Wednesday, 10 October 2018 22:19

Fire officials recognized, department expanding Featured

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BANGOR - Not one, but two, Bangor Fire Department officials were honored at Wednesday's city council meeting.


Bangor Fire Chief Thomas Higgins said they've brought on new firefighters and created a new position to better serve Bangor.


Chief Higgins was honored in his home city at Wednesday night's council meeting after gaining state recognition.


He was named the Maine Fire Chiefs' Association's Fire Chief of the Year, and was praised by the Bangor City Council for his four years as chief and 20+ years of service to the department.


"It's humbling," said Chief Higgins. "All I want to do is come to work and do a good job everyday. And work with a bunch of great people."


Firefighters said Bangor's department gets more than 10,000 calls a year. To keep up with demand, the department made a new position.


This week, former Bangor Fire Department Captain Eric Pelletier started as the first Bangor Deputy Fire Chief.


The right-hand man to Chief Higgins, Deputy Chief Pelletier will help with the EMS division, and take over daily operations when the chief is on a call.


The new position was formally introduced at Wednesday's council meeting.


"I'm honored and humbled," said Deputy Fire Chief Pelletier. "We're not in this job for accolades and awards. You know, we're just here to do a good job and provide the best service that we can."


But the Bangor Fire Department isn't just expanding its leadership roles. Seven new recruits have just finished training, replacing positions left behind by retiring firefighters. Four more recruits will be coming on thanks to a federal SAFER grant. And an additional two new firefighters will join to replace others retiring.


For one of the new recruits who started this month, fighting fires is all in the family.


"My father was a Bangor fireman for 35 years," said firefighter and EMT Chad Spann, "gave me a good motivation to, you know, see what dad did. And I've been around the fire house for a long time."


And as the department expands, the firefighters haven't forgotten why they started.


"I'm a people person, I like getting out there," said Spann.

"I enjoy helping people," said Pelletier. "It's the best part of the job."


Kelly Mitchell

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Kelly Mitchell joined the news team in March of 2018. She grew up splitting her time between York, ME and Haverhill, MA, but her favorite childhood memories took place along the rocky coast of southern Maine. She's now e...