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3 stations to stay open after firefighter’s death

Beauchene and wife adopted four children after fostering

WARREN — The city is not making major changes to policies at the fire department in response to the unexpected death of Lt. Don Beauchene on Tuesday.

Beauchene, 54, was diagnosed with COVID-19 last week and died Tuesday.

Warren Safety Service Director Eddie Colbert said all three fire stations are expected to remain open. The department has been segregating its firefighters since April. Firefighters now are assigned to stations and do not intermingle with firefighters at other stations.

The city is building separate sleeping areas for the firefighters to increase social distancing and spacing at the stations. The city has purchased electrostatic cleaners for the stations and other buildings around the city.

The majority of the city’s departments have been closed to walk-in traffic.

Plans to honor Beauchene are being formalized by the city’s fire department, according to Colbert.

“We’ve told the department’s command staff the city would work to do whatever the department believes is appropriate,” Colbert said. “The department is like a family, so we believe they should take the lead.”

Several women, Jen Campbell and Michelle Postly, have started a meal train to provide food for Beauchene’s wife, Michelle, and their 10 children.

Hundreds of people have reached out to offer their condolences to the Beauchene family.

The Beauchenes have been married for nearly 10 years. The couple met a year before they decided to get married.

“We were each other’s soul mates,” Michelle Beauchene said. “He made me strong.”

When they got married, Don already had two children, and Michelle had four children.

Several years later, when Michelle was working at a Christian school, she met young Lilliana (Lilly), who they fell in love with and decided to adopt. Later, they were approached by the adoption agency, which wanted to know if they also were willing to adopt her sister, Lucy.

Later, as Michelle was watching a news program on television, she saw a young girl named Jaime who needed a liver transplant that looked just like their daughter, Lilly. It was then their new daughter saw her older sister on television.

It turned out that Jaime and another brother named Jeremiah had been in other foster homes. The adoption agency asked the Beauchenes if they were willing to adopt the siblings, so they could remain together.

A liver match was found for Jaime.

The older children were able to legally change their names to London and Brooklyn.

The family appeared on “Good Morning America” shortly after the adoption, where they were given an eight-passenger Hyundai SUV and a $10,000 gift card from IKEA.

With their expanded family, the couple, who previously had been planning to downsize, added a $90,000 addition to their home to accommodate their expanded family.

Beauchene worked with the Warren Fire Department for more than 25 years. He rose through the ranks, becoming a lieutenant.

“He loved his job,” Michelle Beauchene said. “He would get to work a half hour early every day.”

rsmith@tribtoday.com

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