Former Kentucky gubernatorial candidate Tom Emberton died Thursday after saving his wife from a fire that engulfed their home, according to multiple local reports.
Emberton, 90, a retired judge, heroically rescued his wife when their home burst into flames around 3:30 a.m. on Thursday, Edmonton, Canada, Mayor Doug Smith told WBKO. Emberton then went back into his home to try and put out the fire, but tragically lost his life.
The couple had been together for 65 years, had two children, and five grandchildren, the New York Post reported. The fire was ruled accidental, according to CBS News.
Absolutely tragic. Former Kentucky Court of Appeals Judge Tom Emberton died in a house fire today in Edmonton. The mayor tells us that Tom heroically saved his wife Julia but lost his life during his effort to save their home. pic.twitter.com/YwxwJKk3yn
— kellydeannews (@kellydeannews) October 20, 2022
“Tom was just the greatest guy in the world to be around. He was infectious to everybody,” Smith continued in his statement about his long-time fishing buddy. “He had a way about him that was really special.” Emberton ran for governor of Kentucky in 1971, and was later appointed to the state’s Court of Appeals in 1987 before retiring in 2004, the New York Post continued.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell served on Emberton’s gubernatorial campaign.
“Tom gave me one of my earliest experiences in the rough and tumble reality of political campaigning, hiring me to work on his 1971 gubernatorial campaign,” McConnell said in a statement. “He taught me valuable lessons on public service and running as a statewide Republican in Kentucky.” (RELATED: Kentucky Derby-Winning Horse Goes On Attack, Gets Punched In Face)
“Tom advocated for conservative values across our state and played a key role in organizing Kentucky Republicans at every level, paving the way for me and so many other conservatives to follow in his footsteps,” McConnell continued.