Farmington Fire Rescue Chief Terry Bell will resign Nov. 30. He is seen at center during a tour of the Western Maine Public Safety Training Facility Aug. 3, 2020. File photo/Livermore Falls Advertiser

FARMINGTON — Selectmen Tuesday night, Oct. 12, accepted the resignation of Farmington Fire Rescue Chief Terry Bell with gratitude.

“We look forward to his continued service to the Fire Department in other positions,” Selectman and firefighter Stephan Bunker said.

“Thankfully he’s going to stay in the department, stay active,” Selectman Chairman Matthew Smith said. “He’s just stepping down as chief. We thank him for what he has done for this community over the years.”

Bell joined the Fire Department in April of 1977. He has served as the chief since June of 2000.

“I have done my best to ensure the betterment of the fire department and protection of the community I have lived in all my life,” Bell wrote in his letter of resignation. “This would not have been possible without the efforts of all our fire department’s members, as well as the support of the manager, select board, other town departments’ staff and the community.

“I have enjoyed being the Chief and it is time for a new chief to help further the betterment of the department and community,” he noted.

“It was just time,” Bell said Wednesday when asked about his decision. “I’ve done it for 21 years.”

Everything has been enjoyable as chief with the exception of Sept. 16, 2019 (the date of the explosion at the LEAP building in Farmington that killed a veteran firefighter and injured seven others), he said. “The people are great. The selectmen, town manager made it easy to work here. The citizens have been great to work with and for.”

Former Chief Robert McCleery did a great job, Bell said  and he hopes he has carried that forward.

While under Bell’s tenure the Western Maine Public Safety Training Facility became a reality in 2020. The idea and concept of a regional training center had been in the works for more than 10 years.

In 2019 a $539,964 grant was awarded for the project by the Maine Fire Protection Services Commission. The facility was built in 2020 off the Seamon Road on Regional School Unit 9 property. Firefighting students in the Forster Career and Technical Education Center and other fire departments may train at the facility after clearing availability with Farmington Fire Rescue.

“I’m still going to be around,” Bell said. He then quipped, “I’m not going too far unless I get a great offer.”

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