Community pays homage to fallen fire police captain
BRISTOL BOROUdH - With solemn pageantry and high tribute, firefighters from a dozen local companies gathered June 14 with family members, friends and borough residents to honor and remember Fire Police Captain David Wintz, who died in the line of duty a year ago.
A bagpiper led a procession comprised of 50 firefighters and other emergency workers and a U.S. Marine color guard from Wintz’s home station, Station 51, at Wood and Market streets, to the Consolidated Fire Company at Pond and Mulberry streets.
About 100 family members and friends of Wintz, several borough officials, and citizens of the borough, stood in silence as a curtain of rain swept aside, dark clouds scattered and a setting sun cast a soft glow onto the scene.
“This is a wonderful celebration of my brother’s life, a life dedicated to the fire department,” said Wintz’s sister, Frances Barrett, of Langhorne, as she watched the fire fighters line up in front of the firehouse.
The highlight of the one-hour ceremony was the unveiling of a monument to Bris- tol’s fallen first responders, newly engraved with Wintz’s name. Wintz was the fourth borough firefighter to lose his life in the line of duty since 1915.
Wintz, a 50-year veteran of the fire service, died May 15, 2012, of a massive heart attack after falling ill at the scene of a major explosion and fire at the Dow Chemical plant in Bristol Township. Wintz had been directing traffic away from the scene when he fell ill.
Rescue personnel responded to his home but were unable to save him. He left behind his wife, Helen, and five children: Sueann Wintz-driscavage, David Wintz Jr., Sandra Hill-Wintz, Daniel Wintz, and Tammy Benton Cason.
David, Daniel, and Sueann followed in their father’s footsteps as firefighters. David is a member of the Vorhees, N.J. Fire District; Daniel belongs to the Pasco County, Fla. Fire Rescue Department; and Sueann is a member of Bristol’s Fire Company No. 1.
“This is an empty feeling with him not here, but it is good to see so many people here showing respect for a public servant,” Daniel said.
Several dignitaries spoke during the ceremony, including State Rep. John dallo- way, who stressed the need for citizens to express their thanks for people like Wintz, who risk their lives every day to preserve life and property. Mayor Robert Lebo remembered Wintz as a man who was “the type that, if you needed him, he was there.”
Councilwoman Robyn Trunell, who knew Wintz, recalled that Wintz, once recovering from a health scare, listed for her his priorities in his life, starting with family, then his town, and, finally, the firefighters and fire police with whom he served.
“He was a quiet and decent man who always did what he was supposed to do: keep us all safe,” Trunell said.
In his tribute, borough Fire Chief Herb Slack recalled Wintz’s sense of commitment that Slack said, set an example for all with whom he came in contact.
“Dave had a passion for his work with the fire services,” Slack said.
The ceremony was particularly poignant for Wintz’s widow, Helen, who traveled to Bristol from her home in Florida for the ceremony.
“This means a lot to me. This is what Dave would have wanted, considering all the years he put in, all the hard work. It just means a lot that he’s being honored like this,” Helen said.
David Wintz’s name is unveiled on a monument memorializing the town’s fallen first responders.
A bagpiper leads a procession of firefighters.
State Rep. John Galloway
David and Daniel Wintz talk about their dad.
Bristol Borough Councilwoman Robyn Trunell.