First responder retires

By Michael Stavola
Hutchinson News – June 5, 2017

Photo by Michael Stavola

Capt. Timothy Pitts presumably will take his last ride on a Hutchinson fire engine this morning.

It’s a Hutchinson Fire Department tradition to bring retirees home on the engine after their last shift. Along his 28-year career in Reno County, Pitts has trained thousands of first responders and collected even more patches from fire departments in different states and countries.

“I write or when I’m on vacation stop in and trade (patches),” Pitts said. “The last count was about 7,600.”

A 1990 article in The News, roughly one year after Pitts joined Reno County District Fire No. 2, said Pitts had 290 patches. He now has patches representing every state and 36 other countries.

His passion to collect patches is an extension of his love for firefighting. And pinpointing his first love is easy. As a young boy, Pitts became enthralled with the 1970s TV show “Emergency!” In particular, Pitts was fascinated by Randolph Mantooth’s character, John Gage, who was a paramedic assigned to Squad 51 of the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

The show came on at 4 p.m. on NBC, Pitts recalled.

“Don’t ask me how I remember that,” he said.

As a high school sophomore, Pitts left Hutchinson and went to Woodland Park, Colorado, where he joined a fire district at age 17. In 1989, he took a job at Reno County Fire District No. 2, which later became the HFD.

Pitts continued his education and received his paramedic certification through Hutchinson Community College. He has also taught thousands of first responders through the HCC Fire Science program.

“Tim (Pitts) is a guy that always, always loved being a firefighter and paramedic,” said Jason Holland, an HCC Fire Science instructor and former HFD chief of training. “He’s very passionate about what kind of impact he could make on fire services.”

Pitts became a captain in 2006. Along the way, he also became “pretty good friends” with his idol, Mantooth. The two met through the actor’s advocacy for first responders.

The 50-year-old said he has no immediate plans, but will likely continue teaching at HCC.

“On behalf of HFD and the community … it is my honor to say thank you for your service and dedication,” Fire Chief Steven Beer said at a ceremony Friday.


Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
KSFFA’s Fire News Blog Home Page

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