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A True Loss

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  • A True Loss

    Monday could have been the day. At 12:15 AM, the pager sounded and we began the day with yet another arson fire. After more than 20 years, I sometimes find these calls similar, but never exactly the same. One thing that never changes for all the officers in our department is the safety of our crews is first and foremost.

    The morning seemed as if it were determined to see how much it could throw at us before we cracked. In the middle of the first fire, the pager sounds and yet another arson fire was beckoning our attention. As we scramble to respond and still handle the first event, we send two trucks and ask for assistance from another department. A home was saved, a garage was lost and before the last drop of water was sprayed, the unthinkable happens . . . a third house fire is reported. We manage again to send crews from our department, the assisting department and again summoned assistance from yet another neighboring department.

    After several hours, our crews from the first fire returned to the station for the required work to be ready to respond to the next call. We had no idea it laid only minutes ahead. The fourth fire, (which also appears to have been arson), was reported and once again we responded to do the job. By days end, more than 30 firefighters from 3 departments had tallied more than 12 hours doing a job as physically demanding as any job I know. During our final clean up, we worked and talked and appeared to have been so tired we laughed at jokes that were not that funny. All things considered, it had still been a good day, we all returned to our stations safely. Our stations are more or less our safe haven, most of the dangers we face are either responding to or from or while actually working an incident. This safe haven theory is something I have shared with our officers and those in other county departments. Little did I know, this theory would be proven false in just a few short days.

    On Wednesday, like many times before, we were paged to respond. This time it was a truck fire on the mountain. Our crews did their job and returned to the station, (our safe haven). The truck is filled and cleaned, the hose is being rolled and we are packing things up. In a split second, one firefighter is fatally wounded, one is injured and another is mentally in shambles from what had just occurred.

    This was not possible, this has occurred in our safe area and we are all left trying to understand why. We accept the dangers we face inside a burning building, inside a wrecked vehicle upside down in the creek or in the middle of floodwaters, but we never thought this was possible. I am writing now, in part, to be sure the people of Boone County understand there are hundreds out there just like our brothers, an injured Jr. Firefighter Nicholas Cornell and Firefighter Barry D. Lutsy, who made the ultimate sacrifice. All we ask in return is the respect deserved of the job. You will not find us approaching anyone asking for a pay raise, we accept there is no monetary pay for the job. We do ask that you support us at levy elections and a simple thank you to your local department means more than you realize.

    Barry D. Lutsy, of Ashford, joined the Racine Vol. Fire Dept. in 1975. Over the years, he has proven to be a dedicated member of an agency he truly loved. He was like many of you reading this now: a loving husband, father, son, brother and a true friend. He recently brought his sons into the Racine VFD Family and in short order they have proven like their father, they too have “THE RIGHT STUFF”.

    We would truly like to thank the public, the hundreds of members of fire departments, EMS and Law Enforcement agencies, various state agencies and numerous churches who have offered prayers, assistance or just a kind word to the Lutsy family and our department during this time of great mourning. Your kindness is appreciated more than you can know.

    My primary reason for writing is in a very small way to try to illustrate what a true loss we have all actually suffered. I think this letter should end with a paragraph that is Barry’s own words and may provide insight into the reason he was loved by so many. These words come from a statement we ask our members to write on an updated personnel form.

    “I’ve always tried to help others that needed help, to administer first aid or try to save things precious to them. The department as a whole did this for many when I was a part of your department before. I was very proud of the department and of the firefighters in which I trusted and depended upon when we were fighting a fire. Thanks for allowing me to be a part of the department again”. - - Barry D. Lutsy


    Archie E. Hubbard
    Racine VFD

  • #2
    Chief, sorry to hear about your loss.
    The comments made by me are my opinions only. They DO NOT reflect the opinions of my employer(s). If you have an issue with something I may say, take it up with me, either by posting in the forums, emailing me through my profile, or PMing me through my profile.
    We are all adults so there is no need to act like a child........


    • #3
      .....I don't even know what to say......

      God Bless You All.
      I.A.C.O.J. Charter Member
      "Chet, get an inch and a half on that!"

      "Not for fame or reward,Not for place or rank. Not lured by ambition or goaded by necessity. But in simple obedience to duty as they understood it. These men suffered,sacrificed,dared all, and died. Let us never forget our fallen friends."


      • #4


        • #5
          Sorry for your loss, it appears you may be new to the forums and we are pretty much here for each other. I am glad you posted and FF from all over share a piece of your loss. If anyone here can assit you further please let us know.
          IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
          Pardon me sir.. .....but I believe we are all over here !
          ATTENTION ALL SHOPPERS: Will the dead horse please report to the forums.(thanks Motown)
          RAY WAS HERE 08/28/05
          LETHA' FOREVA' ! 010607
          I'm sorry, I haven't been paying much attention for the last 3 hours.....what were we discussing?
          "but I guarentee you I will FF your arse off" from>
          http://www.firehouse.com/forums/show...60#post1137060post 115


          • #6
            Chief, My deepest condolences to you sir on your loss. My thoughts and prayers go out to you, the Racine VFD and the family of Barry Lutsy on your loss.
            My thoughts and prayers go out to Firefighter Nicholas Cornell that he has a full and speedy recovery. My heart aches for all of you.



            • #7
              Chief, i know no words can make everything better, but please except my condolences and may our fellow brother live on forever...
              NYS FF1/AEMT-CC
              IAEP Local 152
              "You stopped being in charge when I showed up"


              • #8
                We're all with you and your Department, Chief.
                "The uniform is supposed to say something about you. You get it for nothing, but it comes with a history, so do the right thing when you're in it."
                Battalion Chief Ed Schoales
                from 'Report from Ground Zero' pg 149
                I.A.C.O.J. Member


                • #9
                  I offer my deepest sympathies and condolences to the Fire Department and the members of our fallen brother's family.
                  09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
                  IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
                  "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
                  BMI Investigator
                  The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.


                  • #10
                    NYS FF1/AEMT-CC
                    IAEP Local 152
                    "You stopped being in charge when I showed up"


                    • #11
                      A final thought

                      Your words are the very thing that makes the fraternal nature of this business unbelievable. To those on the outside, they cannot understand the bond that crosses territorial lines and exists between complete strangers.

                      I feel compelled to inform you that Barry Lutsy's sons both came, (as usual), to our weekly meeting and participated in the delicate recap of the previous weeks events. I have informed them and their Mother of the outpouring of concern and respect that has been illustrated by the hundreds just like those of you posting here. During our observation of a moment of silence, we were interrupted by a tone to respond to an auto accident with entrapment and I feel certain that Barry was looking down on both of them quite proud.

                      Please note our acknowledgement of your thoughts and prayers and accept our sincere gratitude.

                      Archie E. Hubbard
                      Racine VFD


                      • #12
                        I too, would like to express my sincere condolences to the Lutsy family and the entire firefighting community, in and around the Racine VFD. My prayers also go out to the injured firefighter...and the driver who is suffering at this time.

                        Chief, your loss is felt by the entire brotherhood of firefighters around our great country.

                        Archie....I know it is very early, however, keep us posted on any details that you think would help all of us prevent a repeat of this in their "safe havens."

                        God bless!

                        Ed Seifert
                        Oakland, NJ
                        Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
                        Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

                        *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
                        On the web at www.section2wildfire.com


                        • #13
                          I too would like to send the condolences of myself and Lewiston Fire Co. No. 2 to the Lutsy family and the Racine VFD. And my prayers go out to all involved.

                          I also would like to echo the brother from NJ, please pass along any information as you see fit so that we may prevent any other occurances.
                          Shawn M. Cecula
                          IACOJ Division of Fire and EMS


                          • #14
                            Chief, rest assured that our thoughts and prayers are with you and your department as you work through this difficult time.
                            Chris Minick, P.E., Firefighter II
                            Structures Specialist, MD-TF 1

                            These statements are mine and mine alone
                            I.A.C.O.J. Building crust and proud of it


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