Community honors off-duty Columbia Township firefighter who passed away helping car accident victims

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NORTH OLMSTED, Ohio - Mourners gathered at Chambers Funeral Home in North Olmsted on Friday afternoon, to pay their respects to a 23-year-old firefighter who passed away trying to help car crash victims.

Brett Wilson, a Columbia Township Firefighter, was off duty Sunday morning when a car struck a utility pole near his home in Olmsted Township, causing power lines to fall onto the roadway.

Wilson and his girlfriend ran to render aid to the victims of the crash. He was electrocuted when he when he came into contact with the electrified ground, as was the passenger in the car.

The driver and Brett Wilson’s girlfriend were injured but survived.

Speaking for the hundreds of first responders taking part in today’s visitation, Olmsted Township Police Chief Matthew Vanyo told Fox 8, “We put ourselves in harm's way to aid and assist others in their time of need. This personifies who Brett Wilson was. He always put others people first. He had a purpose in life and his purpose was to help and serve others, and I don't believe there's any higher noble calling than that.”

Wilson's story touched the hearts of the staff at Ohio Vault Works in Valley View. Their parent company, Wilbert Vaults, routinely donates casket vaults for first responders killed in the line of duty.

When they learned that Wilson tried to help the accident victims even though he was off duty, they felt compelled to do the same for the fallen firefighter and his family.

"We do it because they give so much to the community," Ohio Vault Works owner Kirk Prochaska told Fox 8. "They risk their lives to save others, and it's our way of giving back if we can, just in a small way at the most difficult time for the families."

For longtime employee Mike Miller, creating a vault that memorializes the life and sacrifice of Wilson and provides comfort for his grieving family, is a labor born out of the high regard he has for the 23-year-old.

"I just feel honored to be able to take care of the family and friends that are going to be there and I just respect the fact that he is a firefighter and he's there for my family and many other families,” said Miller.

Wilson's funeral services will begin on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at Chambers Funeral Home.  After the services, the procession will leave the funeral home and continue on to Royalton Road Cemetery in Columbia Station.

Continuing coverage, here.

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