‘He will be greatly missed’: Ballardsville firefighter who died in line of duty remembered as family man
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A Ballardsville firefighter is being remembered as a “family man” after he died in the line of duty over the weekend.
On Saturday, Thomas Petschke Jr., 53 was working a structure fire in Goshen when he suffered a medical emergency.
Anchorage Middletown Fire & EMS released a statement following Petschke’s death.
“It is with deep sadness that we share the news of the passing of a firefighter from Ballardsville. While working at a fire scene earlier this evening, the firefighter unfortunately experienced a medical emergency. Despite the immediate medical attention provided and transportation to a local hospital, we are devastated to report that he did not survive. Our thoughts and condolences go out to his family, friends, and fellow firefighters during this difficult time.
We understand that there is a need for more information, and we assure you that we are actively working to gather all the necessary details surrounding this tragic incident. As soon as we have additional information, we will provide an update to the media and the public.
Our firefighter community is a tight-knit family, and we are grateful for the outpouring of support we have already received. We ask that you keep the fallen firefighter and his loved ones in your thoughts during this time of grief.”
Petschke was a 10-year veteran as a volunteer firefighter with the Ballardsville Fire Department.
“Tom was a husband, a father, a son, a man of God, and a firefighter,” Ballardsville Fire Chief Stephen Fante said in a statement. “Tom was a hardworking entrepreneur, a small business owner and a servant of his community. With his busy work schedule, he always found time to give back to his community. He was an example of a volunteer fireman. Always trying to expand his knowledge and serve the community the best way he could. We appreciate all the support from the community and the surrounding fire departments that are assisting us at this time.”
On Monday, Petschke was taken to a funeral home in La Grange where services will be held.
“He was the epiphany of a volunteer,” Fante said. “A family man. He worked hard.”
Fante said what stood out about Petschke was his loyalty and his positive attitude.
“He will be greatly missed,” Fante said. “He was a big part of our department.”
The liaison for the Petschke family, Sgt. Stephen Sauerbeck with the Ballardsville Fire Department, said he’s known Petschke for 10 years since he joined the department.
“I’ve grown very close to him since then,” Sauerbeck said. “We were both small business owners and in the last four years, we’ve worked together quite a bit. I’m able to work with him through his company and we got to spend a lot of time together both in and out of the fire service.”
Sauerbeck described Petschke as a great friend and a role model to everyone. He said was inspired by Petschke and how he ran his business and took care of his family while serving the community.
“It’s good to have strong people around you that can motivate you to be better yourself,” Sauerbeck said. “Tom was one of those people who was a great man to look up to.”
Watch the full statements below.
Copyright 2023 WAVE. All rights reserved.