National Fallen Firefighters Foundation

Roll of Honor

Firefighter/Training Officer
Age: 68
Year of Death: 2003

Ronald W. Fitzpatrick

Submitted by his children – Stephen‚ Kathleen‚ Eileen‚ Kevin and Mary

Ronald W. Fitzpatrick was a 68-year old father‚ grandfather and firefighter who collapsed and died while fighting a structure fire in Long Branch.

His days started as it did for most men of his generation and education. A college graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting‚ a second Lieutenant with the US Army ROTC‚ and a promising career with the IRS. He obtained all of this by the age of 24. But none of these accomplishments could quell his childhood dream of becoming a firefighter. In 1959‚ Ronald exchanged his white collar for a firefighter’s blue collar by joining the Newark Fire Department. Thus began his long‚ distinguished career. His career could be summed-up in the famous quote of Charles Dickens‚ ‘It was the best of times‚ it was the worst of times.’

Ronald was among a unique breed of men. Those times would bring the Newark Fire Department of the forefront of firefighting. These men faced an onslaught of fires and events unprecendented in the city’s history. Ronald became a Fire Captain in 1970 and was known to many as Captain Fitz. His years of experience with the Newark Fire Department lead him to a position as an instructor with the Monmouth County Fire Academy and Training Officer with the Long Branch Fire Department.

There wasn’t a fire call our father would miss; to the point where we would sometimes go along for the ride to watch him in action. Firefighting was a big part of our lives. Our brothers followed in his footsteps; Steven became a paid firefighter while Kevin became active as a volunteer for the Department.

Ronald obtained the rank as Senior Instructor with the Monmouth County Fire Academy. A position he held up until his death. During his 32 years of training‚ Captain Fitz would share his knowledge and expertise with rookie and veteran firefighters. His aggressive teaching‚ along with other academy instructors‚ certified more firefighters from all over the state‚ making Monmouth County the top Academy in New Jersey. His commitment to the safety and well-being of others was a priority. He remained a mentor to generations of firefighters.

On December 6‚ 2003‚ Ronald answered his final alarm. Being dedicated to the fire service and his love for the profession his legacy will continue on in all the firefighters’ lives he has touched.

Memorial Posts


Memorial Wall

  • (will not be published)

  1. Rest in peace Captain Fitz. You are not forgotten.

    – Firefighter Ryan Forrest
  2. STEVE CALL ME 732-921-8025

  3. Just stopping by to say hello to Capt. Fitz. I graduated the MCFA in 1996 when the Captain was still in his prime. Ask anyone who was instructed by him about putting the Hydrant Wrench on the ground after using it and they’ll know what I mean. It was then tossed clear across the grounds “Now you lost it, what are you going to do now!?” (You’re supposed to leave it on the hydrant) A lesson I never forgot still 20 years later. Another fun story was if someone had the misfortune of falling asleep in class. They were ever so gently woken up with an ice cold blast from a fire extinguisher. I don’t think they can get away with those old-school techniques today, but they were very effective and everything he tought us stuck like glue. Hard to believe that it’s almost 13 years that he’s gone. I remember his funeral like it was yesterday and the tremendous turnout it received and I’m willing to bet that he either instructed or had an impact on every firefighter in attendance. He was a true fixture at the academy and shared his knowledge and expertise to thousands of firefighters, both Career and Volunteer. Absolutely irreplaceable. Side note, his passing led me to have my own heart checked out, I wound up having three partially blocked areas in my arteries and had three stents placed. In essence, he was still instructing after even after he passed. God Speed Captain, I’m honored to have known you.

    FF Steve Catena, Keansburg Fire Department