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South Passaic Daily Voice serves Clifton, Haledon, Hawthorne, Little Falls, North Haledon, Passaic, Paterson, Prospect Park, Totowa, Wayne & Woodland Park

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Mom, 82, Of Paterson Firefighter Who Died In Line Of Duty Struck, Killed By Sedan

Mary Bitner / INSET: Walter Bitner
Mary Bitner / INSET: Walter Bitner Photo Credit: Bizub Funeral Home / INSET: Paterson FD

The 82-year-old mother of a Paterson firefighter who died in the line of duty 22 years ago was struck and killed by a sedan on a city street, authorities said.

Mary Bitner was taken to St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center after being struck near the corner of Memorial Drive and Broadway around 3 p.m. Tuesday, Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia M. Valdes and Paterson Police Chief Ibrahim Baycora said in a joint release.

A 21-year-old city resident whose 2012 Toyota Corolla hit her remained at the scene, they said.

Called "a fixture in the city" by Paterson firefighters, Bitner was pronounced dead 2½ hours later.

No charges were immediately filed, although Valdes and Baycora noted that an investigation was continuing.

It on July 11, 1989 that the victim’s son, Walter Bitner, fell from a fire truck that was responding to what officials said turned out to be a false alarm.

Bitner, who’d only recently been married and worked at another firehouse, had traded shifts with a firefighter at Engine Co. #5 who needed that day off.

When the alarm came into the Riverside Firehouse at East 18th and Lafayette streets, the four-year veteran climbed into the jump seat of the pumper as it left.

The engine was turning onto East 16th Street, bound for Hamilton Avenue, when Bitner fell backward and landed in the street, fracturing his skull.

He lapsed into a coma and underwent several surgeries before awakening, paralyzed, six months later.

After moving through several rehab facilities, Birtner died at the Manor Care Nursing Facility in Mountainside on Oct. 24, 1998. He was 38.

A service will be held for Mary Bitner from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday at the Russian Orthodox Convent Novo-Diveevo at 100 Smith Road in Nanuet. Interment will follow in the convent cemetery.

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