Dozens of Langley Township firefighters joined close to 700 people – more than 500 firefighters in total from throughout the Lower Mainland and as far away as Toronto – in laying to rest Walnut Grove resident and retired Surrey fire captain Randy Piticco.
The funeral service was held Sunday at the Bell Centre in Surrey, weather holding out for the full-honours precession that saw Piticco carried into to his celebration of life on the back of a vintage fire truck he and his father, Lido, found abandoned in the mud of a north Surrey field decades ago.
Piticco died of presumptive lung cancer believed caused by his more than 33 years on the job.
Even though he died six years after retiring, the 61-year-old’s passing is still considered a line-of-duty death.
Many tributes were offered during the afternoon service, including a poem read by his daughter Michelle Sparrow, a video tribute, personal recollections from long-time friend and fellow firefighter Lorne West, a tribute by Surrey Firefighters’ Association president Mike McNamara, and comments from Surrey Fire Department Chief Len Garis.
The ceremonies also included the firefighter’s prayer, and a number of bag pipe performances, the presentation of a flag box to the family, and the last alarm bell ceremony.