WEST MIDDLESEX, Pa. (WKBN) – The state says two local fire departments should consolidate. Both West Middlesex and Shenango Township are now working on a compromise.
Talks about consolidating the West Middlesex and Shenango Township volunteer fire departments started in 2019, but those talks went south not long after they started due to pushback from some.
“It ended up falling through, and they were unable to complete the study or whatever they needed to do to actually get it moving into a – I think was a merger,” said West Middlesex Council President Eric Lucich.
Lucich wasn’t on council when that happened, but talks have started again at the request of both communities after results came back last month of a new assessment. The report looked at roads, current fire stations and data on operations and practices.
The state outlined four potential options that the borough and township could choose from in its 90-page report. The top recommendation was consolidating fire departments into a single group, giving it a new name and building a new station.
“The positives are there, you know: quicker response times, better training, more people, and you know, I think that’s the overall goal of trying to get this to work,” said Shenango Township Fire Chief Justin Barnes.
The consolidation would mean a new fire station. The report said that none of the three current fire stations could handle a new combined department.
Now, the two communities have to agree on a plan to move forward.
“It’s kind of in the municipalities’ hands right now. I really can’t answer for them,” Barnes said.