B.C. man killed in logging accident ‘would have done anything for anyone’

Wife remembers 43-year old Petr Koncek, father of two children

Chloë Koncek, Fleure Koncek, Petr Koncek and Dominick Koncek often spent time outdoors together hiking, fishing or taking their dogs on a walk. (Contributed photo)

As the vibrations and rustling of a fallen tree quieted against the forest floor, Petr Koncek heard chirping amid the hushed quiet.

He searched through the tangled branches near the top of the fallen tree he had just cut and saw the nest of surviving little birds calling out for their mom.

“So he picked up the nest and climbed another tree that he knew was safe from being cut, and gently placed the nest and its little birds into the branches of this other tree,” says his wife, Fleure Koncek. With 20 years experience in the logging industry, Petr loved what he did and he did it well, she says.

“He had the utmost respect for the forest. He just always made sure that the animals that were living there were protected the best that he could — every life was valuable.”

The 46-year-old Terrace man was killed in a logging accident down the Douglas Channel near Eagle Bay on April 18 after being struck by a falling tree.

READ MORE: Terrace man killed in Douglas Channel logging accident

According to WorkSafe BC, Petr was falling on the forest road right-of-way when he was struck by a tree felled by another faller. Fleure says it’s likely Petr didn’t see it coming.

“Safety and quality were his two priorities at work, so its very frustrating that he was so safe and this happened to him,” she says.

WorkSafe BC considers manual tree falling is one of the most dangerous professions in the province. Petr’s death was the second out of three harvesting fatalities recorded this year, according to BC Forest Safety Council.

Fleure knew the dangers of the profession all too well, and often asked Petr to stop because of the risk. But every morning he would leave, and every morning she would tell him to be safe, and that she loved him.

“That morning [on April 18], I did tell him that. I’m so grateful that I got to say those last words to him,” she says.

Petr was born in the Czech Republic and enlisted as a soldier in the Czech Republic Army. He then worked as a peacekeeper during the war in Yugoslavia for a year, where he experienced immense human tragedy, Fleure says.

Tired of war, Petr decided to pursue his dream of travelling in Canada and organized a trip to see the country’s vast mountain landscape.

He met Fleure during a trip to Haida Gwaii and they settled in Terrace for Petr’s work.

Though he was passionate about forestry, family always came first for Petr. They have two children together, 20-year old Dominick and 12-year old Chloë. The family would often take their three dogs for a walk, or spend the day hiking and fishing together.

While Fleure describes herself as more of the family’s “drill sergeant,” Petr was the fun-loving father with a curious mind.

“He was a great dad. I could not have asked for a better husband or a better father for my children,” she says.

Coping with Petr’s death has been devastating for Fleure and her family. Their grieving was compounded when two of their dogs died within three weeks after the accident. The youngest dog, who had the closest relationship with Petr, passed away on the same day as his celebration of life.

“My kids are really completely devastated with this. The loss of those dogs was so hard, but the pain that I feel from losing Petr just overrides everything.”

READ MORE: Sande Overpass open after delays caused by tipped logging truck

Fleure feels she has to be strong for her children, but feels it’s important for them to see her grieve too.

“I think you need to show your kids that it’s okay to cry, and it’s okay to be mad. It’s okay to just talk about it. We can’t pretend like he’s not there and didn’t exist, that’s not giving him the justice he needs,” she says.

Seeing the support of her friends, family, and residents in the community has made a huge difference, she says. An online Facebook auction was set up to raise money for the Koncek family. They’ve also received cards, fruit baskets, flowers, and other gifts, with others jumping in to help Fleure with household chores, cooking, or just to keep her company.

“We are so grateful for everything that everyone has done for us, from our closest friends to complete strangers. I told them the words thank you do not justify how thankful we are,” she says.

“[Terrace] has become my home, there’s no more doubts in my mind. This is where I want to be.”

Learning to live without Petr, after 23 years of marriage, will be a slow process for herself and her two children, Fleure says. But she is glad to know his kind, gentle spirit made an impact wherever he went.

“People that I didn’t know Petr knew, all knew how he was. That’s when I realized he wasn’t just like this with us, he was like this with everyone he met. Nobody’s perfect, but he was pretty near perfect.”


 


brittany@terracestandard.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Traffic delays: Saturday work added to Highway 1 construction schedule

Work continues on dangerous stretch between Leigh Road and West Shore Parkway

VIDEO: James Bay wolf released into wild of western Vancouver Island

Conservation officers confirm wolf is from Discovery Island

Canadian Tire Fix-A-Heart campaign raises more than $75,000 for Royal Jubilee Hospital

Donations will help purchase infusion pumps for cardiac care units

Supreme Court bans Victoria man from practising law

Jeremy Maddock received a law degree in 2016 but never completed articling

Victoria shops avoid plastic bags, despite bylaw being voided

The city is working on getting the bylaw re-established

VIDEO: Driver guilty in Saanich crash that left 11-year-old with catastrophic brain injuries

North Saanich woman convicted on one count of dangerous driving causing bodily harm

First-place Canucks beat Blues 3-1 for ninth straight home win

Miller nets pair as Vancouver defeats Cup champs

Swapping grape varieties can help winemakers adapt to climate change: UBC study

Report says 56% of wine-grape-growing regions would be lost if global climate warms by 2 C

Alberta premier wants feds to approve Teck mine for benefit of First Nations

Kenney: ‘Surely [reconciliation] means saying yes to economic development for First Nations people’

Filming for Resident Alien begins in Ladysmith

Aliens and excitement take over the streets of Ladysmith during new TV series

NDP suggests easing secondary housing rules for B.C. farmland

Lana Popham proposes guest homes not just for relatives

After four sexual assaults in the same B.C. park, RCMP ask women not to walk alone

Four sexual assaults took place in Glen Park over two months

Most Read