Deputy Fire Commissioner suddenly steps down

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) –Deputy Buffalo Fire Commissioner Joseph Tomizzi resigned Tuesday, and the rank and file are wondering why.

Mayor Byron brown appointed Tomizzi as one of two Deputy Fire Commissioners in August of 2011. He had been the head of the Arson Investigation Unit until then, but last year became the target of the firefighters union which accused him of running a background check on a co-worker without cause.

“The only reason you’re supposed to be in this database is for a legitimate criminal investigation.” said Erie County Central Police Services Commissioner John Glascott last year when asked about that issue. The city conducted it’s own investigation of that and never removed him as Deputy.

On Tuesday, Tomizzi resigned as Deputy Commissioner and returned to his civil service position as a firefighter. The Mayor’s office says it was for personal reasons that he decided to return and that he will receive his new assignment shortly.

The department is now buzzing about why a Deputy Commissioner with 17 years on the Department would decide to take a demotion. News Four has also learned that high ranking members of the Fire Department received subpoenas a few weeks ago, but it’s unclear whether that investigation has anything to do with him.

His attorney, Terry Connors tells News 4 that Tomizzi is simply reassessing his job, that his father passed away a few weeks ago and he’s been looking to expand his own fire investigation business. Connors says if there is an investigation, Tomizzi will cooperate as he has in the past.

Fire Commissioner Garnell Whitfield says no decision has been made on who will fill the Deputy Commissioner position, but applications will be requested shortly. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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