Rangeley fire chief set to retire

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RANGELEY — The  Board of Selectmen has accepted the resignation of longtime fire Chief Rudy Davis.

The resignation, which was read and accepted “with regret” Tuesday, is effective May 1.

Davis has been chief for 12 years and, according to testimony from townspeople and supervisors, has been an example of good communication, efficiency and inspiring leadership. Davis was the town’s first full-time fire chief. Several supervisors said the position should remain full time.

Before becoming chief in 2000, Davis, 62, worked for the Maine Forest Service for 27 years. He has lived in Rangeley since 1975.

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“I’ve had a great time, and I’ll still be part of the company,” Davis said, “but at my age I need to think about scaling back.”

In his updates to the board, Davis said several expenses need to be met soon. In repairing the water pump of Engine 3, the town mechanic discovered that the vehicle’s radiator needed repair or replacement. Davis recommended recoring the radiator and the board approved.

Selectmen also approved Davis’ recommendation for the purchase of a new rescue tool that will cut through the metal used in new car construction. Similar to the Jaws of Life hydraulic tool, the device was demonstrated to the department in September. The demo model was offered to the department for $9,400, a savings of $3,000.

The tool is battery-operated and would not need hydraulic oil pressure to work. The vendor has set it aside for Rangeley, with no further demonstrations.

In other business, selectmen:

* Discussed new firetrucks needed to replace current models in the next few years. The department is looking at used custom models, about 10 years old, that should last at least three decades.

* Discussed, with reference to Davis’ resignation, a change in policy to have the fire chief report directly to the town manager, rather than to selectmen. They decided to see how other communities handle the situation.

* Heard from Linda Sikes on the success of the previous weekend’s Pond Hockey Tournament, and thanked town boards and agencies for their cooperation and support.

“We had 12 rinks for 48 teams, which gave us a very relaxed schedule,” Sikes said. “We had a two-hour lunch break and all the local businesses, from what I’ve heard, were very happy.”

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