|Agency||Bement Fire Protection District|
|Type of Firefighter||Career|
|Age Range||41 to 45|
|Date of Birth||5/21/1918|
|Date of Death||1/20/1959|
|Cause of Death||Contact/Exposure|
|Nature of Death||Electrocution|
|Attribute of Death||[not applicable]|
|Type of Duty||Firefighting operations , Ladder operations|
On January 20, 1959, Chief Joe Harris Rittenhouse of the Bement Fire Protection District died in the line of duty during an ice storm in Milmine. Rittenhouse was operating on a ladder at a suspected garage fire when the wind blew a broken, live electrical wire into the ladder. Rittenhouse was electrocuted, and succumbed to fatal injuries.
Rittenhouse had served as Fire Chief of the Bement Fire Protection District since it was formed in October 1946. Piatt County’s first fire protection district, the district was organized by veterans who returned from World War II and recognized the need for improved fire service in Bement. The district covers ninety-six square miles and serves the Villages of Bement and Milmine.