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Brunswick Fire Department chief to retire in April

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Brunswick Fire Department chief to retire in April

BRUNSWICK — Clark Labbe will retire as fire chief on April 2, 2010, he announced Monday in a letter to Town Manager Gary Brown.

Labbe, 54, has served 37 years with the Brunswick Fire Department. Five of those years have been as chief.

"The men and women of the Brunswick Fire Department are, and have always been, dedicated professionals; they are clearly among the best firefighters in the State and I am proud to have served with them," Labbe said in his letter.

Labbe added that he would miss "the camaraderie of the fire department, the support of the other department heads, the administration and the Council. I will miss the rewards and personal fulfillment that one can only know through serving the public and I will certainly miss the challenges and the excitement that come with emergency service. I do however look forward to uninterrupted nights, not having a radio on my belt and taking the time to enjoy Maine summers."

Don Gerrish, who retired after 20 years as Brunswick town manager last December, called Labbe "a true professional."

"He was extremely dedicated and professional in the job, and always was there when you needed him," Gerrish said. "He really worked to progress the department, and really was an outstanding department head and outstanding chief. I really have the highest respect for Clark Labbe."

Labbe said Brown led him to believe that advertising for a new chief will begin next month, and that the position would be open to people inside and outside of the department.

Firefighting runs in the blood for Labbe, who has two children. His grandfather, Albert Labbe, was a driver for the department, and his father, George Labbe, was both a firefighter and driver, and also served as chief.

During Labbe's time at the helm Brunswick has added a fire station at Cook's Corner; new tower and hazardous material response trucks, and two new engines. Six firefighters have been added in recent years to bring the full-time department staff to 32, in addition to Labbe and two deputy chiefs.

"I feel as though I've accomplished the things that I set out to do," Labbe said. "... I'm just looking forward to slowing down, and enjoying life a little more."

Alex Lear can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net.