(WJBK) - The Detroit Fire Department is mourning the loss of one of their own. A former firefighter passed away after being hit by a drunk driver last month.
"It was 8:37 I just remember, 'Okay, okay I'll see you when you get here,'" said Laura Castone. "And by 9:04 I was getting phone a call that he had been in a car accident."
On Dec. 27, the lives of Laura Castone and her three children would be forever changed. At that moment, she learned the love of her life Tony Castone was involved in a tragic accident.
"Never in a million years did I think my husband would be taken in a car accident," Laura said, "and not through the fire department."
Castone had retired from the Detroit Fire Department because of a prolonged disability. He was heading home on Northwestern Highway in Southfield at the time of the crash.
A woman, who was out celebrating with friends after getting her nursing license, allegedly drank too much and swerved to miss another vehicle and struck Castone from behind.
The 41-year-old was rushed to the hospital but never regained consciousness. Tony died last week.
His funeral was filled with love, support and stories of what an incredible man, firefighter and community servant he was.
"I love hearing those things and we are going to need to hear them to help us get through these days because he was just here yesterday," said Laura. "I look all around this house and I hear his fire boots down the hallway."
Laura cherishes Tony's many citations he received from the Detroit City Council and Detroit Fire Department for his acts of bravery.
Many remember the time Tony saved a baby, who was badly burned from a fire. As soon as he was released from the hospital we’re told he headed to Children's Hospital where he donated the skin off of his back to help the baby.
"I've always known that Tony was an exceptional guy and he had a heart of gold that was an amazing moment," Laura said. "Something to be very proud of."
Tony had been in physical therapy and had planned to return to the fire department in March. Instead he will continue serving his community in death.
Tony gave the gift of life. His wife says he donated his skin, tissue and organs. Tony leaves behind three children ages 14, 12 and 10.
Because of one woman's decision to drive drunk, they will no longer have a father, Laura lost her husband of 17 years and the community lost a hero.
"It was a $50-dollar ride, maybe," Laura said. "A $50 ride that could have saved my husband's life. The only thing I can think is his life is gone and hers is in turmoil right now."