Nicholas Sohyda is Mt. Lebanon’s fire chief. The fire chief, appointed by the municipal manager and accountable to the elected officials, is responsible for developing the organization’s vision and implementing appropriate management processes to accomplish the goals of the department’s strategic plan and Standards of Coverage documents. Chief Sohyda joined the department in 1999 and was promoted to fire chief in 2006. The chief holds an associate degree in fire science from the University of Cincinnati and a bachelor’s degree in fire administration from Empire State College. He is a graduate of the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program, is certified as a Fire Officer IV, and has received his Chief Fire Officer Designation from the Commission of Professional Credentialing.
Sean Daniels is the assistant fire chief. Chief Daniels is responsible for scheduling, payroll, billing, reporting, and administration of the Department’s records management systems. Sean joined the Mt. Lebanon Fire Department in 2002 as a volunteer firefighter, was hired as a career firefighter in 2005, and promoted to assistant fire chief in 2017. Sean has a master’s degree in business administration from Canisius College, a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Buffalo, and a bachelor’s degree in fire prevention from Western Illinois University. Sean is certified as a Fire Officer II.
Deputy Chief, Operations and Emergency Management
Chris Buttlar is in charge of Operations & Emergency Management. Deputy Chief Buttlar is responsible for implementing and updating standard operating guidelines, reviewing deployment and operational procedures, the Municipal Emergency Operations Plan and Emergency Operations Center, and the Community Emergency Response Team. Chris also oversees the technical rescue, hazmat and EMS operations. Chris joined the department in 1991 and was promoted to deputy chief in 2000. Deputy Chief Buttlar earned an associate degree in Fire Science from the Community College of Allegheny County and is certified as a Fire Officer II.
Deputy Chief, Community Outreach
Rodger Ricciuti is in charge of the Community Outreach Division, which delivers numerous fire and life safety programs to the community and participates in many community events. The division also is responsible for marketing the department’s mission and programs. Rodger joined the department as a volunteer in 1982, became a career fire officer in 1989, and was promoted to deputy chief in 2005. Deputy Chief Ricciuti earned an associate degree in fire science from the Community College of Allegheny County, is certified as a Fire Officer II, and is a member of PA Urban Search & Rescue Strike Team 1 and is a squad leader with the SHACOG Technical Rescue Team.
Deputy Chief, Resource Management
Joe Thuransky is in charge of Resource Management. Deputy Chief Thuransky is responsible for the maintenance, repair, and inventory of all equipment, including personal protective, small equipment and apparatus. Joe joined the department as a volunteer in 1990, spent five years as a career firefighter in Arlington, Virginia, rejoined the department as a career fire officer in 1999 and was promoted to deputy chief in 2007. Deputy Chief Thuransky earned an associate degree in fire science from the Community College of Allegheny County and is certified as a Fire Officer II.
Deputy Chief, Training
Loren Hughes is the department’s Training Officer and oversees the department’s safety committee. Deputy Chief Hughes is responsible for the management, coordination, and delivery of training for the department’s recruit, volunteer and career firefighters. Loren joined the department in 2000 and was promoted to deputy chief in 2018. Deputy Chief Hughes earned an associate degree in fire science from Westmoreland County Community College and a bachelor’s degree in fire science from Columbia Southern University. Deputy Chief Hughes is certified as a Fire Officer III.
Deputy Chief, Prevention
Kurt Christofel is in charge of the Fire Prevention & Life Safety Education Division. The division is responsible for commercial building inspections, plans review, permits, acceptance testing, and delivering fire and life safety education programs in the community’s schools. Kurt joined the volunteer fire service in 1991, joined the department in 2011 as a Career Fire Lieutenant and was promoted to deputy chief in 2020. Deputy Chief Christofel earned an Associate’s degree in fire science administration from Point Park University, and will graduate from Point Park University in 2022 with a Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration. Chief Christofel is certified as a Fire Officer II, Fire Inspector III, Plans Examiner II, and is a credentialed Fire Officer through the Commission on Professional Credentialing. Chief Christofel is an adjunct instructor with the Pennsylvania State Fire Academy and holds numerous other fire service certifications.
Volunteer Board of Directors
The Volunteer Board of Directors includes Steve Noorbakhsh (President), Michael Baker (Vice President), Steve Posti (Secretary), Robert Fischer (Treasurer), Joe Gavita (Director), Mark Weitzman (Director), Brad Craft (Director) and Dave Dorn (Director). The Volunteer Board is responsible for the volunteer budget, recruitment and retention programs, volunteer incentives, and the volunteer constitution and by-laws. It works closely with the fire chief to advance the department’s goals and objectives.