Rich Kindelan has been chosen to become Scarborough’s new fire chief when B. Michael Thurlow retires in January. Courtesy photo

Richard Kindelan, who is currently serving as a deputy fire chief for the Town of Scarborough, has been named to succeed Fire Chief B. Michael Thurlow as Scarborough’s new fire chief/EMA director. Chief Thurlow is retiring in January 2022, after over 20 years as chief and nearly 46 years of total service to the department.

Kindelan has a 28-year career in fire and emergency services. He began his career in 1988, as a volunteer firefighter in Connecticut and after high school, he enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1991 as a fire protection specialist. He has since served in departments of various sizes throughout Maine, including Naval Air Station Brunswick, Gardiner, Yarmouth, and Old Orchard Beach, and progressed through the ranks of lieutenant, captain and deputy fire chief. Kindelan has more than 10 years of experience in supervisory roles and is a member of the Scarborough Fire Department’s senior management team.

Kindelan graduated from the Department of Defense Fire Rescue Academy at the Chanute Air Force Base in Illinois and went on to serve on active duty during the first Gulf War. He also studied Fire Science through the Community College of the Air Force and paramedicine at Kennebec Valley Community College in 2005.

“Rich has done a tremendous job throughout his impressive military and fire/EMS service career preparing him for this opportunity and challenge,” said Fire Chief Thurlow. “His leadership not only in our department, but also with the town’s senior management team through the challenges of this COVID pandemic, have certainly helped demonstrate some of his many skills and abilities.”

In Kindelan’s current position as Scarborough’s deputy fire chief-EMS director, he is responsible for the administration of the emergency medical services division and assisting with coordination of emergency management activities, Bureau of Labor compliance, and local health officer duties. “As our department’s responsibilities evolve and our community grows, my extensive knowledge of fire suppression principles will help analyze the operational performance of our department and collaborate with stakeholders to identify efficiencies.”

Kindelan has had several notable accomplishments since joining the Scarborough Fire Department in 2018. He has successfully obtained grants for the department, including one from the Bureau of Labor for health and safety initiatives, as well as a Keep Maine Healthy grant for a machine to efficiently test individuals for proper respiratory fit. Kindelan played a critical role in supporting the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. He assisted all town staff with navigating information, handled the logistics of PPE ordering, contact tracing, disseminating timely information, and working with FEMA’s Public Assistance program to be reimbursed for pandemic-related expenditures incurred. In May 2021, Kindelan was appointed by the town manager to the role of local health officer.

“Rich has an intimate knowledge of the community, the department and its staff,” Town Manager Tom Hall said. “His professionalism, skill and dedication to the fire service has always been evident, but the challenges of the pandemic have provided an opportunity for Rich to excel by demonstrating his leadership and a steady hand.”

Kindelan is eager to step into the role of fire chief for the Town of Scarborough. “Over his time here, Chief Thurlow has left our department and our community poised for a bright future,” he said. “I’m excited for the opportunity to build on the foundations set by my predecessors and take the department to the next level.”

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