• Home
  • Public Information
  • Our Community
  • Upcoming Events
  • About Us
  • Great Links
  • Annual Report for 2008 Southwest Harbor Fire Department

    Southwest Harbor Fire Department
    Annual Report for the year of 2008

    The Fire Department responded 102 times to calls for assistance during the year of 2008. These calls were logged as:

    Structure Fires 14 Automobile/boats 3
    Motor vehicle accidents 14 Rescue Calls 3
    Emergency Medical calls 9 Vegetation Fires 7
    Investigations 20 Hazardous conditions 16
    Assist other agencies 8 Other Calls 8

    The most memorable call was to Northeast Harbor during July for a multiple building structure fire on Main Street. This called on our department as well as fire departments from all over Hancock County to put all that we have been training for to the acid test of saving an entire community from devastation. I was very pleased to see how easily the 28 Members we sent join together with the responders from other communities to battle this crisis and saw the investment in quality and extensive training amongst all the departments paid for during this one call. In the end I came away relieved that we were able to keep this terrible destruction to three buildings and protected an historic and vital community. This call also reminded us how vulnerable our own communities are to the destructive forces of fire. Southwest Harbor’s downtown district is remarkably similar to that in Northeast Harbor with its closely spaced frequently expanded buildings in a compact zone. While we grimly remark that we were glad it was not in our community we must realize that what Northeast Harbor suffered last summer could easily have found our town in its crosshairs. We will use the experience from this fire to fine tune our training, equipment purchases and pre-planning efforts to give us the best advantage possible should we be faced with a similar emergency

    Mother Nature pulled a fast one on our community just days before Thanksgiving by extinguishing the power to the town for almost 48 hours. Members of the Fire Department and the Fire Association opened the fire house as an emergency shelter providing a warm shelter, food and the most popular item, water for toilets, to more than 30 persons during the period. I thank all that turned out to help out during these days along with all those that donated food and drink for those in need. This was a true example of a community taking care of its own in the Maine Spirit.

    The Southwest Harbor Fire Association spent the year on fund raising activities brining in sufficient funds to purchase two new thermal imaging cameras for the Department. This technology has been as revolutionary an advancement in fire fighting as the air pack and flame retardant clothing. A fantastic example of how valuable this equipment is came with an early morning call to a Main Street business full of smoke. Using the current, older camera we were able to locate the seat of the fire before it broke through the wall. I credit its use to preventing our own “Northeast Harbor Disaster”.

    In June I was proud to watch two of our member graduate the State Fire Fighter academy. Seth Nadler and my own Son Tommy reached the coveted National Ranking of Firefighter class 2 and brought to our town two more well trained firefighters. Their training and experience will give us the upper hand on the emergencies we are called to as well as the ability to share their training with the other members of the department.

    On behalf of the Town of Southwest Harbor I wish to express to all the volunteer members of the Fire Department our sincerest thanks for all that you do for your town with no expectation of reward. Whether you are running into a burning building while others are running out, spending countless hours patching together our two tired old trucks in hope they will run another year or just washing the floors and cleaning the toilets for another public meeting, what you provide can only be valued as priceless. As I said above, and it bears repeating, you are the faces of the true Maine spirit. Our communities cannot replace what Volunteers do for them and still benefit from the love and caring that drives you to do what you do.

    Respectfully Submitted
    Samuel T. Chisholm
    Southwest Harbor Fire Department

     !    Archived Reports