LIVERMORE — For Fire Chief Donald Castonguay, sometimes it’s the little things that mean the most.

Livermore Fire Chief Donald Castonguay (Courtesy photo)

“I like helping people. It doesn’t have to be very big,” he said.

Castonguay, 62, was born and raised “right here in Livermore.” The high school graduate joined the Livermore Fire Department when he was 20. He has been Fire Chief for about 15 years.

Castonguay has completed Firefighting I and II training plus an additional 40 hours of command training.

“The department does 40 hours of training per year. My file is pretty thick,” he said. “The amount of training is what scares off a lot of volunteers.”

Castonguay felt serving on the fire department was something he could do for his community.

“We’re not doing it for the money. You’ve got to like it. Your family has to support you because you can get called out at any time,” he said.

One day recently he was called out at 1 a.m. for a lift assist. Those calls are to help NorthStar ambulance with transporting a larger patient through their house or down stairs.

Castonguay said his best experience as a firefighter was being part of saving the mansion at the Washburn-Norlands Living History Center.

“Something went right that night. Looking at the pictures you wouldn’t think we should have saved it. There was a lot of fire,” he said.

For Castonguay the worst part of his job are the deaths. There have been quite a few fatal accidents on Route 4 and two house fires where someone didn’t make it out.

“I was one of the first guys to get to Mrs. Goding’s house. I asked if she was out. When I was told, ‘No.” I knew she was gone,” he said.

Castonguay plans to keep doing what he is doing now. He doesn’t seek the limelight and hasn’t really thought about retirement.

“As long as I can do my job and the guys still want me there, I’ll keep going,” he said.

Castonguay and his wife, Jackie, live in a home he built in 1985. Their twins, Brian and Brittany, will be 30 this year. They don’t have any pets.

He enjoys country music: “The old ones of course!” and his truck is welded to Cruisin’ Country, 93.5 FM.

Castonguay likes to read, mysteries mostly and some fire-related stuff.

“I have to put things on Kindle. The writing in some books is too small now,” he said.

Donald has been operating Castonguay Meats since 1982. Years ago he and his uncle cooked with the Knights of Columbus. His uncle created the recipe for a spaghetti sauce and now Donald continues making it for benefit suppers.

“People ask me to cook it for benefits. Sometimes I have to say no, there are so many of them. Two of the biggest ones were for Roger Roy and his wife. He just passed away. He was 70. It’s sad,” he said.

In his spare time he likes to fish, mostly brook and ice fishing. He has done a little trolling but he says it puts him to sleep.

He does a lot of work on his wife’s family camp on Moosehead Lake and all of the woodworking at home.

“One of my goals, when I slow down, is to do more wood turning,” Castonguay said.

“I’m happy where I am in a small town. People have asked if I want to be chief in a bigger town. I don’t. I would have to move.

“Knowing everybody makes it more challenging. At accidents I usually blank out who they are, do my job. Then afterwards I’ll switch and process it,”

Castonguay is always on the lookout for more volunteers. He is lucky to have four career firefighters on his crew.

“They’re young, go-getters. It’s a big help,” he said.

Cstonguay said today’s electronics help him do his job. He foresees a change in the fire service.

“I’m not sure if it will be in my lifetime. Volunteers just aren’t there. Three or four towns are going to come together with a full-time fire department,” he said.

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