“Mike” Ritchey knew how to make people laugh.
The Newport News firefighter-medic’s crew said they first thought he was shy. Then he’d catch them off guard with witty comments, sometimes said during the most inappropriate times.
Capt. Eric Alberti remembers such a time at a recent house fire. His crew, Station 8, B-Shift, responded to a call that was initially reported as gunshots. But when police searched the area, they didn’t find a shooter. They instead found flames coming from a house.
Alberti and Ritchey went inside the home and up the stairs where the smoke was so thick Alberti said he couldn’t see in front of his face. He said he was a little more alert than normal because of the unusual circumstances of the call. “Shootings don’t normally turn into structure fires,” he said.
Photo: Rob Ostermaier, The Daily Press.