by Tom Hinkle
In 1997, Lawrence W. Tuck was called from this planet to be with our Creator. He was 54 years old. He was called up during a day in which he was doing what he loved-fire investigations and the activities associated with them. He was at the range that day with his comrades. He just finished qualifying and was ready to go to Lebanon to conduct a scene examination at a business fire that occurred while the Division was at the range. He collapsed at the end of the weapons qualifications. Although two comrades (Mike Fowler and Tom Hinkle) watched him go down and began resuscitation efforts immediately, Bill’s destiny was already set. And as his comrades returned to assist and be by Bill’s side, he did not recover from the heart attack that he suffered.
Bill was appointed to the Indianapolis Fire Department in October 1969. He entered into fire investigations for the department eleven years later. In April 1993, Bill retired from the Indianapolis Fire Department. Three days later, he became a deputy state fire marshal investigator for the Arson Division of the Indiana State Fire Marshal’s Office.
During his years in the fire service, Bill took a very proactive view towards education. He not only recognized the importance of continually learning all he could about fire investigations, but he taught recruits at the Indianapolis Fire and Police academies. But, his lectures and lessons didn’t stop in the classroom. He would take them to every fire scene throughout the State where his presence was requested.
Bill loved nature and his family. His eyes would sparkle when he talked about fishing down at his cottage in Brown County. You could see and hear compassion for the welfare of his family when you asked him how things were going with them.
Bill’s stature was tall and stout and shouted omnipotence when he came to your fire scene. Bill maintained certain traits like integrity, friendship, loyalty, fairness, and so forth underneath his authority figure. In a world today where characteristics like this seem to be dwindling, they are not. People like Bill inspire us whether they are living or dead. And even though Bill is gone from us physically, he is with us always spiritually. And we should grasp that spirit and use it to motivate us to continue on with the traits that Bill demonstrated while he was here with us.
The Indiana Fire Investigation Conference is committed to the spirit of Bill’s traits and to encourage them in Indiana Fire Investigators. It is the desire of the Conference, in the spirit of his traits, to honor Bill with an award named on his behalf that is given to a fire investigator who demonstrates exceptional performance in the area of fire and explosive investigations. Each year a committee evaluates the nominations and selects a recipient to be presented with the Lawrence W. Tuck Fire Investigator of the Year award at the Indiana Fire Investigation Conference. They evaluate the nominations and select a recipient to be presented with the Lawrence W. Tuck Fire Investigator of the Year award at the Indiana Fire Investigation Conference. The recipient receives the Award on the final day of the conference.