One Last Spin On The Fire Truck

Ceremony underscores department’s confusion as deMasi retires after 35 years


Firefighters from throughout the region gathered to honor Retiring Payson Chief Marty deMasi.

Firefighters from throughout the region gathered to honor Retiring Payson Chief Marty deMasi. Photo by Andy Towle. |

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Dressed in his finest, Payson Fire Chief Marty deMasi took his place in the captain seat of the station’s ladder truck Tuesday for a final spin around the town he spent his whole firefighting career protecting.

For those 35 years of service, the Payson Fire Department pulled out all the stops for deMasi’s retirement.

Local firefighters dressed in their blues and fire chiefs from surrounding areas together with other emergency personnel attended the formal ceremony at the Main Street fire station this week.

It was the first time the fire department had held such a formal service, but one rightly deserved, firefighters said.

“He left it better than he found it,” said Battalion Chief Dan Bramble, who led the ceremony in the engine bay.

Lined up in two rows with military precision, the firefighters stood at stoic attention as Bramble gave a brief overview of deMasi’s accomplishments as chief the last 10 years.

They include implementing three-person crews, securing numerous grants, buying fire engines, building a live firefighting training facility (the first in northern Gila County), improving the fire safety rating, adding mobile data computers in every engine and pushing for collaboration with local fire chiefs and higher standards.

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With Fire Marshall Bob Lockhart at his side, deMasi walked down the line of firefighters, taking his time to shake hands and say a brief word with each.

“He was instrumental in securing fire station 13 (off Rim Club Parkway) and not only securing it, but making it work with limited resources,” Bramble said. “Chief deMasi helped lead us into a new age of three fire stations for Payson Fire, it hasn’t been easy, but he has managed the job beautifully.

“In many ways, many folks feel the mark of a true leader is to take an organization and to leave it better than when you found it, and I confirm to you that chief deMasi has done that.”

With Fire Marshal Bob Lockhart at his side, deMasi walked down the line of firefighters, taking his time to shake hands and say a brief word with each.

The air was thick with emotion as the firefighters then presented deMasi and his wife with the flag that had flown that day outside the station.

deMasi thanked everyone and said he had enjoyed his time working for the department. In his usual joking manner, he added that it hadn’t always been easy, but had been good overall.

deMasi leaves a fire department in confusion caused by the Payson Town Council’s tough budget decisions that will likely cost the department its fire marshal and nearly eliminated the reserves.

While the reserve program has tentatively made the budget, it appears likely the council will do away with Lockhart’s position, even though many in the community have balked at the idea.

The council says cheaper outside contractors can handle his duties when it comes to building and fire inspections.

One captain Tuesday said the mood in the department is down, with most firefighters confused at the council’s recent actions. He said it feels like everything has been turned upside down.

Comments

Pat Randall 10 months ago

"the council says cheaper outside contractors can handle his duties when it comes to building and fire inspections."
Have you ever heard the saying, 'you get what you pay for.' Cheaper isn't usually as good .What about the rest of the things he does? Who is going to do all the paper work and continuing education and do any of them have his qualifications?

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Meria Heller 10 months ago

Cheaper isn't always better. In Payson in fire season his job is more necessary than ever. Our federal government has outsourced everything including war and how has that worked out for the American citizen/consumer? Many thanks to this brave man for his years of service.

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Ted Paulk 10 months ago

The Payson Fire Dept has disconutinued fire inspections and let outside vendors perform the inspections for years folks. The American Legion for one, pays a company from the valley $400 for the annual inspection REQUIRED by the Fire Marshal. I was on the board at the American Legion when I first saw the charge on the finance report and questioned the charge. I'm pretty sure the post is not the only commercial business paying a private contractor for this.

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Ted Paulk 10 months ago

"Battalion chief"? "One captain"...how many do we have? sounds like we have a lot of brass in our little town fire dept.

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Pat Randall 10 months ago

Mr. Seems Mr. Paulk is on the rampage again. Each 'brass' has a particular job with more training and education as they climb the ladder. They don't just walk in the door without that and become 'brass'.

Paulk, any complaints about all the 'brass' in Town Hall? Or are they called assistants? If we could lose some of the assistants or brass in Town Hall, we would have money for the Fire Marshall which is needed for public protection. If we need to get rid of employees, don't do it by taking our fire and police that protect us and put thier life on the line each time they go on a call.

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Barbara Rasmussen 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Mr. Paulk is 100% wrong. He needs to get his facts straight. What businesses are paying for are fire systems to be serviced and extinguishers to be checked and filled, neither of which are done by the fire department. As usual totally misinformed.

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