GREENVILLE - Family and friends said a final goodbye Friday to a Dallas firefighter who died in the line of duty.
On Sunday, Lt. Todd Krodle, 41, fell to his death while chopping a ventilation hole through an apartment building's roof as Dallas Fire-Rescue crews worked to extinguish a fire.
It was an emotional tribute with heartfelt goodbyes for the man known as a practical joker and dedicated firefighter.
An estimated 2,000 people packed the inside and outside of Highland Terrace Baptist Church in Greenville at 10 a.m. to say their final goodbye. Most of them were firefighters from as far away as San Antonio and Oklahoma. Because of the number of people in attendance, some firefighters, wearing their dress uniforms, sat outside under tents.
"That just speaks to the brotherhood that the firefighter has," Jason Evans, Dallas Fire-Rescue. "You don’t need to know someone personally to know that if they lay their life on the line for someone they didn’t know, then you share that same common mission."
Those who knew him well, honored Krodle’s love of a good practical joker.
“He always got that mischievous look in his eye," one mourner said. "A rye grin would come across his face and you knew something was about to happen to somebody, you just didn’t know who.”
He was also known as a family man.
“He was an outstanding person, an outstanding father," said Rodney Young, a fellow firefighter. ”I just know he loved his kids so much; it hurts me that they will not experience growing up with him around.”
The lieutenant's body was loaded onto Engine 26, which was from his station, and taken to Memoryland Memorial Park for burial.
Krodle leaves behind a wife and two children.
Those who would like to make a donation to Krodle's family can do so at the City Credit Union at 7474 Ferguson Road; Dallas, Tx. 75228. Deposits should be made to the Fallen Firefighters account.