Donations being collected to help daughter of late fire captain

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published March 24, 2021

 Jeff Brozich

Jeff Brozich

Advertisement

MADISON HEIGHTS — Community members have been paying tribute to Madison Heights Fire Capt. Jeff Brozich, who recently died unexpectedly, leaving behind family including a daughter who is taking care of her mother facing breast cancer.  

To support the family during this difficult time, an online fundraiser has been established at gofund.me/3448da0e. At press time, it had raised more than $26,500 toward its $35,000 goal.

According to the site, Brozich’s daughter, Brianna, is 16 and plans to attend college to become a nurse. Her mother, Brozich’s ex-wife, has been a stay-at-home mom since 2019 as she battles cancer. Their family was not financially prepared for Brozich’s death, which occurred while Brozich was on duty March 1. He was 57 and had served 20 years. The money raised will help support Brianna and her mother during the years ahead, including Brianna’s college expenses.

Madison Heights Fire Marshal Paul Biliti explained that the GoFundMe was established by a Madison Heights police officer, Craig White, who also happens to be Brianna’s uncle.

Biliti recounted Brozich’s last day.

“Jeff retired to his sleeping quarters just after midnight. The station received a 911 call about 3:15 a.m., and Captain Brozich did not report to the fire engine,” Biliti said via email. “Two firefighters went to his sleeping quarters and found Jeff deceased. He led his unit in training that day, and even worked out in the weight room.

“Losing Captain Brozich so unexpectedly is a devastating loss to his family, this particular department, the community and the entire fire service,” Biliti said. “Jeff was a genuine ‘good guy’ that you want your own sons to grow up to be. He will be truly missed.”

Brozich originally joined the Madison Heights Fire Department in December 2000. He was promoted to sergeant in 2014, lieutenant in 2016 and captain in 2019.

He was a unit commander, responsible for all mandated state and federal incident reporting, management of pre-incident site surveys and the training of probationary firefighters. He was married to Lindsay Brozich, a Madison Heights police officer.   

“We know the men and women who sign up for duty in the fire service are willing to give their last breath to protect the lives of others, and Captain Brozich honored that commitment to the end,” Madison Heights Fire Chief Gregory Lelito said in a statement. “Our firefighters found the strength to continue their lifesaving work that morning, heartbroken at the loss of their brother.”

The exact cause of death is still being determined, the chief said.

The last alarm service was held the morning of March 5. In a series of emails, members of the Madison Heights City Council paid their respects.

“Our hearts go out to the family of Captain Jeff Brozich,” said Madison Heights Mayor Pro Tem David Soltis. “The whole city is mourning for this frontline hero. He will be remembered as selfless and caring for our residents in the time of their need. You wanted Captain Brozich to show up for an emergency. His leadership was impeccable, and fortunately for our community, he helped train the new paramedic and fire staff. The city is indebted to all the contributions of Captain Brozich, and he will always be remembered.”

Madison Heights City Councilman Robert Corbett said the passing of Brozich is a “terrible” loss for both his family and the community he served.

“His wife and family have suffered the loss of a loving and dedicated spouse, father and brother at such a terribly young age. The residents of Madison Heights have lost the services of a talented first responder who took a great deal of pride in his vocation and unit,” Corbett said. “Throughout his firefighting career, he always exhibited the best of his profession, and his leadership skills were recognized by the city and his peers through a series of promotions that culminated in his appointment as captain, the highest line rank within our department. The support and prayers of all of us in the community are with the Brozich family during this difficult period.”

Madison Heights Mayor Roslyn Grafstein said that Brozich was recognized by the honor flag, and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer had state flags lowered at 10 a.m., the time of Brozich’s funeral.

“At the viewing and funeral for Captain Brozich, I spoke with a few retired firefighters about what we can do to honor our local hero. I was touched to see so many first responders coming together to honor such a wonderful man,” Grafstein said. “When I walked into the church on Friday, I was greeted by a sea of navy uniforms worn by firefighters from across the metro area. The parking lot was full of neighboring fire trucks, and the heartwarming stories told by family and friends brought tears to my eyes again and again.

“Brozich will be deeply missed, but the impact he had on those who knew him will live on forever,” she said. “As our community grieves his loss, my heart goes out to his wife and children.”

Advertisement