CLEVELAND, Ohio — The spouse of a Cleveland firefighter who died Saturday of problems from the coronavirus mentioned he was a devoted public servant and household man whose love for animals was solely eclipsed by his devotion to his twin daughters.
Lt. Richard Petras, 51, died after creating a blood clot in his lungs lower than one week after testing optimistic for the virus that causes COVID-19. He spent 26 years with the Cleveland hearth division, working most of that point with Engine 30 within the Glenville neighborhood, his spouse Jill Petras mentioned.
The couple met whereas attending separate excessive faculties in Cleveland’s west suburbs and have been married 27 years. Jill Petras described her husband as a loving father to their twin 23-year-old daughters Ashley and Amber, relationship again to the time he spent by their bedsides after they have been born prematurely and wanted to remain in a neonatal ICU unit.
“His complete life was Amber and Ashley,” Jill Petras mentioned. ”His face would gentle up when he talked about his daughters.”
Richard coached his daughters’ softball and basketball groups in elementary faculty and was a relentless presence at their dance recitals. After they ascended to highschool, he coached them in volleyball. And after they earned scholarships to play volleyball in school, he traveled to see their video games at that stage.
Richard additionally beloved animals. At one level, the Petras dwelling additionally included three canines and two cats. On two events, Richard introduced dwelling stray canines that wandered into his hearth station, caring for them till he might discover them a everlasting dwelling.
“Wealthy might be the kindest individual I do know,” his spouse mentioned. “He was undoubtedly the kind of one that took care of my daughters and me. He did all the pieces for us.”
He additionally beloved to cook dinner. On the hearth station, Richard was in control of most of the meals and specialised in dishes like a rooster, rice and cheese casserole, Jill mentioned. He additionally made a lot of these dinners for his circle of relatives.
“Each time we had household over for the vacations, we knew Wealthy was cooking us a giant meal,” Jill mentioned.
Jill isn’t certain how her husband contracted the coronavirus. Her household has been cautious; each Ashley and Amber are nurses. They have been particularly on guard as a result of Richard’s father died from problems from the coronavirus solely months in the past on the outset of the pandemic.
Richard felt torpid as he ate dinner with Jill and Ashley on Aug. 7, however he assumed it was a byproduct of an extended week of labor. By the following morning, he’d developed a temperature of 103 levels. Richard additionally labored as a part-time paramedic for the Cleveland Clinic, so he organized to take a coronavirus check that got here again optimistic Aug. 9.
Jill and Ashley additionally examined optimistic over the following a number of days. Jill was largely asymptomatic however had a minor chilly and cough, whereas Ashley had a low-grade fever and lethargy.
Richard’s fever lingered all through the week, however he remained at dwelling together with his spouse. Medical doctors on the Clinic monitored him by telephone and known as on daily basis to verify on his signs. Issues appeared to be bettering by Friday night time when Jill and Richard ate dinner collectively.
“It wasn’t so much, however we sat down and ate a bit of bit,” Jill mentioned. “He was doing okay.”
Richard’s respiration turned labored on Saturday, so Jill known as 911. She realized the severity of Richard’s situation shortly after he arrived on the Clinic.
“I didn’t anticipate when he went to the hospital that I used to be going to be known as immediately and informed he was in essential situation,” Jill mentioned.
The Clinic known as Jill and Ashley to the hospital, the place medical doctors informed them Richard developed a deadly blood clot in his lungs. They donned robes and different private protecting tools so they might go into his room to say goodbye. Additionally they known as Amber, dwelling in Florida, in order that she might communicate to her father another time.
“It was very troublesome, however I’m glad we have been capable of no less than try this for him,” Jill mentioned.
Coping with the grief from Richard’s demise is much more troublesome as a result of Jill and Ashley examined optimistic for the virus. Ashley simply accomplished her quarantine, however Jill stays sequestered till Friday.
When Amber arrived in Cleveland to see her household, she couldn’t keep along with her mom. They wanted to stay distanced as they met in Jill’s entrance yard.
“I nonetheless haven’t been capable of hug her. That has been very troublesome,” Jill mentioned. “I can’t maintain my daughter and luxury her.”
The Petras household has taken some solace within the condolences from pals and Richard’s colleagues on the hearth division. Chief Angelo Calvillo and Fran Lally, the president of the IAFF Native 93 union representing Cleveland firefighters, every known as Jill to precise their sympathies, she mentioned.
“Within the face of this pandemic, Wealthy by no means uncared for his responsibility and by no means backed down,” Lally mentioned in an announcement after Richard’s demise. “He knew the dangers, and he continued to serve — a real hero.”
A household good friend additionally arrange a GoFundMe to boost cash for Richard’s funeral that has raised $37,000, effectively above its purpose of $5,000. Jill mentioned she plans to donate many of the cash to the Cleveland Animal Protecting League in honor of her husband’s love for animals.
Visitation is scheduled 2-Four p.m. and 6-Eight p.m. Monday, Aug. 24 at Chambers Funeral Houses’ West Park location at 4420 Rocky River Dr. in Cleveland. The funeral is scheduled 10 a.m. Tuesday at Our Girl of Angels Church at 3644 Rocky River Dr. in Cleveland. House is proscribed resulting from coronavirus-related restrictions.