The firefighting community in Samoa is in mourning.
It follows the passing of the former Commissioner of the Fire and Emergency Services Authority (F.E.S.A), Seve Tony Hill in Auckland New Zealand.
Seve passed away at Middlemore Hospital in Otahuhu on Tuesday. He was 60-years-old.
At the station yesterday, his colleagues were struggling to come to terms with the news.
“He was such an inspiration,” Tanuvasa Pitone Maua recalled. “To Seve, nothing was impossible, he was so committed to his work and he loved his job.”
Tanuvasa said he had worked with Seve on many occasions where lives were at risk.
“He was not just a talker, he was someone who walked the talk, that’s what’s great about Seve,” he said.
“When he knows what is right, he stands up and does it. He was a man who committed to his work and that’s why a lot of things moved quickly during his time.”
According to Tanuvasa, Seve set many examples that are still being followed, even after he left the job.
“Up until now, we’re still doing business with him. Many times we look at him and the many ways of how he would work out things. He’s such a great person.
“We will sorely miss him and I want to say that our condolences and prayers are with his family, wife and children. Rest in Peace, Seve.”
Commander of Operations, Aleaga Fuafiva, remembered Seve as a man of ideas. “He set up three stations in Samoa during his time, the one at Faleata, Faleolo and Asau,” he said.
“He also came up with lot of ideas to lift the standards of F.E.S.A especially the safety of the people. He did many things he would be remembered by.”
Mr. Fuafiva said Seve inspired a lot of young firefighters.
“He loved his job, he loved his country and he’s that kind of person who was so committed to his job you could always count on him,” Mr. Fuafiva said.
“He’s also a loving person. Seve is dearly missed by everyone.”
The news of Seve’s passing quickly spread on social media with friends and families taking to Facebook to pay tribute to Seve.
“My Uncle Tony was truly larger than life,” wrote Jihan Hafiz.
“The stories about my Uncle Tony are legendary... how he taught himself as a teenager to be a mechanic, how he set up Samoa's first fire department and rescue services, how he'd save people from tsunamis, bus accidents, how he'd build buildings, homes from scratch, how all of Samoa is in better condition thanks to his efforts...
“There have been no words to describe the grief and disbelief of knowing you have traveled to the Creator.”
Nynette Sass paid tribute to a dearest friend and brother.
“I am absolutely gutted to just learn that you have passed on,” she wrote, adding that he was a “man of substance, loyal, hard working, dedicated to his country and family, the man that does not have the word "can't do" in his vocabulary.”
She added: “Dearest Monette and the babes...my heart goes out to all of you during this most trying time. There are never enough comforting words to express any condolences.”
A relative of Seve who spoke to the Samoa Observer yesterday said Seve had been battling cancer for some time now but it could not be ascertained if that is what ended his life.
“Many of our relatives have left for New Zealand to be with him. At this stage we don’t know the details for his final services.”