Joe Bartholomew winces as he recalls uncomfortable memories at accident scenes from his days as a firefighter during a therapy session to treat his post traumatic stress disorder on Thursday, March 22, 2012. | Jeff Cagle~For Sun-Times Media
Joe Bartholomew talks with his therapist during a session to address his post traumatic stress disorder that he said he believes was triggered by a near-death experience from his days as an Aurora firefighter. | Jeff Cagle~For Sun-Times Media
Joe Bartholomew cools off in the shade with his dogs, Dakota (top) and Max, after chopping wood and spreading mulch on Tuesday, May 15, 2012. Since his retirement from the Aurora Fire Department after a near-death experience on the job triggered a case of PTSD, Bartholomew spends his days working around the house and helping to care for his mother-in-law who lives across the street. | Jeff Cagle~For Sun-Times Media
Retired firefighter Joe Bartholomew chops wood for his backyard firepit on Tuesday, May 15, 2012. After retiring from the Aurora Fire Department following a near-death experience on the job that triggered a case of PTSD, Bartholomew most days working around the house and helping care for his mother-in-law, who lives across the street. | Jeff Cagle~For Sun-Times Media
Joe Bartholomew, a retired firefighter and hazardous materials expert, scans his yard as he returns an ax to his toolshed after chopping wood on Tuesday, May 15, 2012. | Jeff Cagle~For Sun-Times Media
Liz Bartholomew speaks to a group of firefighters from the Fox River Valley Fire Protection District about her husband's story. | Donnell Collins~For Sun-Times Media
2004 Aurora Fire Department photo of Lt. Joe Bartholomew, Haz-Mat Response Team Coordiator.
Lisa Schreiber/Post-Tribune Lake Hills Fire Chief Jason Anderson pours an accelerant on a fire inside the clubhouse at Lake Hills Golf Course during a training session Saturday, November 29, 2003, in St. John. The department used the donated building to give its younger firefighters a chance to practice their skills.