Illinois Fire Service Institute


Firefighter Record

Firefighter Details

Name Joe Rittenhouse
Agency Bement Fire Protection District
Rank Chief
Type of Firefighter Career
Age Range 41 to 45
Sex Male
Date of Birth 5/21/1918
Date of Death 1/20/1959
Cause of Death Contact/Exposure
Nature of Death Electrocution
Attribute of Death [not applicable]
Type of Duty Firefighting operations , Ladder operations

Incident Details

Incident Name N/A
Incident City Milmine
Incident State IL
Incident Date 1/20/1959
Incident Location Storage
Incident Attribute Blizzards , Electrical hazards , Fires

Incident Summary

On January 20, 1959, Chief Joe Harris Rittenhouse of the Bement Fire Protection District died in the line of duty during an ice storm in Milmine. Rittenhouse was operating on a ladder at a suspected garage fire when the wind blew a broken, live electrical wire into the ladder. Rittenhouse was electrocuted, and succumbed to fatal injuries.

Rittenhouse had served as Fire Chief of the Bement Fire Protection District since it was formed in October 1946. Piatt County’s first fire protection district, the district was organized by veterans who returned from World War II and recognized the need for improved fire service in Bement. The district covers ninety-six square miles and serves the Villages of Bement and Milmine.

Firefighter and Incident Images

No images exist for this Firefighter/Incident

Firefighter and Incident Audio

No Audio for this Firefighter/Incident record


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