Advance Ohio Media, Cleveland
The spouse of a Cleveland firefighter who died Saturday of issues 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 constructive for the virus that causes COVID-19. He spent 26 years with the Cleveland fireplace 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 entire life was Amber and Ashley,” Jill Petras mentioned. ”His face would mild 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 cherished animals. At one level, the Petras residence additionally included three canines and two cats. On two events, Richard introduced residence stray canines that wandered into his fireplace station, caring for them till he may discover them a everlasting residence.
“Wealthy might be the kindest particular person I do know,” his spouse mentioned. “He was positively the kind of one who took care of my daughters and me. He did all the things for us.”
He additionally cherished to prepare dinner. On the fireplace station, Richard was answerable for lots of the meals and specialised in dishes like a hen, rice and cheese casserole, Jill mentioned. He additionally made a lot of these dinners for his family.
“Each time we had household over for the vacations, we knew Wealthy was cooking us a giant meal,” Jill mentioned.
Jill isn’t positive 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 issues 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 subsequent 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 constructive Aug. 9.
Jill and Ashley additionally examined constructive over the subsequent 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 residence together with his spouse. Docs on the Clinic monitored him by telephone and known as daily to test on his signs. Issues appeared to be bettering by Friday night time when Jill and Richard ate dinner collectively.
“It wasn’t lots, however we sat down and ate a bit bit,” Jill mentioned. “He was doing okay.”
Richard’s respiration turned labored on Saturday, so Jill known as 911. She discovered the severity of Richard’s situation shortly after he arrived on the Clinic.
“I didn’t count on 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, residing in Florida, in order that she may communicate to her father another time.
“It was very troublesome, however I’m glad we have been capable of no less than do 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 constructive 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 together 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 associates and Richard’s colleagues on the fireplace 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 obligation and by no means backed down,” Lally mentioned in a press release after Richard’s demise. “He knew the dangers, and he continued to serve — a real hero.”
A household pal additionally arrange a GoFundMe to lift cash for Richard’s funeral that has raised $37,000, properly above its objective of $5,000. Jill mentioned she plans to donate a lot 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 Properties’ West Park location at 4420 Rocky River Dr. in Cleveland. The funeral is scheduled 10 a.m. Tuesday at Our Woman of Angels Church at 3644 Rocky River Dr. in Cleveland. House is restricted because of coronavirus-related restrictions.