‘He made me feel really special,’: Family shares impact of Price Fire Chief following his death
Dec 15, 2023, 6:19 PM | Updated: Dec 16, 2023, 11:57 am
PRICE — As the City of Price prepares to say goodbye to Fire Chief Fitzgerald Petersen, a Holladay family is sharing the impact Petersen had on their son as he battled a brain tumor.
Petersen passed away after battling cancer, he was 58.
The department announced his death in a Facebook post stating in part, “May his legacy live on through the many lives he affected. We love you Fitz.”
“He made me feel really special,” 15-year-old Gage Thompson said. “Fitz would just visit and let me just be in the fire trucks and stuff, that was special.”
As a toddler, Gage was a frequent visitor to Unified Authority’s Station 104 near his home. Petersen was a Capitan for UFA at the time and became close with Gage and his family. Shortly after Gage turned three, doctors at Primary Children’s Hospital discovered a plum-sized tumor in his brain.
“When Gage was in the hospital, they showed up to the hospital,” Gretchen Thompson, Gage’s mother, said. “It was huge, he (Petersen) would call and check in, he would stop by and visit.”
Gretchen Thompson recalls the difficult days after Gage’s brain tumor was removed. She says Gage wouldn’t speak, that is until Petersen and his friends from Station 104 arrived at the hospital.
“Gage hadn’t spoken, and they all walked in, and Gage smiled, and he started talking and it brought him back to life, and that energy he brought continued in our life,” Gretchen said.
The Thompsons remained friends with Petersen over the years and when they learned of his passing on Dec 1, due to cancer they were devastated.
“The efforts he gave, and his kindness and his heart were genuine, it was genuine, everything he did was just from his heart,” Gretchen said.
Today, Gage displays a picture of Petersen and the firefighters from Station 104 on his dresser. He also displays the helmet and handmade plaque with an axe they gave him when he returned home from the hospital.
“I also have this honorary fireman badge right here,” he said while showing off the display.
Gage and his mother credit Petersen with helping the family get through some of the difficult days of Gage’s recovery.
“He was a fantastic influence on everyone because it was genuine,” Gretchen said.
They say Petersen was more than just a firefighter to them, he was a friend. And they hope in the months and years to come, he’ll be remembered as a hero.
“So tremendously grateful for the peace that he brought to us,” Gretchen said. “I know this is a really difficult loss to his family and those who love him, it’s a tremendous loss for our community.”
Funeral services for Chief Fitzgerald Peterson will be held on Saturday, Dec. 16, 2023, at 12:00 p.m. at the Carbon County Event Center in Price. The service can be watched online or on the KSL TV+ App.