Detroit firefighter who died after suspected road rage incident remembered for life of service

Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News
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Mourners filled a Clinton Township Church on Saturday to pay their final respects to a veteran Detroit firefighter killed earlier this week in a suspected case of road rage.

Senior Lt. Francis Dombrowski, 55, of Rochester Hills was remembered by the Rev. William Herman of St. Ronald Catholic Church as a man who cared about and gave service to others.

Victoria Dombrowski, right, the widow of fallen Detroit Fire Department Senior Lt. Francis Dombrowski, hugs a well-wisher before the funeral service at St. Ronald Catholic Church.

“Frank’s life mattered to his family, friends and those he gave service to," Herman told mourners. “He made a difference and that is high praise. His life was a life of care and service to others."

Church officials estimated 500 people attended the service. A lone bagpiper played as a procession of about 250 firefighters, mostly from Detroit, and Detroit Fire Department officials filed into the church led by Detroit Fire Commissioner Eric Jones.

Detroit Fire Department Lt. Francis Dombrowski was shot and killed in a road rage incident in Troy, police said.

There was no mention of the shooting incident that claimed Dombrowski's life during the nearly hour-long funeral.

A nephew of Dombrowski, John Kiesling, remembered him as a hero.

“He was the first one in (to a fire ) and the last one out,” said an emotional Kiesling who attended the funeral with his son.

The Rev. William Herman, pastor of St. Ronald Catholic Church, presides over the funeral service of Detroit Fire Department Senior Lt. Francis Dombrowski on Saturday, July 10, 2021.

Dombrowski was featured in the 2012 documentary "Burn," which chronicled Detroit firefighters as they battled blazes in the city.

Monica Poe, who said her son and brother are firefighters in Detroit, said Dombrowski mentored younger firefighters and was a kind man. Poe called the fatal shooting of Dombrowski “sad and senseless.”

Dombrowski's firefighter's helmet bearing Engine 53 was displayed among floral arrangements near his open casket.

The helmet of fallen Detroit Fire Department Senior Lt. Francis Dombrowski, who was with Engine 53, is on display at St. Ronald Catholic Church, Saturday, July 10, 2021, in Clinton Township, Michigan.

Dombrowski was fatally wounded following a suspected road rage incident Monday night in Troy.

A 27-year-old man, identified as Tyrell Josey, has been charged and arraigned on open murder and weapons charges in the shooting.

Ian Kushnir of the Windsor and Detroit Honor Guard plays bagpipes as pallbearers escort the casket of Detroit Fire Department Senior Lt. Francis Dombrowski into the chapel of St. Ronald Catholic Church in Clinton Township on Saturday, July 10, 2021

Dombrowski fought fires in the city of Detroit for 29 years. During his career, he also received the  Medal of Valor at the Detroit Fire Department's Above and Beyond ceremony in 2018

A Detroit native, Dombrowski was raised in the city and attended St. Bartholomew Elementary, De La Salle Collegiate high school and Wayne State University.

He is survived by his wife, Victoria, and his siblings in addition to many other relatives, according to an obit posted online by the Wujek-Calcaterra & Sons funeral home which handled the firefighter's final arrangements.

An antique Detroit Fire Truck carries the casket of Detroit Fire Department Senior Lt. Francis Dombrowski as it leads a procession from St. Ronald Catholic Church to Mount Olivet Cemetery in Detroit.
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