HENDERSON, Nev. (KLAS) — Those with the Henderson Fire Department gathered Friday afternoon to honor the life of Henderson firefighter and paramedic Robbie Pettingil. Pettingil suffered from PTSD and killed himself at his own home.
“Robbie was an exceptional firefighter who loved the job and was well-liked by his colleagues throughout the department,” said Fire Chief Shawn White. “Firefighters face unique challenges from repeated exposure to traumatic and stressful events and often respond to situations where they can feel helpless, making them more vulnerable to suicidal thoughts.”
A motorcade of Henderson Fire and Police escorted Pettingil’s remains from the Henderson Fire Training Center, past Fire Station 97 where he was assigned, to Central Christian Church. A celebration of life was held after at the church.
Pettingill’s death is a reminder about the chronic workplace stress that first responders face throughout their careers. In the United States, more first responders die by suicide than in the line of duty each year and they are five times more likely than civilians to suffer symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
“Our hearts go out to the Pettingill family and we urge anyone who is contemplating taking their own life to reach out to family, friends or community resources for help,” Chief White said.