaze at a pair of businesses in a Westland strip mall today.
Brian Woehlke, 29, was found today, said Deputy Fire Chief Rob Arbini. Woehlke had been a firefighter for 10 months, Arbini said.
Mayor William Wild said he received notification of the body’s recovery at about 12:40 p.m. No information is being released about the firefighter.
Firefighters responded to a blaze at the Electric Stick, a billiards hall, at about 9 a.m. They received a mayday call through the communications system at about 9:30 a.m., indicating a firefighter was in distress. The call was received after a roof collapsed. The strip mall is located at Hunter and Wayne roads.
Woehlke is the first firefighter to fall in the line of duty in the City of Westland Fire Department’s 47-year history.
A Dearborn resident, Woehlke was married and the father of one child.,
Woehlke was among firefighters who responded to the fire sometime after 8 a.m. Wednesday. A may day distress radio call from Woehlke was received about 9:30 a.m. His body was recovered from the collapsed building about 12:40 p.m.
Woehlke is believed to have been trapped in debris from the collapsed Electric Stick and adjoining Marvaso’s Italian Grille.
FOX 2′s Alex Wiley says crews discovered the body among the wreckage at the Electric Stick charity poker hall in the 6500 block of North Wayne Road.
“About 9:30 a.m. through the fire communication system was a report of mayday call, which in the fire department, means there is a firefighter down,” said Westland Mayor William Wild.
The firefighter’s identity has not been released.
The cause of the fire, which also destroyed the neighboring Marvaso’s Italian Grille, has not been released.
Five firefighters reportedly went in and only four came out after the Electric Stick pool hall went up in flames Wednesday morning. Electric Stick is located on Wayne Road just south of Warren.
A restaurant was also destroyed in the fire.
Black smoke could be seen pouring from the building for miles.
Business owner George Marvaso says, “we will rebuild.” Marvaso, a man of strong faith says it is his faith that he will rely on throughout this time.
Electric Stick opened in 1993 as a billiard hall and in recent years had become a charity poker hall. Over the years Marvaso has been able to host tournaments that have raised more than $3-million dollars.
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