Bar Harbor firefighter Zach Soares, left, graduated from Penobscot County Fire Academy on Aug. 29. Daniel Smith, right, is the new full-time firefighter and paramedic on the department. ISLANDER PHOTO BY LIZ GRAVES

New firefighters step up

BAR HARBOR — The fire department here has a new full-time firefighter and paramedic in Daniel Smith, whose first day was Aug. 31. It also has a newly certified firefighter II in Call Force member Zach Soares.

Smith has been a firefighter, paramedic, fire inspector and hazardous materials specialist at the Xenia, Ohio, Fire Department for four years. He was drawn to both firefighting and emergency medicine as a kid, he said, spending a lot of time in the local emergency room where his dad is a doctor. He began in the fire service as a volunteer when he was working in the private sector and putting himself through school, he said.

He came to Maine after his mother moved to Bucksport a couple years ago.

“I kind of fell in love with Mount Desert Island,” he said. “I saw they had posted for a job here and put in my application.”

“He brings a lot to the department,” Chief Matt Bartlett said. “He has skills and training that we can all benefit from.”

Bartlett is also happy Soares chose to go through a two-week Fire Academy course in Penobscot County this summer, becoming a certified firefighter II.

There were about 20 people in the class, Soares said, and sessions were held in several different Penobscot County locations. “It was brutal,” he said, “but they do a good job of layering new skills so you aren’t overwhelmed with too much at once.”

“It’s a huge commitment that we’re grateful for,” Bartlett said. “Zach is going to be a great firefighter. I know he’ll meet and exceed our expectations.”

The Bar Harbor Fire Department resumed trainings this week following a summer hiatus. Information about joining the department is available at the fire station or on the town’s website.

Liz Graves

Liz Graves

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Former Islander reporter and editor Liz Graves grew up in California and came to Maine as a schooner sailor.

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