Hundreds turned out for the funeral for Surrey firefighter Randy Piticco at the Bell Performing Arts Centre on Jan. 24. Piticco's remains arrived at the service on the restored 1920 American LaFrance fire truck he found buried in Burns Bog as a boy.

Hundreds turned out for the funeral for Surrey firefighter Randy Piticco at the Bell Performing Arts Centre on Jan. 24. Piticco's remains arrived at the service on the restored 1920 American LaFrance fire truck he found buried in Burns Bog as a boy.

Longtime Surrey firefighter laid to rest

Hundreds of firefighters and community members turned out Sunday to pay their final respects to 32-year veteran Randy Piticco.

More than 400 firefighters and community members gathered on Sunday to show support for a friend and colleague – Surrey Fire Capt. Randy Piticco.

Piticco, 61, died on Dec. 22 after a long battle with presumptive lung cancer.

Friends and family gathered Jan. 24 at the Bell Performing Arts Centre to remember a man who loved ones said had a tremendous sense of humour and was known for his loyalty to his family and his profession. Piticco’s death was deemed a line of duty death, as it was determined by WorkSafeBC to have been attributed to his decades in the fire service.

Randy PiticcoA firefighter for 32 years, Piticco (left) was remembered as a crucial part of the Surrey Fire Service by Chief Len Garis.

Garis described Piticco as a light-hearted friend who always enjoyed joking around with his crew.

“Being part of the fire service is not a job, it’s a lifestyle,” said Garis. “The fact is, two out of five Canadians will develop cancer in their life, (but) for firefighters that risk is almost 70 per cent who have a risk factor of contracting cancer.”

Firefighter Mike McNamara said Piticco was consistent, meticulous and loyal.

He described how as a young boy, while on a trip through Burns Bog with his father, who was also a firefighter, Piticco discovered an old fire truck buried in the mud. The 1920 American LaFrance was eventually recovered and restored by the fire department. That same truck carried Piticco’s remains to the service on Sunday.

“It was just so fitting that Randy got his last ride on it today,” said McNamara.

To view a slideshow of images from the service, visit https://www.flickr.com/groups/2907635@N20/pool/show/