Camdan Carmichael, 18, of Rangeley became the first full-time firefighter at the Rangeley Fire Rescue Department on Monday. Rangeley Fire Rescue photo

RANGELEY — Camdan Carmichael has returned home to serve a community he knows and loves.

He was hired recently from among several applicants to be the Fire Rescue Department’s first full-time firefighter, Chief Michael Bacon said. Voters approved the position in July. He started the job on Monday.

Rangeley has been growing over the past few years, Bacon said. The need for a full-time firefighter to help him is there. Saddleback in Sandy River Plantation will reopen this season. It is one of the communities that the Rangeley department covers in a more than 600-square-mile area in northern Franklin and Oxford counties. It is not just fires that firefighters respond to. They are called for accidents as well as snowmobile, water, ATV and hiking rescues.

New businesses are popping up throughout town and real estate is booming, Bacon said. With all this, the call volume of the fire department is climbing every day. As of Wednesday, there had been 448 calls, he added.

“We are very busy with tourism and new residential construction. The area is growing with the help of COVID and Saddleback,”  he said. Tourism drives the calls, he said.

He expects by having a full-time firefighter on board, the initial response to an emergency call will be quicker and will put a truck on the road within minutes.

“I have lived up here pretty much my whole life,” Carmichael said.

Carmichael has been a member of the department for five years, beginning as a junior firefighter when he was 14. He turns 19 next month. Former Fire Rescue Chief Tim Pellerin brought Carmichael on board for the fire department.

“I love it. Everybody here are mentors. They taught me everything about the fire service,” Carmichael said. “I love this community. I not only love the community, I wanted to give back to it.”

He believed with his background, experience, certifications and knowledge of the area, he would make a great candidate for the position.

Firefighting runs in Carmichael’s family. His grandfather, great-grandfather and uncles were firefighters, as are his cousins.

Carmichael, a Rangeley Lakes Regional School graduate, was 17 when he enrolled in Foster Career and Technical Education Center’s Firefighting Program at Mt. Blue Campus in Farmington. He obtained his National Firefighter I & II pro-board certificate, according to Bacon.

He also was a junior firefighter captain helping to oversee the junior program during this period. He received his emergency medical technician license as well as certifications for ice water rescue technician, emergency vehicle operation course,  pumps, and advanced extrication, among others.

As a senior, Carmichael also worked with the department in an on-the-job training program through the state with Rangeley Fire Rescue. This program allowed him to work with the department for 40 hours every week as he trained and continued to grow as a firefighter. Following his high school graduation in June, Carmichael was accepted into the Fire Science Program at Southern Maine Community College. He also applied and was accepted into the fire live-in program and assigned to Cumberland Fire Rescue Department as a live-in, per diem firefighter.

His college courses are now done online.


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