ANDOVER — Two members of the Fire Department are seeking election to the chief’s position next month, and both said recruiting members is their top priority.

Lt. Jim Adler and firefighter Leo Camire are vying for a three-year term to succeed Chief Justin Tibbetts, who is working full-time in Kingfield and does not have time to continue serving, Town Secretary Martha O’Leary said in December.

Adler has been with the department 13 years and was a selectman from 2014 to 2017. He owns J.L. Adler Carpentry.

He said he’s running because he thinks the chief would have “the best opportunity to put the Fire Department back together.”

It’s down to five people, he said, not including the chief. If he is elected, some of those who left years ago may rejoin, he said.

“I think they were looking for someone to slide in as fire chief and that they (feel that I have) the town’s best interests at heart,” Adler said.


Three years ago there were up to 17 volunteers, he said.

The department roster is so low it’s relying on other fire departments to battle structure fires in town, he said.

Besides the homes of the town’s 800 residents and vacationers, there is an elementary school, the Telstar satellite station, Swazey Construction housed in the former Andover Wood Products mill complex and the historic Chandler mansion, a retreat center.

“That’s our worst nightmare,” Adler said, should the center catch fire.

Adler’s second priority is training on equipment.

“We’ve got to train,” Adler said. “We haven’t trained with the ladder for quite some time, we haven’t trained with Engine 2, which is our tanker, for a very long time. Without training you can’t count on the equipment or the pieces.”


The department has four trucks and one ambulance housed at its station on Main Street. One truck has been out of service for 2½ years and stripped of tools, he said.

Adler said firefighters need to become familiar with the trucks and fix those that are out of service so they can be used.

Camire, whose been with the department for three years, shares Adler’s priorities for signing up volunteers and training them.

 “The No. 1 priority is for me to try and recruit some new members,” Camire said.

“We need some firefighters that can actually go into the building and do that kind of stuff,” he said. “I can’t do that stuff anymore but I can do the management part of it and bring some of my experience to the younger guys and get them involved.”

Camire, who is retired, was a volunteer with the former Danville Fire Department from 1990 to 2000 and with the New Gloucester Fire Department from 2000 to 2002.


He said he has the time and the experience to “get stuff fixed.”

If elected, he said, he plans to ask firefighters for ideas on how to improve the department.

“We need to work together as a team,” he said.

The election will be held Tuesday, March 20.

Staff copy editor Mary Delamater contributed to this report.

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The Andover Fire Station on Main Street houses four firetrucks and one ambulance. Department members Jim Adler and Leo Camire are vying for the chief’s job in the March 20 town elections. (Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times)

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