New Jersey Firefighter Collapses In Line Of Duty

A longtime member of the Rio Grande Fire Company incurred a fatal heart attack in the line of duty during the evening of Feb. 23, 2006.

Robert "Ockie" Wisting, 77, had served his community as a volunteer firefighter for 51 years from 1955-2006, and led as Chief in 1965. He died of a massive heart attack outside his home less than 24 hours after responding to a smoke investigation call amid a weekly fire company drill.

"We were in complete and total shock," affirmed Rio Grande Fire Captain, Richard Sweeten. "He was the most respected man in the area, and definitely for us. He did so much here for the company. Total family man."

Wisting is the first firefighter in his area to die in the line of duty. He is survived by his wife and children, and twelve grandchildren.

The Rio Grande Fire Company issued the following funeral details in a press release:

Funeral arrangements have been made for Saturday March 4, 2006 at Radzieta Funeral Home on Hand Avenue in Cape May Court House. Viewing hours are from 9-11 AM and will be extended if needed.

Following services, a procession of fire apparatus will proceed to the Rio Grande Firehouse on Rt. 47 in Rio Grande where "Ockie's Last Call" will be sounded. The procession will go the Rio Grande Cemetery on Rt. 9 where Mr. Wisting will be laid to rest. Rio Grande's antique 1950 Mack Pumper will serve as the caisson. This was a favorite truck of "Ockie's", one he rode on countless times over the years.

Any questions regarding arrangements for the Viewing and Service can be directed to Robert Sweeten, RGFC Public Information Officer at (609) 408-3966.