Local Firefighters Prepare to Honor a Fallen Responder
Randy Hiti Died While Responding to Emergency
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Volunteer firefighters with the Rice Lake Fire Department always wash their trucks but this time the mood is somber.
“We’re getting the trucks ready for a ceremonial procession for fallen firefighter Randy Hiti,” Rice Lake Fire Department Chief Scott Twining said.
Hiti, 57-years-old, was a 26 year veteran with the Rice Lake Fire Department.
“Just last year we had 200 calls and Randy responded to over 90% of our calls that we had,” said Twining.
As his fellow firefighters detail the engines they tell FOX 21 Hiti had a heart of gold.
He was a mechanic who was very active in the community.
“It was just in him,” Rice Lake Fire Department Second Assistant Chief Tim Isaacson said. “He couldn’t pass by somebody if he thought they were having trouble or whatever. “He’d have to stop and make sure everything was going good.”
“He would go to the Homecroft School here and teach kids fire safety,” said Twining.
On the 18th of February Hiti, like he had done many times before, was on his way to respond to a drug overdose but never made it.
“His family went to check on him and found him collapsed in his garage,” said Twining.
The same firefighters Hiti worked with and befriended were dispatched to save him.
“It’s like you can’t get there fast enough,” said Isaacson.
For an hour they tried to breathe life into him.
“We started CPR, put on a Defib,” said Isaacson.
Hiti was pronounced dead.
“We did everything we could it just didn’t work,” said Isaacson. “It was tough, really tough call.”
The cause of his death is still unknown.
After the trucks are washed they will bear a black flag type banner and lead the hearse during Hiti’s procession.
“He is going to be sorely missed for the contributions he did in the department,” said Twining.
“It’s been really tough, it’s terrible,” said Isaacson. “I’ve known him so long he’s always been there.”
Hiti leaves behind a wife, two daughters and big shoes to fill.
“We have to go on, it’s just not easy,” said Isaacson.
Hiti’s funeral is scheduled for Tuesday.
A gofundme account is set up to help pay for family and immediate expenses.
To donate head over to http://www.gofundme.com/mvfpsk