Tim Smith: Beloved Local Firefighter Is Victim of Shooting

Tim Smith [Photo provided by Briceland Fire]

Tim Smith [Photo provided by Briceland Fire]

Firefighters, friends and family throughout Humboldt are mourning the shooting death of Captain Timothy Thomas Smith (age 42) of the Fortuna Fire Department on Monday. (See here for earlier story.) “We’re brokenhearted,” explained Diana Totten, spokesperson for Briceland Fire. “Our team worked with him on a strike team to Lake County and Big Sur…Working side by side during the fires, we bonded with him.”

Rio Dell Fire posted on their Facebook page, “Our flag is at half mast and will remain there until our brother is laid to rest.”

Smith’s brother, John Heflin, told us, “Tim worked fiercely with everyone that he was fighting fires with. He loved helping the community out with his heart and soul. He will be greatly missed by his family, friends and all co-workers he had including the ones he had help putting out the fires in other counties. He is one of our ‘never forgotten heroes.'”

Bridgeville Fire Department posted on their Facebook page that Smith was “one of the original members who helped form the Bridgeville Volunteer Fire Department. He was there when we responded to our first call.”

The post said, “His talents were many. With his special training he trained us. His passion pushed us to [be] better firefighters. His dedication and bravery helped people on the worst days of their lives. He loved being a firefighter even on his days off… from the Bridgeville School [where he had been a maintenance worker] he would respond to our community, when we were in need.”

Tim Smith firefighter Fortuna

Tim Smith sharing his hat with a prospective firefighter. [Permission to use the photo from the parent of the child. We would like to credit the photographer if s/he contacts us.]

Smith was known for his involvement in the community. He played the Santa at Bridgeville Community school the last several years. He was a valued member of the Eel River Valley Technical Resource Team where he was Team Commander.

Smith was part of the Valley Fire and the Soberanes Fire strike teams formed from Humboldt firefighters last year. (The two included photos show him on the Soberanes Fire.) “The way I will always remember him is we were both choking on the same smoke, fire everywhere, and he turned to me and grinned,” said Diana Totten. “That’s who I remember. I knew in his heart he was a fireman.”

She explained that there is a powerful connection between firefighters. “We rely on each other’s training and knowledge. It is very seldom that in the world we live in that you would trust your life to someone, but in the fire service we do and that creates the strong bond we have with each other. And that’s why we are especially broken when one of our own loses his life. It affects us strongly.”

Rio Dell Fire’s post recognized the connection not only with the man who died but with his fellow firefighters who shared the same department with him. “Our deepest sympathies go out to our brothers and sisters of Fortuna Fire,” they posted last night. “Today is a very sad day in the Eel River Valley. We mourn their loss as if it was our own and offer our support in any way… .”

Then they added, “Rest peaceful Tim. You will be missed.”

Tim Smith [Photo provided by Briceland Fire]

Tim Smith on the right.[Photo provided by Briceland Fire]




  • That is such a nice write up!
    We were all with Tim one time in fort Bragg ab diving, an older man came up to us and said his buddy was having problems, Tim and our buddies just dropped down the cliff to attempt to help the man out, the man didn’t make it unfortunately but that’s just the kind of man tim is, he was put here to help others and were going to miss you Tim.
    So sad that so many of my friends have passed in the last few years and the way they have been taken away…

    Rest In Peace Tim! you made a huge difference in the world we all live in.

  • Thanks for the wonderful story. This is just so devastating. A beautiful life lost through such a senseless act of murder. Prayers for the family, friends and the community who is grieving this loss 🙁

  • Our community lost a good man yesterday. My thoughts and condolences go out to his family. All the negative comments left by many people who didn’t know him in the previous articles regarding this senseless act make me disgusted and pissed off. If you don’t know don’t speculate or jump to your own conclusions, and stop talking shit.

  • Come on!!! I of course don’t understand killing anyone, but to kill someone that has risked his life for others over and over again is just….I’m at a loss for words. R.I.P. Tim

  • Kym. That is my son cade church- parrott. You have my permission. Tim has been a large part of our lives for many many years. His family is our family.

  • Thank you, Kym.

    It’s good to know more about and remember the man he was, the good he did, and the qualities and character that made him special and important to the community.

  • Thank you Kym , Thank you… R.I.P. My brother

  • There’s good and bad In just about everybody this story did a good job of painting one side of the story somehow I think the other side you don’t want to speak of . But as I’ve said before it doesn’t change the reality there is a dark side of the story . The Bridgeville connection the marijuana connection you’ll ignore it because it’s not the story you want to write .

    • Generally obituaries aren’t places that we rub people’s noses in the dark side. However, that being said, I have no evidence of any wrong doing/ illegal behavior on the part of Tim Smith so thus the tribute to him is glowing. It reflects what people said to me or about him in other places.

    • Here’s a bit of Tims dark side for ya;
      Tim also liked to get butt naked and dance and run and jump over the camp fire, put that in your file bud!

      • That would fit right in with my family’s hunting camp…

        • Lost Croat Outburst

          Sounds like my kind of deer camp with first backstrap of the season. Those were the days, my friends, we thought they would never end. What a joke: oh yeah, Tim’s “dark” side, he grew some weed and got the munchies for “fast” food. Imagine living in Humboldt for decades and still never getting it. Very sad. Condolences to the friends, family, and community.

      • “Jump over”, you mean fall in it. Tim was a great guy.

      • I’ve seen more of my uncle in those days as a kid then I had ever wanted to see in my life…. he was a good guy and will be more than missed. Loved the fort Bragg stories btw. I have a few of my own lol ♡

      • Huh, I guess I have a dark side too.

      • I had to laugh at this the first time I met him we were at usal with jimmy my cousin Brian and all my family and tim started walking in the fire he said he’s the fire walker I laughed then he decided to do a cartwheel thru the fire long story short he missed the fire accidentally kicking me in the face he was devastated I was mad at first but he was the sweetest thing I’ve loved him since sad thing is he left his wife and two boys and many family and friends that are going to miss him dearly 😒

    • I have known Tim for a lot of years he is my wife’s cousin he was NOT nor has he EVER been involved in the Cannabis trade!!! Except possibly when someone’s crop/ house /WTF ever wa on fire & he was attempting to put it out!!!! [edit]

    • [edit] No one deserves to die like this no matter the ciumstances. Hopefully when you grow up you will have a soft heart and learn compassion.

    • unless you know the truth, quit speculating, PLEASE!!!!!

    • I know the story behind his death and weed & the darkside you speak of regarding this story actually has no reason as to why he lost his life. So quit trolling and trying to talk down on a man that has obviously impacted the community in a great way.

  • The man lost his life yesterday and you’re concerned about the other side of the story? so what if he was involved with marijuana so is 90% of Humboldt County..Get a life and worry about your own shortcomings..

    • Really though right!?, man puts his life on the line again and again and your worried about him not fulfilling some ridiculous concept of a perfect hero? If the worst thing he did was MAYBE smoke marijuana, and perhaps sell that harmless substance on a few occasions (never knew the man but that seems to be what is implied) to make a bit of cash on the side? What’s wrong with you that that is your concern in this, even assuming that were true, the man was a hero and nobody deserves to go like that even if they aren’t… if you don’t like the illegal marijuana trade, help legalize it because it isn’t going away… but that’s enough about about totally unrelated issue when a good mans life has just ended far too soon…..

    • Because it’s a fraud it’s a black mark on our society and it’s bringing this county and this community into a place it shouldn’t be .A place full of addiction and drugs and your cannabis is a large part of it whether you like it or not who cares anymore it’s the truth.

      • Geeze, who cares what you think STFU! A man is dead have some respect!!!!

      • I call BS on your insinuation and using this forum for bitter-critter gossip about a much-loved community member. I wholeheartedly salute this guy for his contributions and if you can’t get past the fact that cannabis saturates our region than move to Nebraska.

      • Lost Croat Outburst

        The black mark is on a society that could have dealt with drugs in a uniform fact-based basis, especially where cannabis is concerned. Society gets what it deseves from bad policy. By all accounts, Tim was a valued, productive, and contributing member of the community despite his involvement wih the industry. Wow, “who” knew? Been that way since the ’70’s but “who” spends too much time with crappy headlines and not enough time in the community. We have a chance to change “policy” in November.

        • It’s not just about Tim it’s about an illegitimate industry destroying the legitimate economy for its own self interest and greed . And using lawyers to sue to do the job under the cover of nonprofits really disingenuous when it comes right down to it but factual .

          • Hey Who…[edit]

            Nobody deserves to get killed over a stupid plant.

            The absurd and fruitless pursuit of prohibition for which you advocate has victimized thousands of innocents, including those who have been murdered, imprisoned or otherwise disenfranchised and overwhelmed by the costly related fines & penalties.

            There are viable, alternative solutions that are thoughtful, considerate, reasonable, compassionate, enforceable, realistic & taxable: the urgency for fundamental change to current cannabis policies is highlighted precisely by these unspeakable tragedies.

          • This is about Tim, and sharing memories and thoughts of him[edit]. At some point, you should ask yourself why you are so filled with anger and hatred, I really don’t think you see the way you look past people’s feelings only to argue and rant. Either you are in this world to help or hurt, and Tim was here to help, we can’t afford to lose people like him in this world, so STOP disrespecting his honor. Also, you probably wouldn’t be so harsh towards others if you had to post your actual name. RIP Tim, you were a good man, and a hell of an ab diver! You will be missed

  • So very sorry for the loss of life. Prayers to family and friends. May the murderer be held accountable for his actions. No one wins with something like this.

  • My heart gos out to Tim’s family.i new Tim we worked side by side on a few jobs.hard worker carrying person all-around great guy…..

  • This trajedy is so heartbreaking. R.I.P. Mr. Smith. My condolences to your friends and family.

  • I’ve not only known Tim my whole life but have been friends with him as well, have many cherished memories were Tim was always there, our family’s go back before either one of us was even born. I being a couple years older have watched through the years Tim go through many different stages in life to become the well grounded and responsible ,caring man that he was , some found him to be a little dry at times maybe even grumpy, but I never saw nothing but my wacky off the hook fun loving friend when I looked into his eyes, I know he knew what I was seeing because he’d always give me a little smirk of a smile when I’d look at him with that look of ” familiarity ” like remember me, I know who you are. ;-). One thing I think about through all the good things Tim has brought to this world, there’s no more Santa clause for my kids to sit in his knee and tell there most inner wishes and desires too. Cause some some low life scum bag that took him away from us and how dare he still breath air into his unworthy piece of shit lungs , what a selfish waste of air he is,nothing justifies the atrocity that he has so selfishly committed, I’m not a hateful or spiteful person by nature but I hope this son of bitch burn in hell and suffers unimaginably for all of eternity for what he has done, he don’t deserve anything else as far as I’m concerned!!!! Rest in peace my friend, we will meet again in the other side, of that I have no doubt, you’ll be flying high were all the love and positive blissfulness awaits for all that have earned it, as you have. I love you.

  • Was he a full time Capt. for the City of Fortuna Fire Department? All the photos show CDF rigs.

  • Never mind. Didn’t realize Fortuna FD is all volunteer except for the Chief.

  • It doesn’t matter if he was involved in the cannabis trade. I don’t care if he was doing meth – the fact is even if he was, which I personally have no idea about, neither are capital crimes. No one should be shot for any reason other than self defense. I’ll never understand the gunslinger mentality. Prayers for the family, RIP

    • Well said moocow. This person that murdered him….no matter WHAT is reason…should melt his murderous life away in prison. I have had it with America’s gun slinging mentality. Our murder rates are out of control in our county! Fortuna is a small community, yet add this murder to the calloused actions of that Kitchen bitch who murdered two teenagers….it is simply out of control.

  • My deepest sympathies to his family & friends.

  • He not only played Santa, he did an excellent job teaching whenever he brought the fire truck to Bridgeville school to “show and tell.”

  • Oh how heart wrenching this is…He will be sorely missed.When my mother past away Tim and his wife were absolute comforts to me and my family.He was an outstanding firefighter and a gem to any community.Prayers for your children Tim,,rest in peace brother

  • Condolences to all. I can see he was loved and a wonderful asset to his community. RIP <3

  • My heart is heavy knowing we have lost a good man. For any bigots, good luck in life. You have challenges so large you might never know the gravity of your stupidity.

    Blessings. +++++++vibes++++++

  • My thanks to all who shared memories and those who defended a stranger because he put his life on the line every day for all of us. and to the TROLL who never knew our big brother, SHAME on you for casting aspersions and straight up talking shit about a great man. you know “WHO” you are. he was a hero, even though he would have never called himself that. he was kind, selfless, funny, smart, generous, brave, and yes a lil crazy. after all, he was a firefighter. you know, those men and women who run in when everyone else is running out. the people who risk their lives every day to save strangers. how dare you say such things about someone you didnt even know. if you don’t hear it with your own ears, or see it with your own eyes, don’t make it up with your small mind and spread it with your big mouth. especially if you don’t have the balls own your own words and use your own name or face. you havn’t had to see the devastation in his sons eyes. bad shit happens to good people every day. that doesn’t make it his fault. our Humboldt family is heartbroken beyond words at this loss. he was one of the very best of us, and this world is that much smaller and darker for his passing. my condolences to his other family, his bother and sister firefighters. i know you feel this loss just as deeply.

    • You know I’ve been a volunteer firefighter many years I put my life on the line as well for others I’ve made a difference .Where all judged whether we like it or not just as you judge me I judge others but it’s the facts that make the difference and the reality is I feel sorry for the sons I hope they remember there father for the right choices he made and not the wrong ones .

      • so did you know Tim personally? did you know the other guy? or are you just here talking shit and saying things that you have no idea about just because you can and your bored? friggin keyboard cowboy. obviously your years of service didn’t make you a more sensitive human. it seems pretty hypocritical to talk shit the way you do and then say how sorry you feel for the children. you know kids use the internet right? [edit]

      • May your sons not remember you for the choice you made to attack a man who was dead while you wore a fake name. There may be times to be anonymous but attacking a dead firefighter on his obituary seems an odd choice. If you really need to question something, why are you afraid to put your name on the post?

  • A great heart, and a great smile. Always loved seeing it.

  • You could not have worder that any better kym.

  • Why does everybody blame Marijuana for everything negative that happens around here ? People love to jump on the pot bandwagon even though they grow pot themselves. This puzzles me as it appears to be self destructive and anti productive.
    Could be that the man was having an elicit affair with the killers wife and that drove the man insane and he resorted to violence as a remedy to stop the pain & suffering in his heart, that is associated with infidelity. All actions have an reaction, Marriage is a God blessed institution and deserves to be honored. Amen

    • No he wasn’t having an affair, maybe the physco killer was a deranged meth head who had problems with his wife and took out his deranged illusions on my brother, Tim loved my sister and his family more than anyone will ever know. A crazy man killed one of the best people this community was lucky enough to have. Our family is lost without him, thank you to all for the kind words. Very much appreciated. To anyone who has a bad word to say, why don’t you just stop by his house and tell it in person to my mourning family. R.I.P. Tim Smith

  • I knew Tim from times he was standing in with the Ftna Volunteer fire when Cal Fire’s resources were low. I always enjoyed talking to him. He was always so cheerful when you would see him on an engine or at Bridgeville school. He will be missed. Breaks my heart and heartfelt wishes for peace for his family.

  • The last time I saw big Tim was at my brothers wedding in Southern California. It was a big family wedding, and Tim was non-stop on the dance floor with the bride, and my mom (his aunt) who remembers him lifting her off the floor. Afterwards we continued the celebration with our awesome family at the bar next door. Tim was there with a huge smile on his face and giving words of wisdom to the bride and groom. The typical fire fighter and man he was, Tim even helped one of our fallen soldiers of the night (too much champagne and high heels), and carried her over his shoulder back to the hotel at 2am. I remember great conversation, his infectious laugh and a strong hug the next day when we all bid farewell. I got married in May, and Tim was called by the fire department to do his service, and was unable to make it. As always, putting his commitment to his calling first. This is the man he was — one who embraced a service to protect others.
    We’re heart broken and baffled by this action of a senseless human to take the life of a man we loved. May the universe, and God send all his angels to surround my cousin and her boys, and all who loved him, now and throughout a lifetime of battling an unthinkable nightmare. Rest in a sweet paradise where there a big fish, animals to hunt, hills to protect, lots of hats, and a dance floor to swing around those that have gone before. We love you, Tim!

  • Mr. Smith was not beloved to all…. he could be a big bully. He could degrade the firemen where he was Captain….. could it have gone to his head. Sorry for his fate


    • Daniel R Dill former Company 4

      I am sorry for your thin skin and shallow compassion. You know the Capt is in charge and responsible, and considering that you were luck to have had him rather than others.

    • Degrade firemen? He was appointed to a position to get a struggling company back on its feet. And he did a damn fine job with that. A captain has to be firm and have leadership qualities which he exemplified with his time with fvfd

    • Tim was a good captain and treated everyone equal. There is a certain person in that company that think they run the station and think they can do whatever they want and tim as a captain had to do his job. Rip tim you will be missed.

  • Well said lone Ranger!

    • A hero to who? His girlfriend?

      • If you even have an ounce of compassion in your heart, may you never feel the level of disrespect you have given to a family during their time of need. Think about the people you love in your life and what it would feel like to have to defend that loved one against such blasphemy

      • Where did you park the firetruck , oh shit it’s going to get towed it’s in the firelane batman

      • Sadly Disappointed

        You – Lone Ranger, Batman and Robin are so horribly disrespectful! Seems like you three are the only ones in the campton heights fd that had a problem with Tim. He took over and was appreciated by all but THREE family members – who are ovbiously you “three. ” A real classy family here! One would hope your family would show some respect – but then again… it’s almost expected from you

  • Tim Smith was a hero. He was a brilliant father figure to so many kids in a time when fathers are in short supply. Men like him are rare indeed, kind, funny, smart, capable, brave and willing, and just crazy enough to get any horrible scary job done. He was so larger than life and full of life I can hardly believe he is dead. We were so lucky to have him in our lives and his death leaves a huge hole in our lives and hearts. Thank God he left us 2 amazing sons with big shoes to fill. He and his wonderful wife helped so many kids in need including mine and I am so grateful for the positive influence he was to my sons. I hope he’s having an amazing adventure wherever he is because he deserves it. Tim, we will miss you. I won’t see a wildfire or a big buck without remembering your huge smile and huge heart. My deepest sympathy to all of his family, my heart is heavy for your loss. May we all carry on with gratitude for having known and loved a true hero.

  • It’s not wise to throw stones when you live in a glass house.

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