GORHAM — Ken Fickett, a 47-year veteran with the department, is the town’s new Fire and Rescue chief.

Fickett Contributed / Town of Gorham

“I’m pleased, excited to move us forward and carrying on,” Fickett said Tuesday.

Fickett, 63, has been the acting chief since Robert Lefebvre’s retirement last August. The Gorham native now becomes the town’s second full-time chief. Lefebvre was appointed in 1987.

Lefebvre said Tuesday he’s pleased with Fickett’s promotion from deputy chief to chief.

“He’s dedicated. He’ll do a phenomenal job,” said Lefebvre, adding that Fickett helped shape the department.

Town Manager Ephrem Paraschak, in a prepared statement, also cited Fickett’s dedication to the department.

“Chief Fickett brings knowledge and dedication to the position,” Paraschak said. “He has led the Gorham Fire Department through some of the worst months of the recent pandemic and I have the utmost faith that he will continue to lead the department through any future challenges.”

On Tuesday morning, Fickett was overseeing a COVID-19 vaccination site for area first responders, one of three such sites in Cumberland County. Sixty shots were administered in Gorham in three hours to police and first responders from several towns, he said, noting that “vaccine is very hard to get.”

“Chief Fickett’s primary goal in the coming year is to ensure a smooth transitionary period and to support our first responders wherever possible as we push through the pandemic,” Paraschak said.

Fickett will appoint his replacement as deputy chief,  along with someone to serve as call company deputy chief to fill the vacancy created when Jim Poitras retired last year.

Fickett was named a full-time deputy fire chief 20 years ago after serving as the call company deputy chief from 1989 to 2001. He began his career in 1974 at age 15 as a Gorham call company member and became a full-time firefighter/EMT in 1999.

Before working full time in the Fire Department, Fickett was a school bus driver and worked in maintenance for the School Department. He is a 1976 graduate of Gorham High School and continued his education at Southern Maine Community College, Southern Maine Vocational Technical Institute and the National Fire Academy and took additional fire science courses at several other schools.

“He cares about the town and the department,” Lefebvre said.

Paraschak said one of Fickett’s initial goals as chief is to maintain and encourage call company participation and service through continual professional development and training.

Fickett said the call service’s role in working with the full time staff is critical to provide public safety for the town’s nearly 18,000 residents. Since Fickett began as deputy chief, the town’s population has increased by 27%.

Gorham Fire and Rescue responded to 2,771 calls between July 1, 2019, and June 30, 2020, with 10 full-time personnel and 100 call company members.

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