Smart Growth for Vernon, CT
Vernon fire marshal to retire

By Kym Soper
Journal Inquirer
Published: Tuesday, May 13, 2008 1:17 PM EDT

VERNON — After more than four years investigating the causes of fires and inspecting new construction around town, Fire Marshal David Roth is hanging up his helmet in retirement.

His last day on the job will be June 30.

“He’s one of the best fire marshals we’ve ever had,” Vernon Fire Chief William Call said. “It’s going to be tough to replace that man.”

Roth, 56, says his wife of more than 30 years also is retiring from her job with the state Department of Environmental Protection, and they want to spend time together.

Roth replaced Anthony N. Patrizz Jr., who resigned from the fire marshal position in 2004 amid allegations by former Mayor Ellen L. Marmer’s administration that he acted improperly in his jobs as fire marshal and as emergency management director. Patrizz denied the allegations and claimed Democrats retaliated against him because of his alliance with Republicans

The full-time fire marshal job was partitioned after Patrizz resigned, with the oversight of daytime ambulance staff given over to the emergency management director at a salary of about $10,000.

The fire marshal position remained full-time, with a salary range of $45,190 to $57,493 and including the duties of investigating suspected arson cases, inspecting properties for building and fire code compliance, and conducting fire prevention classes and activities.

Roth, who has more than 33 years in the fire service, was hired by Vernon in October 2004. He served for 14 years as a deputy fire marshal and fire marshal for East Hartford and another 14 years as a firefighter for that department.

He was retired from the East Hartford Fire Department for 18 months before donning the helmet again to work in Vernon.

A Rockville High School graduate, Roth and his wife live just over the town line in Tolland and felt at home here, he said.

“This is where I grew up and it’s kind of neat to come back and serve the community where you were a kid,” he said.

But now there are three grandchildren in Florida to visit, and “we don’t want to miss out on that growing up,” he said. “We get sent a lot of pictures and do the phone thing, but it’s not the same as being there.”

And when the Roths are here in Vernon, he might just look in on the volunteer Fire Department.

“He loves the Fire Department — I don’t know how he’s going to be able to walk away,” said Call, adding: “But we’re going to get him to come in and volunteer with little bit of training and education.”

Roth agreed.

“I’m not divorcing myself from the Fire Department,” said Roth, who says the members of the volunteer department are like family. “It’s not something you can get out of your system easily. You don’t get up and walk away. It’s not a job, it’s a lifestyle.”

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