WINSLOW — As the state’s firefighting community mourns the loss of longtime Winslow captain and fire school instructor Scott Higgins, funeral arrangements have been set for Saturday.

Winslow fire Capt. Scott Higgins Contributed photo

Higgins died unexpectedly Monday at age 49. His cause of death has not yet been released. Winslow Chief Ronnie Rodriguez said in an email Wednesday that he is waiting to coordinate with Higgins’ family before sharing more information about the incident.

A memorial service will take place at 2 p.m. at Centerpoint Community Church at 155 West River Road in Waterville. There will be a muster at 1:15 p.m. in the church parking lot. Fire officials are being asked to wear Class A uniforms.

In the meantime, there is a 24-hour watch over Higgins’ body at Gallant Funeral Home, which Rodriguez called “one of the most moving tributes that anybody could have” at a Town Council meeting Tuesday night.

Higgins, who was better known as “Scoot,” worked with the Winslow department for approximately 18 years. He also mentored more than 700 students in 10 years at the Central Maine Fire Attack School, according to the school’s vice president and treasurer Vicki Dill. Dill is a firefighter for West Gardiner.

“Scoot was a very personal person,” noted Sidney fire Chief Richard Jandreau and president of Central Maine Fire Attack School. “He actually went above and beyond for the fire service not just in his community, but statewide. He was an enormous person. His smile gave him away all the time.”

Jandreau said Higgins, who was president of the Winslow-based fire school from 2017-2018, mostly taught pumper-related classes, including Pumps I and Pumps II. The school offers one of only a handful of firefighter training programs in Maine, according to Jandreau and Dill.

“Pretty much all the firefighters that want to operate a fire truck have to go through (those courses),” Jandreau remarked, speaking to the breadth of Higgins’ impact. “It teaches you knowledge of pumping a truck without losing the water. It’s a big thing, especially for operators of the apparatus. (Higgins) taught students from Massachusetts all the way to Fort Kent, Maine.”

Dill and Jandreau met Higgins in a fire instructor class in Waterville nearly 15 years ago.

“He was very supportive of me when I first met him,” Dill recalled. “I think I was the only girl in the class. If I didn’t know what I was doing or if I had questions, Scoot would always say, ‘You can do it.’ He’d offer encouragement and say ‘Don’t give up,’ and ‘If you have any questions, call me.’ He was always funny, and we’d talk and laugh and do fun things through fire attack school, like banquets and things. We might be eating, talking and laughing and if someone else showed up, we’d joke about how our food bill would be even more. But when it came to business, it was business. He strived to make sure everyone was taught properly.”

Dill and Jandreau said Higgins would go out of his way to get to know people on a personal level and make sure their opinions were heard.

“He had a big heart and always found the good in everybody,” Dill said. “If meetings were getting heated or off topic, he could bring it right back to point. He was just awesome. I’m gonna miss him terribly.”

Dill added that a typical greeting from Higgins would include a “Hi, how are you doing,” a hug, a handshake and a smile.

“He was just an awesome person to be around,” she said. “If you were having a bad day, he could certainly help you change that.”

“Everything he did just stuck out,” Jandreau added. “He was unbelievable, he really was. … He just went above and beyond for people. He’s gonna be sorely missed.”

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