Commissioners Host Bucks County Fallen Firefighter Memorial, Honor Bristol Fire Police Cpt. David A. Wintz
On a crystal blue early fall morning, the Bucks County Commissioners joined the Bucks County Fire Chiefs’ and Firefighter’s Association Sept. 30 to honor the 23 members of the county firefighting community who have lost their lives in the line of duty since 1915. This year’s Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service was particularly poignant as it paid tribute to Bristol Fire Company No. 1, Station 51 Fire Police Captain David A. Wintz, who made the ultimate sacrifice to the “residents and property” he had been sworn to protect on May 16, 2012.
Cpt. Wintz’s name was added to the granite memorial in the Bucks County Courthouse Memorial Courtyard. On hand to share in that unveiling were his wife, Helen, his children, his grandchildren and one great grandchild. His son, David A. Wintz, Jr., tolled the bell for Bucks County’s fallen firefighters as their names were read and the Loch Rannoch Pipes and Drums unit played in the background.
The event featured a procession of uniformed first responders up Main St. and into the courtyard, an invocation by Chaplain Lynn Kirkner of the Hartsville Fire Company, presentation of colors by the Midway Volunteer Fire Company Honor Guard, and keynote remarks by Paul Kreuter, president of the Bucks County Fire Chiefs’ and Firefighter’s Association, Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick and Commissioner Diane M. Ellis-Marseglia. State Representatives Kathy Watson and Frank Farry presented a Commonwealth of Pennsylvania citation to Capt. Wintz’s family members.
Commissioner Marseglia spoke of the commitment and sacrifice that is made by members of the fire service, noting in particular statistics indicating the risk of heart attack that is much higher among the first-response community. Congressman Fitzpatrick told the gathering he had known Captain Wintz, adding a recitation of remarks made on the floor of U.S. House of Representatives in the days following his passing. “His noble death was befitting of his heroic life,” the congressman stated.
The annual ceremony concluded with the laying of red roses and white carnations on the four-sided memorial, which is located near the point of E. Court and Main streets in Doylestown Borough.
David A. Wintz, Sr., was born on September 28, 1946 in Philadelphia. He started his volunteer fire service at age 16, before graduating from Neshaminy High School. He served in the United States Navy and as a firefighter at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. His commitment to fire service spanned five decades. In the early morning of May 16, 2012, a lightning strike caused multiple explosions and fire at the Dow Chemical Plant in Bristol Township. Bristol Fire Company Station 51 was one of multiple companies called to the scene. While directing traffic, Capt. Wintz began to feel ill. He suffered cardiac arrest and was rushed to Lower Bucks Hospital, where he later passed away. He is the third member of the Bristol company to perish in the line of duty over the last 150-plus years.