Fort Carson technician, Penrose firefighter dies in work-related accident

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A Penrose Fire Department assistant chief and Fort Carson emergency vehicle technician died in a work-related accident earlier this week, according to multiple local agencies.

Greg Gatzke, 49, died in an accident Wednesday, according to a Facebook post from Fort Carson Fire and Emergency Services. He had worked as an emergency vehicle technician at Fort Carson for 16 years, and also helped other local departments with maintenance issues.

“We at Fort Carson were blessed with an Emergency Vehicle Technician who would come in at all hours of any day to make sure we had operational equipment without hesitation,” firefighters said in the post. “Greg Gatzke was the glue which held our fleet together despite the frustrations we presented him at times, and he did it with a passion and dedication which was unmatched.”

Gatzke also served as volunteer assistant chief of the Penrose Fire Department. He had been with the department for 13 years, according to Florence Fire Protection District Chief Bill Ritter.

“Greg was irreplaceable,” Ritter said. “He was a great mentor and everyone looked up to him. We will never find someone to replace him.”

“Greg displayed an unparalleled commitment to keeping FCFD’s fleet operating to ensure the mission was met,” the Cimarron Hills Fire Department said on Facebook. “He will be remembered for his dedication to the fire service and the men and women serving in the United States Army. Greg, our brother, we love you and thank you for your continued service in your next tour of duty – watching over your fire service brothers and sisters.”

Gatzke is survived by his wife and “countless fire service brothers and sisters,” according to the department.

Several local fire departments will be flying memorial flags and wearing mourning bands until Gatzke is laid to rest.

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