By Ron Ayotte, Contributing writer
Marlborough – On Feb. 26, Captain Paul M. Zompetti worked his last shift as a firefighter for the city of Marlborough.
Zompetti, affectionately called “Zomp” by the members of the MFD, started his career as a member of the Marlborough Fire Department Auxiliary in 1974 when he was in junior high school. He was appointed as a call firefighter in 1980 and as a career firefighter in January 1982.
He was promoted to lieutenant in 1996 and to captain in 2017.
In addition to his work at the Marlborough Fire Department, he also works at the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy in the Support Branch.
Zompetti was also a charter member of the state’s Hazardous Materials Response Teams, serving in HazMat District 3 which covers 64 communities in the commonwealth.
In 1996, he left the Support Branch and went to work in the HazMat office. He is charge of maintaining the meters and other chemical detection equipment for the state’s 19 HazMat trucks, which consist of six technical response units, 12 equipment trucks and the support vehicle that maintains the supplies to replenish equipment used on scene.
Zompetti’s tenure on the HazMat team will end with his retirement, but he will still work for the Department of Fire Services.
When asked about what he will miss upon his retirement from the MFD, Zompetti stated, “the people I work with on shift and the kitchen table banter.”
“I won’t miss the code enforcement part of the job and the people who feel they are ‘entitled,’” he noted. “It’s hard to keep up with all the changes in codes and regulations.”
His work has changed a lot since he began decades ago.
“The job has changed dramatically,” he said. “It’s time for a new generation of firefighters and technology. It is a young man’s job… the physical toll that the job takes on you is tremendous.” Zompetti was injured twice in the line of duty, breaking his back in a fall at the Hitching Post Restaurant fire in 1999 and at a call at New Horizons, where he suffered another back injury.
A few of the things Zompetti is looking forward to is no more working night tours of duty, finishing up a few projects, and spending time with his wife of 39 years, Cindy, and their two adopted daughters.