Reserve Twp. fire departments move forward with merger plan
Volunteer firefighters in Reserve Township soon might have the same name on their gear and equipment with the anticipated consolidation of two neighborhood volunteer fire companies.
Volunteer firefighters and board members in Mount Troy Volunteer Fire Company and the Spring Garden Volunteer Fire Company, both in Reserve, have been in discussions to merge the two departments with the goal of completing the process next year.
“We are trying to provide the best service to the residents of Reserve Township,” said Dave Moore, president of the Mount Troy company. “That is the goal.”
The proposed merger would provide a more cost-effective and better-trained response to emergencies because with more people and supplies combined, firefighters can concentrate on training instead of fundraising, Moore said.
Discussions started three years ago and, in 2012, representatives from Volunteer Firemen's Insurance Services Inc. completed a consolidation feasibility study for the departments.
After the study, the department members agreed to start discussing details of a merger and started to draft bylaws.
Once both companies pass a resolution for the bylaws and merger, the merger then will need to be approved by an Allegheny County judge and the state Attorney General's office.
The combined volunteer fire department would be responsible for the 3.2-square-mile municipality, which has 3,500 residents and 1,600 houses.
Firefighters anticipate the combined department would use the best two engines and two support vehicles from the two companies' fleets and would feature 25 active members and an additional 30 support members, which would include the current women's auxiliary members.
Moore said he anticipates the combined fire department would respond to about 150 calls per year and have an annual budget of $120,000 to $125,000.
Once the merger is complete, the fire company would feature a new name and unit number.
“We're changing the entire identity so it's a fresh start,” Moore said.
Mount Troy and Spring Garden fire companies were established in the early 1900s to serve the neighborhoods in Reserve Township.
In recent years, the fire companies have formed an operational relationship to share equipment and training.
“When you're performing the primary function of each department already, the logical step is to look at taking the next step and creating a combined company,” said Dave Dengler, president of the Spring Garden company.
Since February 2013, the company members have been responding together and training together as a way to test how a combined department might function, which the company presidents said is working well.
“Throughout all of this what impressed me the most is the passion and commitment of the people involved,” Dengler said.
Bethany Hofstetter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6364 or firstname.lastname@example.org.