A former New Jersey firefighter, Lt. Dillon Rinaldo a six year veteran of the Baltimore City Fire Department who is a native of Fair Lawn, died early Wednesday at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, where he had been hospitalized since he was one of five injured while battling a October 19 fire.
Rinaldo was the second Baltimore City Fire Department firefighter who died after the two-alarm blaze in Maryland’s most populous city left at least five smoke eaters injured, according to the Baltimore City Fire Department.
“Lieutenant Dillion J. Rinaldo a six year veteran of the Baltimore City Fire Department tragically succumbed to his injuries. Despite the best efforts of medical professionals fate had a different plan and we are devastated to share this heartbreaking news,” the department said in a statement. “Lieutenant Rinaldo was a true hero, a “firefighters firefighter”, and dedicated member of the Baltimore City Fire Department.”
Rinaldo, who joined the Baltimore City Fire Department in 2017, was set to marry his fiancé in just a few months, and the couple had recently adopted a puppy, according to an online fundraiser.
“Our amazing friend Dillon is the most selfless individual anyone knows,” organizers of the fundraiser said. “He is always willing to help with anything, putting others before himself and carries a true passion for his job as a firefighter.”
Three other injured firefighters were released from the hospital, but 31-year-old firefighter Rodney Pitts III was killed.
“Firefighters are our superheroes, and we don’t expect to ever lose them. Today, a city and fire department already reeling from the wound of losing EMT/Firefighter Rodney Pitts III, felt that unbearable pain cut deeper with the tragic loss of Lt. Dillon Rinaldo,” said Baltimore City Council President Nick Mosby. “Both will be etched in our city’s history as heroes who risked and lost everything protecting their fellow Baltimoreans.”
“The older members remember Dillon growing up as firehouse kid,” said Fair Lawn Fire Chief Jacob Mamo. “Most of us served with him a few years back and of course we are all reminded of his presence since his father is an active member. This will be a very tough time for the department and the community as we have lost a great firefighter, a great person, and a great friend.”
“Prior to being hired by the City of Baltimore, Dillon served six years in the Fair Lawn Fire Department serving with Engine Company 4. Dillon fought a brave fight,” said Mamo. “Dillon’s father Ralph is a former Chief of Department in Fair Lawn and is currently serving as our department Deputy Chief.”
“The department will continue to provide Dillon’s fiancé Lauren, Chief Rinaldo, and the rest of his family in whatever support they need during this critical time,” said Mamo.
“Even when you come to work and do everything right, you can still die,” said Josh Fannon, president of Baltimore Fire Officers Association IAFF Local 694.
“We are devastated by the loss of Lt. Rinaldo after battling his injuries sustained last week,” said Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott.
“He was a true hero, and his memory and legacy in Baltimore will live on as an inspiration to all public servants in our city,” said Baltimore Fire Chief James Wallace. “His willingness to put others before himself, to try to protect his fellow firefighters and every resident, is a testament to his character and unwavering commitment to this work. We will continue to embrace his family, love ones, and the entire Fire community as we confront this grief together.”
Wallace said fire officials and the city’s mayor visited the hospital and met with Rinaldo’s parents and fiancée, describing them as “beautiful people, deeply hurt, much like our members are, but they know we’re wrapping our arms around them and we’re going to provide them with the support that they need.”