Student Spotlight: Meet Camdan Carmichael

Camdan Carmichael is in his first year studying Fire Science at SMCC. But even before he completed his first semester, he was hired as a full-time firefighter in his hometown.

Camdan knew at a young age while growing up in the western Maine town of Rangeley that he wanted to be a firefighter. He served as a junior firefighter with Rangeley Fire & Rescue beginning at age 14, learning the ins and out of the trade while spending time at the local firehouse most days after school.

He was drawn to SMCC after high school because of the reputation of the Fire Science Department and its live-in program, where students live and work at area fire stations while attending classes at SMCC. As a live-in student, he was assigned to a station in Cumberland.

Last fall, Camdan learned that Rangeley Fire & Rescue was planning to hire its first full-time firefighter. The department — which serves 21 towns and townships across 600 square miles — has seen an increase in calls in recent years and was anticipating more with the re-opening of the Saddleback ski resort.

He was hired for the job in November and is now back home in Rangeley, taking classes remotely at SMCC while going to work each day at the local fire station. Besides fires, he responds to car accidents, ice-water rescues, hiker rescues and other emergencies.

Camdan eventually would like become a paramedic, earn a bachelor’s degree in fire science, and someday be a fire chief. You might say that firefighting is in his blood.

“My grandfather and my great-grandfather were firefighters. To carry on that tradition in my generation made me want to pursue it even more.”