The Skowhegan Fire Department got some good news late last week — a grant that will help the department buy self-contained breathing apparatus.

Skowhegan, which is getting $135,000, is among three Maine communities will receive nearly $400,000 in Federal Emegency Management Assistance to Firefighters money.

The two other fire departments getting money are in Bridgewater and Brownfield.

Brownfield, in Oxford County, near the New Hampshire border, will get nearly $239,000 for a new tanker truck.

Bridgewater, north of Houlton on the New Brunswick border, is slated to get $25,000 for personal protective gear worn by firefighters.

The news comes after months of bad news for the Skowhegan Fire Department.

Earlier last week, Skowhegan’s new fire chief, Richard Fowler, was fired by the town manager after it was found the Farmngton, N.H., department is under criminal investigation for possible missing revenue under Fowler’s watch.

Fowler was hired in May to replace Tom Keene, who was terminated in December for medical reasons, a controversial move by then-Town Manager John Doucette Jr.

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.

The state’s congressional delegation lauded the grants late last week.

“Supporting our first-responders means investing in, and providing them with, first-rate equipment,” Rep. Mike Michaud, D-2nd District, said. “These grants from FEMA help the brave firefighters who protect our communities better do their jobs.”

In a joint release, senators Susan Collins and Angus King said the grants “play a vital role in supporting fire departments across Maine.”

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