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After losing wife in fire, Metro East man vows to honor her legacy through their son

“She was the most amazing woman I’ve ever met,” said Frankie Boedeker. “She was kind, selfless, and I miss her laugh.”

BELLEVILLE, Ill — Nearly one week after losing his wife in a house fire, a Metro East man is hoping to find the firefighters who saved his son's life.

“I kept thinking it was a mistake,” said Frankie Boedeker. “I held hope that it wasn’t true, or it wasn’t it, and that it was somebody else.”

Tuesday morning, Frankie Boedeker got a call he’ll never forget.

“I got an animal control first, before the coroner's office, because they pulled my dog out of the fire and they microchipped her real fast,” said Boedeker. “I said this has to be a mistake because that dog doesn’t leave my wife’s side.”

Belleville Firefighters were able to save his dog and his son from inside their burning home on Rodenmeyer Avenue.

“He was covered in soot but he made it out alright,” said Boedeker.

However, his wife, 25-year-old Kirsten Tompkins, passed away from what’s believed to be smoke inhalation.

“She was the most amazing woman I’ve ever met,” said Boedeker. “She was kind, selfless, and I miss her laugh.”

The couple met while serving in the military, and Boedeker says his wife helped him overcome bouts with PTSD.

“She’s my hero,” Boedeker said.

When asked how rare it is to find someone like that, Boedecker said “I’ll never find anyone again."

Struggling to cope with the emotions of losing his wife, Boedeker is vowing to carry on her legacy through the life of their son.

“I hope he’s young enough not to remember the fire,” he said.

Nearly a week later, the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

“I’ve been trying to find the name of the firefighter that found my son,” said Boedeker. “I would just like to thank him for his bravery, and for bringing my son home safe.”

Tompkins will be laid to rest at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery. 

A loved one has started a GoFundMe to help offset some of the expenses associated with the funeral.