Portland fire chief announces retirement

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PORTLAND — After nearly 30 years, Portland Fire Chief Frederick LaMontagne announced Thursday he plans to retire.

In a press release, City Manager Mark Rees said LaMontagne intends to pursue new professional opportunities. His last day will be April 1.

LaMontagne started his career as a firefighter in Portland, rising up through the ranks to his current position as chief, which he has held since October 2001. He integrated the emergency medical service and firefighting, and has pushed for regionalization of fire services.

He led the city’s response to many large Portland fires, including the fire that engulfed the former Jordan’s Meats building two years ago.

More recently, LaMontagne and Rees came under fire – and the chief instituted policy changes in the department last November – after the city’s $3.2 million fire boat suffered $38,000 worth of damage during a non-emergency excursion led by two firefighters who were later suspended. Dozens of the firefighters’ friends and relatives were aboard the boat when the accident occurred.

Rees said he intends to do a national search for the next fire chief and is working with LaMontagne on a transition plan.

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