GENESEO – Geneseo Fire Chief Andrew Chanler remembers one of his most devoted young firefighters, Matthew Hutchinson, as a role model for his two kids. ‘Hutch,’ also a student and outstanding hockey player at SUNY Geneseo, tragically lost his life with another current student and a former student on Sunday in an incident that shocked the Village and college campus at Geneseo.
Hutchinson, 24, was somehow able to balance being a hockey player, teaching hockey clinics for local kids on the ice rink, going on calls as a firefighter, and taking 18 credits as a geography major and business studies minor in his senior year at SUNY Geneseo.
“My personal connection to Matt extends onto the ice rink, with my own kids being in youth hockey,” said Chanler. “That was the hardest part, telling my kids that something had happened to Matt. He was a big factor for them as 10-year-olds, to see the guy out on the ice playing in the big games with the big crowd, knowing that he was also a firefighter and if there was a call after the game he would probably be going and he’d be there with me.”
Hutchinson died Sunday in a horrific incident that is still under investigation at 18 Wadsworth Street along with SUNY Geneseo basketball player Kelsey Annese, 21, of Webster and former student Colin Kingston, 24, of Geneseo.
Chanler had spoken with Hutchinson just before Christmas, when he was excited to get back to Vancouver and see his parents. He had been working all summer and was not able to spend much time with them. Matt aspired to be a professional firefighter someday.
“Matt served with the forest service in British Columbia. He spent from the day his finals ended in May until the day before classes began in late August fighting fires in British Columbia and throughout the northwest and Canada,” said Chief Chanler. “He came back to school last fall in pretty rugged shape from what he had been through. Our members were kind of in awe of what he had done and what he accomplished.”
Chanler said that the entire Department will miss Hutchinson as a truly kind young man who knew just how to bust chops and bring a smile to his teammate’s faces.
The Geneseo Fire Department will be offering counseling services for their members, some of whom are also students at SUNY Geneseo.
The Canadian flag flies on the flagpole in front of Fire Department headquarters tonight in memory of Matt.