Local firefighters honor fallen chief with stair climb - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Local firefighters honor fallen chief with stair climb


Two local firefighters will climb 47 stories this weekend to honor one of their own. 

Three months ago, Rothschild Fire Chief Steve Fritz died of a heart attack. His uniform still hangs in his locker.

"We miss him, it's hard to replace somebody like that," Acting Rothschild Fire Chief Glen Engebretson said.

"We were proud of him. We were all proud of him," Steve Fritz's mother, Dorothy Fritz told Newsline 9.

But this weekend, Dorothy Fritz says it's her son who would have been proud of his fellow firefighters. Two of them, one from Rothschild, the other from Rib Mountain, will put on all their gear and climb 47 stories at the U.S. Bank building in Milwaukee. Three others will participate on that team.

"He realizes what it would mean to put on all these clothes and climb," Dorothy Fritz said.

They're doing it in Steve Fritz's name. Paul Bradfish says he didn't know Fritz but says he's proud to climb the stairs for another firefighter.

"We can meet anyone on the street and if you know they're a firefighter, you have this mutual respect for each other," Rib Mountain firefighter Paul Bradfish said.

The event is similar to the September 11th stair climb held in downtown Wausau. The one in Milwaukee this weekend will benefit the American Lung Association.

"I was very honored to think that they wanted to do this in his memory," Dorothy Fritz said.

Since her son's death, Dorothy Fritz says she's felt support from other firefighters in many ways.

"We have really found out what a brotherhood it is. After the funeral, we heard from firefighters all over the country," Dorothy Fritz said.

Now, some of them will put their words into action, wearing the uniform Steve Fritz wore so many times, helping his memory live on.

The team's goal was to raise $100 for the climb. So far, they've raised close to $600. 

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