2016-08-23 / Front Page

Town of Wells hires new fire chief

By ALAN BENNETT
Staff Writer


Wayne Vetre has been selected as the new fire chief for the Town of Wells. He will begin his new position in November. 
SUBMITTED PHOTO Wayne Vetre has been selected as the new fire chief for the Town of Wells. He will begin his new position in November. SUBMITTED PHOTO WELLS — The town of Wells has hired a new permanent fire chief, Town Manager Jon Carter announced Monday.

Wayne D. Vetre of Guilford, Connecticut, has been appointed chief of the Wells Fire Department following the retirement of former Chief Daniel Moore in late June. He will assume his role in early November.

Vetre comes to Wells from his position as assistant fire chief in Guilford, a town of more than 22,000 residents, according to 2015 U.S. Census Bureau statistics.

Vetre said he chose to apply for the position because he is familiar with and enjoys spending time in the area, having vacationed extensively in Wells with his wife.

“I have a sincere interest in the area, and when the opportunity came to apply to Wells came up, I was able to go forward with the application process,” Vetre said Monday. “We enjoy the area so much, and every time we have the opportunity to spend a few days there, we’d make the drive.”

“It’s a different way of life, so we’re very happy and very excited to become part of the community,” he said.

Vetre began working with the Guilford Fire Department in 1994. He has held his current position there since 2005, helping oversee 35 career and 62 volunteer personnel as they tackle 3,600 calls per year.

Previously, he served as a firefighter and emergency medical technician with the fire department in East Haven, Connecticut.

Vetre was selected for the Wells position after an extensive search; a recruitment committee reviewed 37 applicants. Thirteen applicants were selected for additional review and interviewed by Carter, the Board of Selectmen and interim Fire Chief Sherman Lahaie before the search was narrowed down to two finalists.

“I think the interview committee really felt he had the command presence – he’s the person that could really take over the department and bring it back into the future of fire service and help with the construction of our new fire station, public safety facility, in the future,” Carter said.

Carter said Guilford is a similar community to Wells, with its continued growth and challenges of being located on transportation and rail lines, and that Vetre’s experience would best serve the Maine town of about 10,000.

“He’s someone who has worked all of his career through a hybrid fire department, meaning career and volunteer, and a larger department where he has seen it grow from the size of our town to where it is presently,” Carter said. “Guilford is a relatively dynamic coastal community. I think that had a lot going for him.”

Vetre said his primary goal is to maintain the level of service that Wells residents are used to, while expanding service as the town continues to develop – something he’s become no stranger to during his time in Guilford.

“As the demand for service increases, the department should be prepared to handle it, and it’s my responsibility to ensure we are able to handle that,” Vetre said. “The seasonal population (of Wells), from what I understand, can grow to as many as four to five times during the summer, so it’s a good number of people who are there all year round, and it becomes much busier in the summer time.”

Vetre said he is thankful for the opportunity to serve a community he is passionate about, and is anxious to start his new personal and professional endeavor.

“I believe we will continue to provide the quality service of the department that the townspeople have come to expect,” Vetre said. “I would like to thank the Board of Selectmen and the town manager and the entire fire chief search committee for the opportunity to become the next fire chief in Wells, and I look forward to serving the community.”

— Staff Writer Alan Bennett can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 329 or abennett@journaltribune.com.

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