‘Dedicated’ Winona Lake fire chief dies

May 7, 2019

A Kosciusko County volunteer fire chief who died after an accident was a strong, dedicated public servant, his colleagues said Monday.

Mitch Titus, who a fellow firefighter said was 47, died Sunday.

It’s not clear what happened, but the veteran Winona Lake fire chief reportedly was flown to Lutheran Hospital after an accident Friday at his full-time job.

Burket Fire Chief Kevin McSherry said he spoke to Titus : who “worked in excavation” : the night before the accident. Titus worked tirelessly to help fire departments and firefighters throughout the county, he said.

″(He was) very dedicated and loyal,” said McSherry, president of the Kosciusko County Fire Association. “There are 370 firefighters in the county. He was there to help all of them.”

Winona Lake town manager Craig Allebach described the death as “devastating” and said Titus took over the volunteer department as its chief 15 years ago.

“He was really a fireman’s firefighter,” he said. “He was a great guy, a great leader, a great fire leader.”

Area police and fire agencies posted remembrances to social media.

“With heavy hearts, we join our brothers and sisters of the Winona Lake Fire Department in mourning the loss of Chief Titus,” the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department said on Facebook. “Chief Titus assisted our agency countless times throughout the years and was always there with a helping hand.”

“Today, we lost a brother,” Burket Fire and Rescue posted Sunday. “While he may be gone, he will indeed be in our hearts.”

McSherry said Titus leaves behind three children.