Deputy Fire Chief Rich Kindelan will take the helm of the Scarborough Fire Department and Emergency Management Agency when Fire Chief Michael Thurlow retires in January after 20 years in the top spot.

Kindelan has played a critical role in the town’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Scarborough officials said. He kept municipal employees informed, ordered personal protective equipment, managed contact tracing and made sure the town got reimbursed for pandemic-related costs.

Rich Kindelan

Deputy Chief Rich Kindelan has been appointed to replace Chief Michael Thurlow when he retires in January. Photo courtesy town of Scarborough

“His leadership, not only in our department, but also with the town’s senior management team through the challenges of this COVID pandemic, has certainly helped demonstrate some of his many skills and abilities,” said Thurlow, who has been with the department for nearly 46 years.

Kindelan has worked in fire and emergency services for 28 years, according to a written release from the town.

He began his career in 1988 as a volunteer firefighter while in high school in Connecticut and enlisted in the Air Force as a fire protection specialist. He graduated from the Fire Rescue Academy at Chanute Air Force Base in Illinois and served on active duty during the Gulf War.

Kindelan continued to study fire science while in the Air Force and paramedicine at Kennebec Valley Community College. He has since worked in various fire departments throughout Maine, including Brunswick Naval Air Station, Gardiner, Yarmouth and Old Orchard Beach, gaining more than 10 years of experience in supervisory positions.


He joined the Scarborough department in 2018. Town Manager Tom Hall appointed Kindelan to be the local health officer in May.

“Rich has an intimate knowledge of the community, the department and its staff,” 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 also applied for and won grants from the Maine Department of Labor for health and safety initiatives, and from the Keep Maine Healthy program for equipment that tests respiratory fitness.

“Chief Thurlow has left our department and our community poised for a bright future,” Kindelan 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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