Memorial honors fallen Ohio firefighter, first responders

A special flagpole was dedicated to Patrick Wolterman and all first responders in the county


By Wayne Baker
Journal-News

HAMILTON, Ohio — Members of law enforcement, EMS crews and the community turned out Wednesday afternoon at Fort Hamilton Hospital to witness the dedication of a 25-foot Public Safety Memorial Flagpole in honor of fallen Hamilton firefighter Patrick Wolterman and all Butler County fire, EMS and law enforcement officers, living and deceased.

Wolterman died from injuries sustained while fighting a house fire in December 2015, which the Butler County Coroner later ruled a homicide.

He was taken to Fort Hamilton Hospital after fighting the blaze and died from injuries sustained in the house on Pater Avenue where he and his fellow firefighters were battling the fire. The investigation into his death is still ongoing.

Public Safety Director Scott Scrimizzi said the night of Wolterman’s death will always stick with him, but it is a reality the community must remember — that women and men who serve as firefighters and in law enforcement are always ready to put their lives on the line to serve the public.

“I have always had a very deep respect for the Hamilton Fire Department,” Scrimizzi told those gathered outside the hospital at 630 Eaton Ave. for the ceremony. “Having worked the street the majority of my career, I witnessed on a daily basis these great men and women saving lives and property. Some of my very best friends were Hamilton firefighters.”

“When others are running from chaos and mayhem, public safety heroes are running into the bowels of danger,” he said.

Tony Harris, president of the IAFF Local 20, which represents Hamilton firefighters, said he was moved by the ceremony and the way the city has rallied behind its firefighters.

“Local 20 and its firefighters are very appreciative of this memorial for our Brother Patrick Wolterman and all first responders,” Harris said. “I am sure that every time we go into Fort Hamilton Hospital we will see it and remember him. We are very thankful for our friends at Fort Hamilton and the Kettering Network and all others that sponsored this.”

Fort Hamilton’s EMS Coordinator Jennifer Mason said the memorial was inspired by the Hamilton firefighter’s death.

“The spark was when Patrick Wolterman died — we felt with him being our friend and co-worker we had to do something,” Mason said. “We did a lot of fundraising and it wasn’t an inexpensive project but everybody came forward and we got it done. I feel incredibly blessed by the turnout today.”

The memorial is located near the hospital’s Emergency Department ambulance entrance.

Mayor Patrick Moeller, who attended the dedication ceremony, said the memorial will be a fitting tribute to the city’s emergency responders.

“The service, flag, and flagpole represent the great partnership among Fort Hamilton Hospital, City of Hamilton, and Butler County first responders,” Moeller said. “The flag is a fitting tribute to those heroic people, including firefighters, EMT staff, police personnel, and military personnel, who live and work for a higher purpose. Firefighter Patrick Wolterman fits that heroic standard.”

Members of the Wolterman family, including Patrick’s widow Bre, were at Wednesday’s memorial dedication. Fire Chief Steve Dawson said Patrick Wolterman is the 11th Hamilton firefighter to die in the line of duty.

Butler County Coroner Dr. Lisa Mannix determined smoke inhalation as the cause of Wolterman’s death and ruled it a homicide.

Police are still investigating the house fire, which has been ruled an arson.

Copyright 2016 the Journal-News

McClatchy-Tribune News Service
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