Fair Lawn Honors Baltimore Fire Captain Dillon J. Rinaldo

The name Dillon Rinaldo lives eternally as a hero of the Borough of Fair Lawn and Baltimore City.

Dillon Joseph Rinaldo, born March 14, 1997, in Ridgewood, NJ was called Home on October 24, 2023. Captain Rinaldo, a six-year veteran of the Baltimore City Fire Department, was battling a fire when he was severely burned, and then fought his bravest fight for six days.

Born to Ralph and Geraldine Rinaldo, Dillon was known in his hometown of Fair Lawn, NJ as the “firehouse kid”. As a toddler, he had turn-out gear at the base of his bed and would listen to his father’s fire radio so he could try to respond to calls with his father. He and his best friends took turns pulling their red wagon “fire truck” and saving the very lucky citizens of their imaginary world. He joined his father for many years as a volunteer on Fair Lawn’s Company Four Engine. Dillon’s dream of being a full-time firefighter was realized in 2017, when he was hired by the Baltimore City Fire Department. He brilliantly accomplished training and skills to be the best firefighter he could be for his brothers, sisters, and Baltimore. We are all so deeply proud of Dillon.

Dillon was a fair, steady, and honorable leader. As his BCFD family said, he could hold a room in his hand without saying a word. Dillon listened first and was always pragmatic. He led by example and empowered those around him. He was a natural but worked hard every single day to improve.

Dillon was charismatic and always smiling. He is the first to crack a joke or play a prank… just ask his firehouse or little sister, Danielle. It brought him great joy to make those he loved purely happy. He could make friends with complete strangers, and always had a story to tell. Somehow, he seemed to know everyone. Everyone is better for knowing Dillon.

Dillon was intelligent. He proudly completed his Bachelors of Fire Science with a 4.0 GPA. He was the valedictorian of his BCFD Academy class. He loved history documentaries, travel documentaries, and learning how something was made. He could fix just about anything. He loved to read and be inspired. He was inspiring. An avid sports fan himself, he was well accomplished as the Fair Lawn High School quarterback and lacrosse captain and went on to play lacrosse in college.

Dillon was dependable, protective, safe, solid, and ever-present. Dillon feels like home. Dillon built a beautiful life. When he asked his fiancée, Lauren, to be his wife, he truly promised to embody what a best friend, teammate, and husband means. He lived each day pouring love into his relationship, there was not a day that went by that he did not say “I love you” or even "I love you alot alot". His love made him magnetic, and the pair were inseparable for the five years they were together. He made time stand still. His love made everything better. He told her parents that he loved her endlessly, a statement that remains true. Dillon’s love is endless, and we are forever changed for experiencing such a love. We love Dillon endlessly.

Dillon is a beloved son, brother, fiancé, soon-to-be son-in-law, grandson, nephew, cousin, friend, and neighbor. To be loved by Dillon was to know true unconditional love. He had the heart of a lion, his strength deeply ingrained into every fiber of his being. He had the fighting spirit of an Irishmen and the serenity of the cool, rainy fall days he loved. He appreciated the simplest things, which he always recognized were most important.

Dillon changed lives. Dillon saved lives. Dillon loved to live life. We should all live like Dillon.