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Park City Fire Chief Paul Hewitt Remembered as Model Father, Friend, and Firefighter


Hundreds of people and fellow first responders gathered in Park City to remember Fire Chief Paul Hewitt Thursday night. Hewitt died on July 23rd in Springfield, Oregon, after suffering serious injuries in an off-road vehicle accident while on a family vacation. He was 58 years old.


Hewitt was memorialized by family, friends, and colleagues as someone who would not only go the extra mile for the people he cared about, but also for the people he had never met.


For Hewitt’s daughter, Rachelle, he was just “dad.” 


“I know you all knew him as Fire Chief Paul Hewitt or Chief, but to me, he was dad, and that’s one of the biggest roles you can play in somebody’s life, and he rocked it,” she said.


Hewitt was born in Selma, Alabama, and his family eventually settled in Utah while he was in high school. He began his firefighting career with the Orem Fire Department in 1984 before spending 20 years with the Salt Lake City Fire Department. He joined the Park City Fire District as Fire Chief in 2011, and frequently described it as his “dream job.”


Park City Deputy Fire Chief Bob Zanetti remembered him as a model firefighter.


“Paul loved being a firefighter,” said Zanetti. “He had an image of what a firefighter should be and what they should do. He lived it, he preached it, he wrote about it, and most of all, he backed it up.”


In addition to his duties as a firefighter, Hewitt was also an active member of the community and the Park City Rotary Club, where he was president-elect.


Hewitt was eulogized by longtime friend Randy Oveson who spoke to Hewitt’s character, compassion, and remarkable ability to bring out the best in whoever he was around.


“He had a way of making everything and everyone around him better,” he said. “He made his departments better, his coworkers better, his friends better. He made his family better. He literally made whatever he set his mind to better. This goes especially for the Park City community in which he lived and which he loved.”


The fire district is currently under the leadership of Deputy Chief Zanetti. Zanetti and the Park City Fire District Administrative Control Board will consider the appointment of a permanent successor to Hewitt in the coming weeks.

Sean spent the first five years of his journalism career covering World Cup skiing for Ski Racing Media here in Utah and served as Senior Editor until January 2020. As Senior Editor, he managed the day-to-day news section of skiracing.com, as well as produced and hosted Ski Racing’s weekly podcast. During his tenure with Ski Racing Media, he was also a field reporter for NBC Sports, covering events in Europe.
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