Officer Pettit was at the scene of a major downtown fire involving a large block of Broadway. He was evacuating occupants of the buildings near the Division St intersection as the fire continued to spread out of control.
Officer Pettit was at the front of the MacFinn Drug Store at about 5:58 a.m. when a portion of the front of the building collapsed on he and Fire Chief Robert Carroll. Officer Pettit was dead on arrival at Saratoga Hospital. Chief Carroll was severely injured but later recovered from his injuries.