Pa. firefighter friends die of COVID-19 within weeks of each other

Edward F. Hine and Chief Emeritus Lee Witman of the Colonial Park Fire Co. both played critical roles in the department’s fire prevention and education programming


Jenna Wise
pennlive.com

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP, Pa. — Best friends who served for decades as firefighters in Lower Paxton Township have now both died of the coronavirus, their department announced Tuesday.

Edward F. Hine dedicated 55 years of his life to the Colonial Park Fire Co. He joined the department Sept. 1, 1966 at the age of 25, and filled various administrative and educational positions until his death last Wednesday.

Hine was close friends with Chief Emeritus Lee Witman, whose own death from the coronavirus was announced less than two weeks ago. Both men played critical roles in the success of the department’s fire prevention and education programming.

“Ed Hine and Lee Witman were best of friends for decades at the Colonial Park Fire Company and both are irreplaceable in their dedication, service, and passion they’ve had for the constant success of the organization,” current Chief John Fogg said. “Losing them both has been heartbreaking. Knowing they’re together is comforting.”

Edward F. Hine (left) and Chief Emeritus Lee Witman were best friends who served for decades as firefighters in Lower Paxton Township.
Edward F. Hine (left) and Chief Emeritus Lee Witman were best friends who served for decades as firefighters in Lower Paxton Township. (Photos/Colonial Park Fire Co.)

Hine was the sitting president of the Colonial Park Fire Co. from 1970 to 1987. He continued to serve on department committees after his retirement, and regularly volunteered at the American Legion.

He was also a retired shop teacher who spent years teaching children trade skills.

“The last week has been extremely difficult for the Colonial Park Fire Company, losing two icons of the firehouse and local fire service less than a week apart. In total, the Colonial Park Fire Company lost over 120 years of dedication, service, and experience,” Fogg said. “Please keep Ed’s wife Katysue, his friends and family, and his extended firehouse family in your thoughts and prayers into the new year as they deal with the loss of two very special men who were best of friends.”

READ MORE: Retired Dauphin County fire chief dies of COVID-19

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(c)2020 The Patriot-News (Harrisburg, Pa.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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