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Robinson family continues long-time fire department service with thermal imaging camera donation

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DOVER-FOXCROFT — With eight members having served on the Dover-Foxcroft Fire Department for more than half a century, the Robinson family has continued to give back to the community by funding a $9,000 thermal imaging camera. The camera was donated in memory of Alfred E. Robinson — who was a member of the department for 35 years including serving as chief from 1978-83 — by his sons, grandson, brothers and nephews who all have been involved in the department.

“Your family has been the most dedicated to the town of Dover-Foxcroft, more than any other family in town,” Fire Chief Joe Guyotte told eight members of the Robinson family gathered at the fire station on April 26. “Starting with family members Bill Sr. as captain, Alfred was chief from 1979 through 1983, Jim is a driver, Billy was a captain, Tim a captain, Peter a firefighter, Alex a firefighter and James Jr. assistant chief on the Guilford Fire Department (also having been a junior firefighter in Dover-Foxcroft), all serving on the fire department.

“The Dover-Foxcroft Fire Department would like to thank you for your generous donation of $9,000 for us to be able to buy a thermal imaging camera. You and your donation play a critical role in helping our community. We can’t thank you enough for your donation.”

Jim Robinson — who is the president, owner and CEO of the A.E. Robinson Oil Company — said the thermal imaging camera is being given in his brother’s memory to not only be used by the Dover-Foxcroft Fire Department but to assist other area departments. “Al was big on mutual aid and if another town needs the camera it will be there,” he said.

“This camera is life insurance,” Robinson said. “I will pay my insurance bill forever but I hope I never have to use it.”

Guyotte said the thermal imaging camera can be used to detect hot and cold spots in buildings. “Basically it’s interior, especially if — god forbid — someone is trapped in the building,” he said.

“Not only can it detect heat and fire in a building but say you get an elderly person who has wandered off at night, you might be able to use it to detect any heat source,” Guyotte added as the device can help with search and rescue calls.

The thermal imaging camera arrived earlier in the week. Deputy Chief Rick Pembroke said the Robinson family has funded all the other camera equipment such as a charger and back-up batteries, “All the accessories needed to make the camera fully functional in all situations.” Pembroke said the department has had problems from time to time with battery life with its previous camera.

Bill Robinson Sr. said he was the first of his family to join the Dover-Foxcroft Fire Department, doing so around 1956 after serving in the Marines. Jim Robinson said he became a firefighter said several years later after graduating from high school in 1959. The two said their brother Alfred Robinson followed at around the same time, and in the ensuing decades two more generations of the family would become firefighters.

Bill Robinson Sr. cited “community service” as his reason for joining more 60 years ago, and this sentiment was echoed by the other family members.

“Community service is the No. 1 reason to get on as far as I’m concerned,” said Peter Robinson, one of Alfred Robinson’s sons.

“It is a bunch of very dedicated people that serve on the fire department,” Jim Robinson said.

“Our fire department is very fortunate to have a family like this, involved in and around our department,” Pembroke said, adding that the department would not have been able to purchase the thermal imaging camera on its own.

Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom
NEW THERMAL IMAGING CAMERA FROM THE ROBINSON FAMILY — The Robinson family recently funded a $9,000 thermal imaging camera for the Dover-Foxcroft Fire Department in memory of Alfred E. Robinson, whose decades with the department included serving as chief from 1978-83. Robinson was one of eight family members across three generations to have served as a firefighters. From left are Jamie Robinson, Alex Robinson, Bill Robinson Sr., Billy Robinson, Jim Robinson, Fire Chief Joe Guyotte, Deputy Chief Rick Pembroke, Tim Robinson, Peter Robinson and Mark Robinson.

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