Smart Growth for Vernon, CT
Former Vernon assistant fire chief dies of heart attack

By Matthew Engelhardt
and Kym Soper
Journal Inquirer
Published: Friday, February 13, 2009 10:18 PM EST

VERNON — Officials were surprised on Friday to learn that a former assistant fire chief and fire marshal with a controversial history with the town had died suddenly in Florida.

Anthony N. Patrizz Jr., who resigned as fire marshal and emergency management director in April 2004, died Thursday, apparently from a heart attack, sources say.

He was 50 years old.

Patrizz had been a 33-year veteran of the volunteer Vernon Fire Department and had been assistant chief from 1986 until he was fired from the post in 2003.

Vernon Fire Chief William M. Call said the news was “a shock for all of us — from Town Hall on down.”

Call said he didn’t know if Patrizz had any serious medical or heart conditions that would contribute to his death.

His two sons flew to Florida early Friday to be with their mother and sister, Call said.

Patrizz sold his home and moved to Florida soon after settling a lawsuit against the Town Council Democrats, former Mayor Ellen Marmer, and some members of the Fire Department.

He had resigned from the fire marshal position in 2004 amid allegations by 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.

He filed a lawsuit in 2003 seeking $800,000 in damages claiming Marmer and several other parties had defamed his character. The lawsuit, which was eventually settled in March of 2006, was filed a month after Patrizz was fired from his post as first assistant fire chief of the Vernon Fire Department.

On Friday, Marmer had no comment regarding Patrizz’s death, other than to offer her condolences to his family.

Republican Town Committee Chairman Hal Cummings said he knew Patrizz for many years and their families attended the same church.

Cummings was saddened to learn of Patrizz’s death and recalled him as a man who was devoted to Vernon and competent in his service to the town.

“He was a solid guy,” Cummings said. “He was someone you could count on.”

Cummings added that Patrizz had shown his abilities by helping design some of the town’s emergency management plans.

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