Dave Roberts named new fire chief

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published October 28, 2015




As a child, Troy Fire Chief Dave Roberts would listen to ham radio, known as amateur radio, in which operators use two-way radios to communicate with each other.

“The police and fire calls piqued my interest,” Roberts said.

Roberts was named to the top post after former Troy Fire Chief Bill Nelson retired last month after serving as fire chief since 1994.

Roberts grew up in Bloomfield Township and joined the Explorers Program for the Fire Department that was offered through the Boy Scouts of America.

He joined the Troy Fire Department as a volunteer in 1978, when he was 18, and served for 30 years.

In 1980, Roberts was hired as a Police Department dispatcher. He was promoted to communications supervisor in 1984.

“I wanted to help people,” Roberts said.

Roberts was hired as a fire inspector for the Troy Fire Department in 1986 and was promoted to assistant fire chief/fire marshal in 1994.

Roberts earned a Bachelor of Science degree in fire protection from Madonna University and a Master of Science degree in public administration from Central Michigan University.

During his career, he worked to adopt and update fire prevention ordinances to stay in line with updates from the International Fire Code, including fire alarm, fire suppression, hazmat and fireworks regulations, and special event and occupancy permit requirements. He also helped to implement and adopt the city’s false fire alarm ordinance.

“We kept it current,” he said of the city’s fire codes. “Not every municipality has current adoptions. If the updates are current, it helps with enforcement. The city of Troy’s proactive approach to fire prevention allows us to maintain an affordable, well-trained and well-equipped Fire Department.”

Roberts created the Fire Explorers Post 911 for teenagers interested in a fire service career. His son Jonathan participated in the program and has served as a volunteer for the Troy Fire Department since 2009. He now works as a public safety officer for the city of Berkley. Roberts’ wife, Susan, served as a volunteer for the Troy Fire Department at Fire Station 3 for 27 years.

Their daughter Cecilia attends college in Florida.

“I enjoyed working with the city,” Roberts said. “I appreciate the support of the city manager, City Council, volunteers, and I’m looking forward to continuing my career as fire chief.”

He noted that the Troy Fire Department is the largest fire department in Oakland County and has had up to 180 volunteers at a time.

“With Dave’s leadership and the excellent staff, we’re moving forward with an outstanding Fire Department,” Troy City Manager Brian Kischnick said.

Mayor Dane Slater said that he has known Roberts since he worked as a police dispatcher.

“We go back a long way,” he said. “He’s well respected. He’ll be a great asset to the Fire Department and carry on the traditions of Chief (Ted) Halsey and Chief Nelson.”

The chief’s salary is $110,000.