Doylestown Fire Company Offers Condolences on Downed Fire Officer
"Any time anybody who does what we do goes down in the line, we all feel it."
The Doylestown Fire Company on Wednesday joined other area firehouses in offering condolences on the death of a longtime Bristol "brother."
Dave Wintz, 63, was a fire police officer and had been helping direct traffic at the scene of the Dow Chemical fire early Wednesday morning. He started feeling sick, and went home, where he had a heart attack and died a short time later.
His death affected members of the Doylestown Fire Company, even ones who didn't know him personally.
"This is a great loss for everybody," Denny Loux Sr. told Doylestown Patch on Wednesday. "To volunteer a big portion of your life and have this happen is sad."
Fire police control crowds and direct traffic at fire scenes and generally help manage the scene, Loux said. Pennsylvania is one of only about 13 states that have pire police, he said.
Many firefighters who decide they no longer want to actively battle blazes will become fire police, said Loux, who has been a member of the Doylestown company for 25 years and the Plumsteadville company for 11 years before that.
Wintz death was sobering, Loux said.
"I had a triple bypass. It makes you stop and think and you don’t rush as much as you did one time when you were younger," he said.
The Doylestown company was one of several who reached out to their Bristol counterparts Wednesday on social media. Doylestown posted a message on its Facebook page and its Twitter stream to publicly acknowledge the Bucks County fire community's loss.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends, and the members of Station 51. Rest in Peace Dave, thanks for your service."
Doylestown firefighter Larry Browne, who posted the message, said he didn't know Wintz personally but wanted to show his respect for his fallen brother.
"Any time anybody who does what we do goes down in the line, we all feel it," Browne said. "It comes from the brotherhood of doing the same thing for so many years. We stick together."
Wintz was a fire police captain with the Bristol Fire Co. Station 51. The company posted several photos of Wintz working past scenes on its Facebook page, where friends and associates were sharing memories and condolences.
The blaze at the Dow Chemical plant in Bristol started around 3:30 a.m. after a lightning strike sparked a fire in two 250,000-pound storage tanks. The tanks held ethyl acrylate and butyl acrylate, flammable chemicals used in manufacturing.
Firefighters had the blaze under control by about 7 a.m., but officials remained on the scene until about noon. An acrid odor from the chemical vapors could be smelled throughout the area.