GREENSBURG, Pa. - Two years after his retirement, longtime Greensburg Fire Chief Ed Hutchinson died Sunday at the age of 96.
Boots and turnout gear sit outside of Hose Company Number 3 in Greensburg — the station where the man affectionately known as “Hutch” got his start in 1939.
“Growing up as a kid, I heard him on the radio,” said current Fire Chief Tom Bell. “My father was involved in the city and he had a radio on him all the time and that’s what got me started.”
Bell succeeded Hutchinson and said it was Hutch who inspired him and many others around Westmoreland County.
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Hutchinson had an "impact on every person in this fire department, he’s touched, he’s trained, the specialized teams he put together. He was the kind of person that didn’t sit on his hands. If he knew he could do something, he was there,” Bell said.
The fire department has been overwhelmed with phone calls from other departments wanting to pay tribute to the man who gave nearly eight decades to the fire service.
“We’ve had people coming from out of state who he’s touched or did something for or something,” Bell said. “They’re on their way here to be here for Sunday.”
A funeral procession cascaded through the streets of Greensburg on Wednesday morning from the funeral home — under aerial ladders — to Hutch's final resting place at Union Cemetery.
"Everybody knows of him being the tough-gunning sergeant, but the true Ed Hutchinson was a very compassionate man who would do anything in the world for anybody," said Bud Mertz, Westmoreland County 911 director.
Hutchinson retired as chief in 2016 after serving for 78 years.
"Anything that you see in Greensburg that's good, he probably had his hand in it," said Rob Bell, mayor of Greensburg. "It's the least we can do to pay our respects."
A touching tribute for a man — known for being kind, compassionate, at times ornery — and very dedicated to his city.
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