Local News


Memorial ceremony on schedule to honor Henderson firefighter

Henderson FirefighterParamedic Robbie James Pettingill.jpg
Posted at 11:23 AM, Sep 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-30 14:34:49-04

HENDERSON (KTNV) — The Henderson Fire Department reports the death of Henderson firefighter/paramedic Robbie James Pettingill.

He took his own life on Sept. 17 after suffering from job-related post-traumatic stress disorder, according to officials, and will be honored in a line-of-duty death memorial ceremony on Oct. 4.

“Robbie was an exceptional firefighter who loved the job and was well-liked by his colleagues throughout the department,” said Fire Chief Shawn White. “Firefighters face unique challenges from repeated exposure to traumatic and stressful events and often respond to situations where they can feel helpless, making them more vulnerable to suicidal thoughts."

A motorcade of Henderson fire and police personnel will escort Pettingill’s cremated remains from the Henderson Fire Training Center, past Fire Station 97 where Pettingill was last assigned, to Central Christian Church starting at 1:45 p.m.

The procession will also include family members and representatives from other fire departments and EMS providers.

A celebration of life service for Pettingill will be held at Central Christian Church at 2:30 p.m. The ceremony is open to any in the community who wish to pay their respects to the fallen firefighter.

The Henderson Fire Department hired Pettingill on Aug. 14, 2006, and the 35-year-old firefighter/paramedic was a second-generation firefighter whose father, Scott Pettingill, retired from the Henderson Fire Department in 2012 after 22 years of service.

"Our hearts go out to the Pettingill family, and we urge anyone who is contemplating taking their own life to reach out to family, friends, or community resources for help," White said.

Henderson officials say this death is a reminder of the stresses first responders face as they are five times more likely to suffer symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Also, September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and authorities urged the community to reach out and offer support to anyone anxious, depressed, upset, or needs to talk.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can called at 1-800-273-TALK.