Published in the Current and the American Journal
Kevin Guimond of Cape Elizabeth, a 16-year veteran of the South Portland Fire Department, is the new South Portland fire chief, replacing John True Jr., who retired in April after 10 years in the top slot and 35 years in firefighting.
Deputy Chief Miles Haskell has been acting chief in the interim and will continue as deputy chief. City Manager Jeff Jordan said 11 people applied for the job, mostly from Greater Portland, with “a handful” from within the South Portland Fire Department.
One of those was Westbrook Fire Chief Gary Littlefield, who told this newspaper he had interviewed for the job.
Jordan called Guimond, 36, who up until now was a lieutenant with the department, “a real bright guy” with a lot of experience. He is a paramedic level instructor who “has really been a part of a lot of major decisions” in the department, including the West End Fire Station committee and the decision to consolidate fire and police dispatching, Jordan said.
Guimond found out about his new job Friday afternoon and was “excited” about the decision. He wants to “continue the path we’re on,” with cross training to give firefighters other skills, including emergency medicine and hazardous materials handling.
He said he is interested in the department’s conversation about sharing services with Cape Elizabeth, but “it’s got to be the right fit.”
“Our call companies are running really well,” Guimond said. One way to improve them could be to share staff. “Neither community has enough call staff,” he said.
Guimond, who also is a part-time paramedic with the Cape Elizabeth Rescue, could be a good candidate to bridge any gaps between the departments, which already share an extensive mutual-aid agreement.
He will “take a little break” from his work in Cape Elizabeth to focus on his new job, but hopes to be able to be involved there.