CLINTON — Fire Chief Gary Petley has received Maine’s Fire Chief of the Year Award from the Maine Fire Chief Association.

Petley, a 32-year veteran of the Clinton Fire Department, has been chief for 21 years. He said he was surprised and honored by the award.

“It’s like the Academy Awards for fire chiefs,” he joked.

The 400-member association honored Petley on Wednesday during its annual meeting at Sunday River in Newry. The award is based on how well the nominee provides fire prevention education, improves safety within the department, participates in the community and more.

Town Manager Aaron Chrostowsky said Petley fits the criteria.

“Gary is not satisfied with just doing his job, but doing his job better than anyone else and helping others who need the help,” Chrostowsky said in a news release.