SABATTUS — The search is on for a new fire chief after longtime firefighter Don Therrien resigned earlier in the week.

Town Manager Andrew Gilmore said he has put together a five-person interview panel to help with the selection. The town is accepting resumes until the end of the day April 12. Gilmore expects to present his appointment to selectmen on April 30.

The reason for Therrien’s departure was not clear. In his letter of resignation, he wrote: “I wish the fire department success in the future. It is with a heavy heart that I will be unavailable to continue being a part of the Sabattus Fire Department’s future.”

Therrien is also a firefighter in Auburn. His last day on the Sabattus department was March 24. He had served there since 1979.

Therrien was elected fire chief twice, in 2005 and again in 2009, Gilmore said. In 2005 he was elected chief by the members of the Fire Association. In 2006, the membership elected another man, Gilmore said.

They elected Don Therrien again in 2009 and then the town ended the practice of the Fire Association electing the chief and its officers. The town adopted a charter in 2007 and the practice should have ended then, Gilmore said, but it took a couple of years for the town to catch up to all of the changes.

“So,” Gilmore said, “this will actually be the first time the next fire chief will go through the same formal selection process as other department heads.”

On Friday, Gilmore praised Therrien’s long commitment to the volunteer fire department.

“Don Therrien joined the Sabattus Fire Department in 1979 and served the Sabattus community for more than 30 years,” Gilmore said. “The townspeople are grateful for his many years of service and wish him well in his full-time career”

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