By SHERRI KOLADE
DEARBORN — The fire department here may merge with that of Melvindale.
Dearborn Fire Chief Joseph Murray said challenging economic situations encouraged him to discuss the possibility of merging fire departments with the Melvindale Fire Department.
Murray said the idea has been in the works for a few years and he plans to present a formal letter to the city council requesting to put the plan in motion. The timeline is undetermined because the joint fire department idea is still in its infancy.
“We are looking for other avenues to provide the same services and work together to combine costs and different savings that way,” Murray said. “They are our neighbors and it makes a lot of sense.”
Murray said choosing Melvindale as a possible partner was very easy.
“Their staff is trained the same as ours and they have the same protocols,” Murray said. “(It is) kind of a good fit.”
The Dearborn Fire Department has 121 firefighters and four stations — 3750 Greenfield, 6501 Schaefer, 19800 Outer Drive and 3630 Wyoming — including three stations on the city’s east side, Melvindale has 14 firefighters and one fire station at 3160 Oakwood Blvd.
Melvindale Fire Chief Steven Densmore said he thinks the merger is a good opportunity to explore the potential of the two departments working together.
“As far as the resources we would be able to commit to both communities doing more with less,” Densmore said. “It is a good fit for both departments.”
Densmore said most likely the firefighters would stay at their current stations and positions; later on they might be rotated to other stations as needed.
“We would have more firefighters on duty and more resources,” Densmore said.
Densmore is currently speaking with Dearborn officials to figure out benefits such as healthcare, pensions and sick time and see how the merger would affect the firefighters.
“We are educating everybody on the next step,” Densmore said. “Both communities are taking small steps because a lot needs to be figured out and so much stuff needs to be looked at.
“At this point we are just seeing if we should pursue (the merger) or if it makes sense or not,” Murray said.
(Sherri Kolade can be reached at [email protected])