SCARBOROUGH — Fire Chief Michael Thurlow announced that he will be retiring in early January, having just celebrated his 20-year mile stone as fire chief.

On Sept. 17, Thurlow’s message of retirement received positive attention from Facebook users, the post accumulating over 300 reactions and over 200 comments.

Thurlow has been with the Scarborough Fire Department for over 45 years, he said. He started with the Pine Point Fire Company on his 16th birthday.

“I can’t begin to describe how honored I am to have served the citizens of Scarborough for all these years,” he said in the announcement. “I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to work with some of the best town managers, department heads, and public safety personnel anywhere, and I’m very proud of what we have accomplished together.”

In 1982, Thurlow became the youngest deputy chief when he was appointed to the rank, he said.

“For over 45 years I’ve rarely missed a Pine Point Fire Company business meeting on the (first) Tuesday of the month,” he said. “I’m also extremely proud that my son, Michael, joined the department as soon as he was old enough, becoming the (fourth) generation of our family to serve the SFD.”

Thurlow will retire on Jan. 7, he said.

“The time for this announcement seems right for a number of reasons both personal and professional,” Thurlow said. “Personally, I turn 62 early next year. Forty-four years ago, this fall, at 17 years of age while a junior in high school, I bought my grandfather’s retail seafood market upon his retirement at age 62. Prior to becoming Fire Chief, I spent the first 25 years of my adult life growing and expanding that business and shipping lobsters and other seafood all over the country. Being a small business owner requires 7-day/week attention. It means taking risks, and the constant stress of worrying about meeting payroll, and taking care of your employees and customers. Similarly, the fire department is a 24/7/365 commitment.”

He added, “As much as I’ve enjoyed serving the citizens of Scarborough, I have to admit that no longer getting up in the middle of the night, having to carry a pager, listen to the scanner, or bearing the immense responsibility and stress of making sure all my members go home safely each shift is very appealing at this stage of my life.”

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