Four members of the Ellsworth Fire Department were recognized for their recent promotions Monday night at a meeting of the Senator Hale Hose Company. From left are firefighter/engineer Riley DeWitt, firefighter/engineer and Training Coordinator Ken Worden, Lt. Bobby Dorr and Deputy Chief Gary Saunders. PHOTO COURTESY OF JAMIE CAMPBELL/FIRESTORM PHOTOGRAPHY

Promotions prove plentiful at Ellsworth Fire Department

ELLSWORTH — The recent departure of the second-in-command at the city’s fire department has resulted in promotions for several longtime local firefighters.

Deputy Chief Kevin DePrenger’s last day of work for the Ellsworth Fire Department was Dec. 31. He is leaving Maine to work with family in Florida in the remodeling business.

Taking DePrenger’s place is Gary Saunders, who was most recently one of the department’s lieutenants. Fire Chief Richard Tupper said Saunders was selected from among three in-house candidates, each of whom was a “very viable candidate in very good ways.”

Saunders joined as a volunteer firefighter in 1994, went full time in 1996 and was promoted to lieutenant in 2011. His promotion to deputy chief was effective Jan. 1, Tupper said.

Saunders’ promotion created two vacancies, one for lieutenant and one for a full-time firefighter/engineer. Bobby Dorr, most recently a career firefighter/engineer, was also selected from a field of three in-house applicants to fill the vacant lieutenancy.

Dorr joined the department in August of 2009 as a paid on-call firefighter and joined the full-time ranks just over a year later. His promotion to lieutenant took effect Monday.

Filling the firefighter/engineer vacancy created by Saunders’ promotion to deputy chief is Riley DeWitt, who started as a paid on-call firefighter two years ago. Like Dorr, DeWitt’s promotion took effect Monday.

A new position was added to the Fire Department’s roster at the start of this year, that of training coordinator. It was added to the budget by the City Council at the request of Tupper.

He said the increased training requirements firefighters have to comply with require that someone oversee them and make sure all department members have the training they are supposed to.

That position was filled by Ken Worden, most recently a lieutenant in the paid on-call ranks of the department. With his promotion to training coordinator, he will also serve as a firefighter/engineer.

Worden joined the department as a paid on-call firefighter in April of 1986. He became a lieutenant a decade ago, Tupper said, and began serving in his new role on Monday.

Worden’s promotion leaves a vacant lieutenant position in the paid on-call ranks of the department, one that the department will work to fill.

Tupper said in general he is always looking to add members to the department’s paid on-call ranks. For more information, call the Ellsworth Fire Department at 667-8666.

Tupper said while the department has opened up job postings to both in-house and external applicants, and has hired new staff from outside the department previously, there is a special satisfaction with this most recent round of promotions.

“It is rewarding to have candidates from within your own department, especially from the paid on-call ranks,” he said. “To see those who have the interest and want to make a career out of it, and who work to make themselves a viable candidate.”

The department held a ceremony to recognize the newly promoted staff Monday night at a meeting of the Senator Hale Hose Company, whose membership includes all current paid on-call and full-time members of the Ellsworth Fire Department.

Steve Fuller

Steve Fuller

Reporter at The Ellsworth American,
Steve Fuller worked at The Ellsworth American from 2012 to early 2018. He covered the city of Ellsworth, including the Ellsworth School Department and the city police beat, as well as the towns of Amherst, Aurora, Eastbrook, Great Pond, Mariaville, Osborn, Otis and Waltham. A native of Waldo County, he served as editor of Belfast's Republican Journal prior to joining the American. He lives in Orland.
Steve Fuller

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