Southington hires new fire officers, firefighters  



reporter photo

SOUTHINGTON — Fire officials have made a host of promotions and hires to fill vacancies left by the retirement of longtime fire department members.

The Board of Fire Commissioners on Thursday promoted Scott Lee, a battalion chief, to the role of deputy fire chief. He’ll be replacing Scott DiBattista, a 26-year department veteran who retires next month.

The deputy chief role is focused on training firefighters. Fire Chief James Paul said Lee has excelled in that work.

“Scott Lee has years of experience in training with the Connecticut Fire Academy, with multiple departments,” Paul said. “He is unbelievable in his job.”

Lee has been with the department for about two decades. He was promoted to captain in 2017 and to battalion chief last year.

Preparing for promotions

Other retirements include firefighter Tom Golec, a 34-year department member who helped design the training curriculum, Bob Hunt, a firefighter and fire investigator with 22 years in the department, and Maureen Fraizer, the chief’s executive assistant who has worked in the department for two decades.

“We are unfortunately going to lose a lot of people with a lot of history, a lot of talent, a lot of experience,” Paul said. “I appreciate all of their dedication, all of their commitment to the department and the community.”

He was optimistic about the promotions and hires that would fill those positions.

“Change isn’t bad, it’s something to look forward to,” Paul said. “So many people in their different roles will bring so much more to the department.”

Mark Lajoie, Board of Fire Commissioners chairman, was pleased at how well retiring fire department members had prepared those who’ll replace them.

“The people we interviewed and stepped up are highly motivated, well trained” he said. “We’re not going to skip a beat.”

“(Senior leadership) have been very instrumental in training the guys behind them and passing on the experience which is just tremendous,” Lajoie said. “Volunteer and career, they’re all trained well. People on sidelines ready to step in.”

Promotions, new hires

With the internal promotion of Lee, a series of vacancies were created and filled by the board’s actions Thursday.

Fire Captain Richard Jones, a 23-year department member, will fill Lee’s battalion chief position on June 12. 

Jones’ position will in turn be filled by Christian Mastrianni, a fire lieutenant who oversees the self-contained breathing apparatus for the department. It’s a critical role in which Mastrianni will continue following his promotion, according to Paul.

“That’s a life saving piece of equipment that firefighters use when they go into a hazardous atmosphere,” Paul said.

The board promoted firefighters Lucas Martin and Chris Fusco to lieutenant during Thursday’s meeting. The board also hired two new firefighters, Southington volunteer firefighter Chris Roth and a firefighter from another town, Chris DuBois.

The board also hired Wendi Roy as executive assistant to fill Fraizer’s position. Roy has worked as an emergency dispatcher and will begin her new job at the end of this month.

Reporter Jesse Buchanan can be reached at jbuchanan@record-journal.com.



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