Com­mu­nity pays homage to fallen fire po­lice cap­tain

The Advance of Bucks County - - BRISTOL AREA - By El­iz­a­beth Fisher

Ad­vance cor­re­spon­dent

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.

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