Martinez Volunteer Fire Department Lt. Robert Scozinski, a board member vying for another three-year term on the departments board of trustees, cast his vote at the annual subscriber meeting last Tuesday.
Photo by Valerie Rowell
Who says firefighters only put out fires?
The Martinez Volunteer Fire Department showed it does much more than that at it's annual subscriber meeting Tuesday night at their headquarters. According to Chief Doug Cooper, the department responded to more than 28,00 calls in 2002, 974 of them being medical calls in the which the department acted as First Responders.
In fact, David Butler and James Thomas, two Emergency Medical Technicians in the department, were honored at the meeting for reviving and saving the life of two patients in full cardiac arrest before the ambulance arrived.
Also, the department named Co-Firefighters of the Year for 2002 as Jason Thomas and Vinny Vizzari - both nominated by boar vice president Daniel Gwinn, who was in charge at the fire scene and accompanied them into a burning home.
The trio braved flames above and below them during the Oct. 4 fire at the Martinez home of Harry and Linda Spivey. Neighbors told the firefighters the family was trapped inside, but firefighters were too late and the fire was too intense. Three members of the family - including daughter, Holly - perished in the fire.
"I am just doing my job," Thomas said in his response to the award.
Of the department's 126 members manning six stations, 72 are volunteers.
"This is one group I am very proud of," said board president James Champion. "They are the heart of this department. They do an outstanding job and save the taxpayers a lot of money."
The more than 150 firefighters, volunteers and Martinez-Evans area residents present at the meeting elected two longtime department members to three-year terms on the board. Combined, Chaplain Richard Thigpen, a 26-year department veteran, and 15-year department firefighter Ray Troiano, have served more than 15 years on the board, which governs the operations of the department.
"It is the best (department) around," Troiano said after the results were announced.
Assistant Chief David Butler explained how the department's projected $3,522,000 2003 budget will hopefully be used. The budget is $343,000 more than last year with increases in salaries, insurance, truck and radio maintenance, protective gear, computer expense and capital investments.
Butler also discussed goals for 2003, which include a new $1.5 million headquarters building, ordering a new aerial truck and hiring three firefighters.
"I am confident that this time next year, we will be meeting in our new headquarters building," Butler said.
The current board agreed on a list of long-term goals projected through 2007, which includes new personnel each year, another truck and the construction of Engine Company 7.
"It is basically our wish list," Butler said. "If we have the funds, these things will move the department forward."
The department does not need any help with it's fire safety education program. According to Chief Cooper, the department spread it's fire safety message to almost 4,000 children in locals schools and day care centers and another 4,000 at events including Fire Fest 2002 and school carnivals. In 2002, the number of fire calls was lower than 2001.
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