For­mer Adams County Fire Pro­tec­tion District Chief Jim No­tary dies at 68

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Natalie We­ber

When Jim No­tary be­came a fire­fighter in the mid-1970s, he no­ticed his depart­ment lacked train­ing. Af­ter alert­ing an as­sis­tant fire chief, he was tasked with lead­ing depart­ment train­ing. Ul­ti­mately, his work led him across the state as he be­came known as a pi­o­neer for fire safety.

James “Jim” No­tary died of can­cer on June 5. He was 68.

No­tary spent 37 years in the Adams County Fire Pro­tec­tion District, formerly known as the North Wash­ing­ton Fire Pro­tec­tion District, in­clud­ing 15 years as chief.

Tasked with train­ing his depart­ment, No­tary built and de­signed mazes that sim­u­lated real-life fire­fight­ing si­t­u­a­tions.

He trav­eled across the state, us­ing the mazes to teach fire­fight­ers about con­di­tions they might en­counter on the job.

“We would re­ceive many let­ters from fire­fight­ers in the state say­ing that the maze had saved their life be­cause they had used what we taught them in the maze,” Adams County Fire Chief Pa­trick Lau­ri­enti said.

No­tary also pro­moted pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion whether it was teach­ing CPR at the fire sta­tion or us­ing pup­pets to teach chil­dren about fire safety at area schools, Lau­ri­enti said.

As tes­ta­ment to No­tary’s im­pact, the depart­ment’s train­ing cen­ter and main­te­nance fa­cil­ity is named for him. The depart­ment’s train­ing tower — nick­named “Rocco’s Kitchen” — also claims No­tary as its name­sake.

“He had an al­ter ego named ‘Rocco,’ ” No­tary’s sis­ter San­dra Danne said. “He would kind of do this skit where he was a chef and he would put on his best Ital­ian ac­cent and pre­tend to be cook­ing some­thing to­tally ined­i­ble.”

Al­ways will­ing to lend an ear, No­tary was a men­tor to many, said his daugh­ter Ter­rie Bridge.

“He was al­ways so pos­i­tive and so many peo­ple con­sider him their best friend,” she said. “So he didn’t have one best friend — he had like 400.”

Fam­ily was No­tary’s top pri­or­ity, his son Ryan said.

“Even though he achieved a lot, he was very hum­ble and never for­got what his roots were,” Ryan No­tary said. “Even though he was chief of an up-and­com­ing depart­ment, he al­ways put fam­ily first and re­mained hum­ble.”

He showed that com­mit­ment through his ded­i­ca­tion to at­tend­ing his kids’ sports games, said No­tary’s son Brian.

“He was al­ways there,” Brian said. “Even though, be­ing a fire­fighter, he worked a 24-hour shift, it didn’t mat­ter — he made every foot­ball game, whether he was at work or not.”

No­tary also served as a role model for his sib­lings, Danne said.

She re­called look­ing to her older brother as the pa­tri­arch of their fam­ily af­ter their fa­ther’s death.

“Even as a kid, he was the leader,” she said. “He kept my brother and I in line. He was the babysit­ter and just (was) so com­pas­sion­ate from when we were young.”

Lau­ri­enti said No­tary also served as a fa­ther fig­ure in the fire depart­ment.

“He was known as ‘Dad’ at the fire­house, and I con­sider him my sec­ond dad,” Lau­ri­enti said. “We were all just a bunch of kids and he was just try­ing to keep us in line.”

No­tary is sur­vived by his wife, Linda; his sib­lings, San­dra Danne and John No­tary; his four chil­dren, Ter­rie Bridge, Kelly Fitzpatrick, Brian No­tary and Ryan No­tary; and 10 grand­chil­dren and 11 great­grand­chil­dren.

His ser­vice will be held at 10 a.m. Fri­day at the Denver Mart pavil­ion, 451 E. 58th Ave.

A re­cep­tion will be held im­me­di­ately af­ter the ser­vice.

In lieu of flow­ers, do­na­tions may be made to the UCHealth Burn Fund and Child Res­cue Inc.

Jim No­tary de­signed and built mazes that sim­u­lated real-life fire­fight­ing si­t­u­a­tions.

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