Lieutenant Francis William Wilt, Jr.

Lieutenant Francis William Wilt, Jr.

Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, Pennsylvania

End of Watch Tuesday, May 20, 1980

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Francis William Wilt, Jr.

Lieutenant Bill Wilt suffered a fatal heart attack while rescuing a family from a burning house at 5:45 AM. Lieutenant Wilt was en route to begin the 6:00 AM shift at the Western Penitentiary in the Woods Run section of Pittsburgh when he noticed a house on fire on the city's Northside at 400 Chautauqa Street.

Upon seeing the fire, he immediately exited his vehicle, activated a nearby fire alarm, and then entered the home. He awoke and evacuated the five family members from the home. As he carried the last child out of the home he collapsed on the front steps.

Lieutenant Wilt had served with the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections for 19 years. He was survived by his wife and eight children.

Lieutenant Wilt's widow remarried James Pfeister, who was later killed in the line of duty while serving as chief of police of the Cresson Borough Police Department on June 8th, 1996.


  • Age 48
  • Tour 19 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Heart attack

Most Recent Reflection

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Your actions and selflessness are what identifies a true hero. Thank you sir.

Detective Cpl/3 Steven Rizzo (Retired)
Delaware State Police (Retired)

June 8, 2020

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