NEW GLOUCESTER — Interviews of candidates for fire chief will continue Feb. 8, Town Manager Carrie Castonguay said Friday.

The search began in November with some of the 38 applicants interviewed. The 38 are from the local Fire Department, New England, Washington, Michigan, Delaware and Colorado, Castonguay said.

Last month, the search was extended and seven more people applied, she said.

Conducting the interviews are Castonguay, interim Fire Chief Sherman Lahaie, who is not a candidate, Selectman Karen Gilles, Ben Tettlebaum of New Gloucester and Krista Bureau, a paramedic from Poland.

Castonguay said no special credentials are required for the position, but the team is looking at candidates with at least an associate degree in fire science and a person with line officer experience.

The position pays between $50,000 and $70,000, depending on qualifications.

Lahaie, with 50 years of service, has been working full-time since Thanksgiving carrying out the administrative duties. He said he retired from the U.S. Forest Service in New Hampshire and was a former fire chief in Lewiston and Veazie. He also served on the National Fire Academy in Maryland.

“The burden placed on first responders today is different from 50 years ago,” he said. “There is safety training, fire technology, community service, technology and fire ground management. There are increased hazards faced today.”

In early November, former Fire Chief James Ladewig returned to work after a paid administrative leave. He resigned the day after his return and after an investigation by Castonguay.

At the same time, Castonguay suspended Deputy Fire Chief Roger Levasseur, who has served the department for decades and was in charge of the department while Ladewig was on leave.

Castonguay would not comment on the status of Levasseur’s suspension.

New Gloucester Town Manager Carrie Castonguay

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