Promotions, new hire brings Southington fire department to full strength


SOUTHINGTON — The Fire Department has a full slate of officers following a flurry of career and volunteer promotions.

The Board of Fire Commissioners promoted James Paul from assistant fire chief to the department’s leader last month. That kicked off a cascade of vacancies that the commission filled with promotions and a new hire this week.

Here’s how they break down:

Eric Heath, assistant chief and fire marshal

The department’s new assistant fire chief held the role of interim chief after the retirement of former chief Harold “Buddy” Clark in 2017. Heath, a battalion chief, will start his new role in a month. The position is both assistant fire chief and fire marshal.

Heath has been with the department for more than two decades.

“I can’t be happier with their decision,” Paul said of the commission’s promotion of Heath. “Eric is extremely knowledgeable and educated.”

Heath has excellent administrative skills and helps writes the department’s grants, Paul said. 

Scott Lee, battalion chief

Lee, a captain, will fill Heath’s position as battalion chief. Paul said he’s got extensive training and works as an adjunct trainer for the state’s Fire Academy.

“Anywhere from administrative to an emergency, you want him on scene,” Paul said. “He’s going to make a fantastic battalion chief, shift commander.”

Andy Polzella, captain

Polzella started as volunteer with Company 3. He was promoted from lieutenant to captain and will also take over as the department’s liaison with the police department.

Paul said Polzella has great rapport with the volunteers as well as career firefighters.

New volunteer, career lieutenants

The fire board also promoted three firefighters to the rank of lieutenant. Andy Phillips and Connor Sperry, volunteer firefighters, will take new roles as volunteer lieutenants. Both are from station two in Plantsville.

Christian Mastrianni, a career firefighter will also become a lieutenant. He’s responsible for the department’s 90 air packs, life-saving equipment, according to Paul.

New firefighter

Earlier this week, the fire board hired Daniel Wallace to fill a firefighter position. He’s a volunteer firefighter in East Haddam.

“He’s wanted Southington for a while, that’s why he tested here,” Paul said. “I couldn’t be more excited to have him.”

Full slate of officers

Nathan Wilson, fire board chairman, said there were multiple candidates for all the positions filled this week. Qualifications were high among those interviewed.

“Every one of the decisions Tuesday night were very difficult,” Wilson said.

With the promotions and new hire, Wilson said the department is at its full complement.

Paul said all the department’s top officers are in new roles.

“It really is an exciting time for the department,” he said. 

jbuchanan@record-journal.com203-317-2230Twitter: @JBuchananRJ

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