This week on April 10th the District remembers a former member lost in 2007, retired Chief Phillip S. Hurtubise.

This week on April 10th the District remembers a former member lost in 2007, retired Chief Phillip S. Hurtubise. Chief Hurtubise suffered a stroke on January 26, 1999 while on duty driving across the river bridge on Highway 54. At the time of the incident Chief Hurtubise had 35 years of service with the Fire District.

As I remember back to those days with Chief, I have nothing but great memories. I was lucky enough to have spent 10 years at the start of my career with him as my mentor. His stories of the old days, the fires that defined his career and this department, and his cranky demeanor on the scene have not been forgotten.

I remember after first being hired I was assigned to Captain Smith’s crew on A-Shift. There were a couple of things as a “rookie” Captain Smith made part of my duties. First was always to have a pen in my possession in the event he needed one and second, and most important, was to find out what Chief Hurtubise wanted on the fire scene.

In 1998 I took a promotion to Captain and was transferred to Station 1, where Chief Hurtubise’s office was located. At this time Chief Hurtubise was the Fire Marshal in charge of Code Enforcement and Investigations for the District. My favorite memories were coming in early on my shift days and having coffee and listening to these stories he would tell. His knowledge of fire tactics and department history were second to no one and those informal conversations would help me define my career and my views on what a Fire District should represent to the public we serve. Chief Hurtubise was not an easy person to get to know and he may have rubbed many people the wrong way, but if you took the time to see through that rough exterior he was a very kind and caring individual.

On January 26 of 1999 Chief Hurtubise suffered his career ending stroke. Due to the intervention of four individuals Phil survived this incident. Suzanne Feran, Renda Fisher, Sue Hunt and Carolyn Pryor immediately stopped to render assistance to Chief. Being a period of time before cell phones were popular they utilized the radio in the staff car to call for assistance. The State of Missouri Division of Fire Safety and the Board of Directors recognized their efforts and presented each with a Resolution for their intervention.

On April 19, 2008 the Fire District recognized Chief Hurtubise’s service by dedicating Fire Station 1 on Bluff Drive in his memory. Those who had the honor of serving with Chief Hurtubise remember you today and thank you for your service and dedication. Gone yet not forgotten.