TUSAYAN, Ariz. — Ray D’Albini recently joined the Tusayan Fire Department as assistant fire chief. Lora Pitsinger, who served the department for more than 20 years, resigned in March.
“I want to extend my appreciation to Lora for all she has done for us,” said Fire Chief Greg Brush.
D’Albini comes to Tusayan after working with the Casa Grande, Arizona fire department. Despite being a career firefighter, D’Albini said he was ready to get away from the heat.
“It’s 102 degrees in Casa Grande today,” he said. "Tusayan is 80 degrees."
D’Albini entered the fire service in 1993 after graduating with a degree in fire science from Central Arizona College in Sierra Vista, Arizona.
Life as a firefighter was nothing new to Ray — his father was a firefighter for the U.S. Department of Defense at Fort Huachuca in Sierra Vista.
Although most of D’Albini’s experience is with structural firefighting, he also has some experience with wildland fires. D’Albini has been an emergency medical technician for the past 13 years.
“We all throw in together around here,” he said. “Everyone has experience that they bring to the table.”
Calls to the department were up about 14 percent last year, and Brush said the department is working to schedule and train more personnel to make sure all shifts are adequately covered with both firefighters and emergency medical technicians. Brush said the department works to ensure that at least two EMTs are assigned to each shift.
Finding enough volunteers to staff the department has been a challenge, Brush said, and the department is always looking to supplement its four full-time staff.