You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

Police and fire

  • Driver crashes, dies after police chase
    Debris and wreckage littered the highway Wednesday as a section of Airport Expressway was closed for the evening after a violent crash left one man dead at the end of a police pursuit.
  • Wheelie leads to collision
    The woman sat on the sidewalk, smothering her face in towels and tissues as three men put their arms around her. Just up the street, amid the destroyed motorcycle and debris littering the road, was her son.
  • Area near I-469, Auburn Road reopens after gas leak
    The roads around Interstate 469 and Auburn Road have been cleared and reopened after a construction crew hit a gas line this morning, requiring patients and staff from two medical buildings to be evacuated for a time, Fort Wayne firefighters said.
Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
Janet Haudenschild, wife of fallen firefighter Mark Haudenschild II, speaks at a news conference on Wednesday at the Washington Township Fire Department on Wallen Road.

Firefighter's widow: There was a big fear in me that this would happen

Surrounded by her firefighting family Wednesday, Janet Haudenschild, the widow of Mark Haudenschild II, spoke about the life of her husband, a man she described as "compassionate, caring and loving of everyone."

Behind her, newly printed on the side of a Washington Township fire truck were blue letters that read "In memory of 686 Mark Haudenschild II."

Haudenschild died Sunday night after losing control of a tanker truck and crashing on his way to a brush fire.

About 8:40 p.m., he was headed south on Hillegas Road and tried to make a right turn to go west on Butler Road when the truck rolled several times and hit three utility poles. The truck came to rest on its side, just off Hillegas, about 100 yards south of the intersection.

Haudenschild worked as a tech with Comcast for six years and served as an assistant chief engineer with the fire department for five years.

From early in their dating relationship, Janet recalled hearing of his desire to volunteer at the Washington Township Fire Department. He always expressed a need to help others, she said.

"There was a big fear in me that this would happen, but I still felt I could not stop him from doing something he really wanted," she said.

Mark and Janet were married in August 2007. Together, they had two children – a 1-year-old daughter Kyra and 3-year-old son, Mark Haudenschild III.

"Our son was his buddy. Our little girl he adored with all his heart," Janet said. "He was a very good man to everybody, especially us."

Janet described the challenges she's faced in recent days, of putting her daughter to sleep at night and staying strong for her children.

"My son he seems lost, like he's looking for him … and I feel like my daughter is the same. She has a hard time falling asleep and staying asleep at times," she said. "I think they're both feeling that something is going on."

Janet said she's already begun putting together letters, photos and memorabilia to share with her children when they are older.

"I want them to see first-hand what happened, rather than just hearing about their father," she said.

For more on this story see Thursday's print edition of The Journal Gazette or return to after 3 a.m.

In memoriam