PORTLAND, Maine — Portland is reopening its search for a new fire chief after the favored candidate withdrew.

The extended search is expected to add at least $8,500 to a process that has already cost the city more than $20,000.

City human resources director Michael Miles says because the position is one of the most important in the city, officials want to do it right.

The city is looking for a replacement for Fred LaMontagne, who retired in April.

A nationwide search drew 55 applicants. Five male finalists were brought to Portland for interviews and assessment tests.

Miles told The Portland Press Herald one emerged as a favorite, but he withdrew his application for personal reasons before the city could make him an offer.

The new deadline for applications is Aug. 31.