RICHMOND — The town’s new fire chief said he knows he has big shoes to fill.

Matt Roberge was elected by his fellow firefighters as their new leader, taking the place of former Chief Andrew Pierce.

Pierce retired July 1 after 35 years with the fire department, the last seven as chief.

“I plan to continue what Chief Pierce put together and keep the department running well, and continue the good working relationships we have with surrounding towns,” said Roberge, 40, who has been a firefighter in town for 11 years, and before that in Bowdoinham. “I just want to continue what he set up.”

Roberge was elected to a two-year term by the members of the fire department last month and his selection as chief was confirmed by the Board of Selectmen June 13.

Roberge has previously served as a captain with the Fire Department, though he held the rank of firefighter when he was elected chief. He has been a firefighter for about 18 years.

Roberge is a software programmer for Aetna, which has an office in South Portland. However, he said he often works from home in Richmond.

He lives with his wife, Dianne, and 10-year-old son, Brendan.

“I’m honored to have the ability to serve in this position and honored the members think I can lead the department,” Roberge said.

Clarence Cummins, chairman of the selectmen, said he didn’t know Roberge personally but had heard good things about him and expressed confidence he’ll be a good fire chief.

Cummins noted Roberge could do well to emulate his predecessor in Pierce, who owns Pierce’s Country Store in Richmond and who became chief in 2005, after former Chief Richard Emmons retired from the position.

“Chief Pierce was with us for a long time and did an excellent job,” Cummins said. “We’re sorry to see his tenure came to an end.”

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

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