‘A fireman’s fireman’: VB Fire Department mourns the loss of longtime firefighter

Virginia Beach

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The Virginia Beach Fire Department is mourning the loss of one of its own.

Last Thursday, 60-year-old Mike Painter died after having a massive heart attack at his home. 

“I’m still in shock and disbelief that this has actually happened,” said Master Firefighter Christopher Kahler.

“It’s a huge loss,” added retired firefighter Bill Joyner.

Painter was a 33-year veteran. He worked for many years at the Oceanfront’s Station 11 before moving into the Virginia Beach Fire Marshal’s Office.

“He was a fireman’s fireman,” Kahler said.

“He wasn’t about self-promotion or anything else,” Joyner added. “It was all about [how] he wanted to be really good at the job.”

“He loved being a fireman, and what every capacity you’d put him in, Mike had a knack to connect with people,” Kahler said.

Painter was responsible for making sure all the events at the Virginia Beach Convention Center, Oceanfront or amphitheater were up to fire code.

“We can be kind of high maintenance at times, because our clients want to be creative and push the limits of the fire code,” said Virginia Beach Convention Center General Manager Bryan Miller. “He just had a way of being flexible when he could and being strict and firm when he had to be.”

“I’m going to miss him. I love him and it was a great honor to work with him,” Kahler added.

Visitation with the family will be held at the Virginia Beach Convention Center on June 30 from 6-9 p.m. A Celebration of Life service will be held on July 1 at the Convention Center at 1 p.m.

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