South Thomaston Fire Chief Bryan Calderwood announced his retirement to the Select Board at its Tuesday night, Dec. 13 meeting. Photo by Stephen Betts

SOUTH THOMASTON — Fire Chief Bryan Calderwood announced his retirement Tuesday night during a Select Board meeting, a week after he had been placed on paid administrative leave.

The Board later voted 3-0 at the Dec. 13 meeting to name Deputy Fire Chief David Elwell as interim chief.

Calderwood’s voice broke as he read his retirement letter to the Board. Calderwood has been chief since 2006 and been with the department for a total of 30 years. He succeeded Wayne Brown.

The retirement is effective immediately.

“I feel honored to be one of the few Fire Chiefs of the South Thomaston Fire Department since it was started over 75 years ago,” Calderwood said. “I have given blood, sweat and tears to this Town and Department for over 30 years. I have given up numerous family events, time with my boys and wife for this Department. I have brought in close to a half a million dollars in grants for the Fire Department which saved the Town the expense. I have grown this department from seven members in 2006 to 15 as of this letter. I have been a part of changing the ‘look’ of the Fire Department of cellar savers to a department that our mutual aid Departments want to respond to vs. don’t call South Thomaston,” Calderwood stated.

He thanked Select Board members Jeff Northgraves and John Spear and Town Administrator Terri Baines for their support over the years.

Select Board Chair Spear said that the town had received a complaint from another employee, not in the fire department, concerning Calderwood. The Board Dec. 6 voted to authorize the chair to take action which was placing Calderwood on paid administrative leave pending an investigation into the allegation.

Spear said that being placed on administrative leave is not a punishment nor an indication that the allegation is true.

The nature of the complaint was not divulged. Spear said he was not at liberty to disclose the nature of any complaints that concern a personnel matter. State law states that any final written disciplinary action against a public employee is public but there was no disciplinary action taken in this case.

An email was sent Dec. 13 to Calderwood but he has not responded.

The Board also accepted the resignation of the former chief’s son Connor Calderwood from the fire department. The Board also received the resignation of Alexis Davis who serves as both a firefighter and emergency medical services member.

The new interim chief Elwell has been with the department for 24 years, beginning as a junior firefighter.

Interim South Thomaston Fire Chief David Elwell. Photo by Stephen Betts

South Thomaston Select Board members; from left, Sue Snow, Jeffrey Northgraves, and Chair John Spear. Photo by Stephen Betts