SKOWHEGAN — The current fire chief in Farmington, N.H., was appointed Tuesday night as the new Skowhegan fire chief.
Richard E. Fowler Jr., 47, is scheduled to start May 13. He takes over for longtime firefighter and chief Tom Keene, who was terminated Dec. 30 by then-Town Manager John Doucette Jr.
Fowler’s starting salary will be $56,000, about the same as he was earning in Farmington, he said by phone before the meeting. He said Farmington has a population of about 7,000 people. Skowhegan has a population of about 9,000.
Keene, 58, had been a firefighter for more than 40 years and chief for 21 years. In the last two years, both his legs were amputated because of complications from diabetes. He went on medical leave Sept. 19 after his most recent surgery.
On hand to greet the new chief at the selectmen’s meeting Tuesday night were about 16 members of the Skowhegan Fire Department, the Skowhegan police chief and the deputy police chief.
Fowler was sworn in by Betty Austin, chairwoman of the Board of Selectmen. Fowler’s wife, Cindy, pinned the new badge on his shirt.
Fowler has been a firefighter since he was 18 and fire chief in Farmington for the past 10 years.
He said he wanted to move to Maine in part because his wife is from Houlton and has relatives in the state.
“We were just kind of looking for a change,” he said. “I’ve been chief down there for 10 years and done a lot of everything I wanted to accomplish and looking for some different challenges and be closer to my wife’s family.”