By: Bilal Baydoun
March 11, 2022

Dearborn Fire Chief Joseph Murray is pleased to announce that Laura Ridenour—a 20 year veteran of the Dearborn Fire Department—has been named as Dearborn’s new Deputy Fire Chief. Upon assuming her new role, Ridenour will become the highest-ranking woman in the department’s 114 year history. Deputy Chief Ridenour has served as the Department’s Fire Marshal since 2012. She replaces outgoing Deputy Fire Chief Joey Thorington, who announced his retirement this year after 24 years of service.

Ridenour will begin operating in her new role on May 1. The Deputy Fire Chief is an appointed position, with primary responsibilities including the following:
• Acting as Fire Chief during the absence of the Fire Chief
• Serving as The Fire Department Chief Financial Officer
• Managing the Fire Department Budget
• Serving as primary contact for Department purchases
• Acting as the spokesperson of the Fire Department.
• Responsible for the daily review of operations to ensure proper practices are being utilized to secure the safety and health of all employees, the best service delivery, and ultimate compliance with local, State and Federal ordinances.

Laura Ridenour is a Dearborn native and graduate of Eastern Michigan Universityreceived a Master’s of Public Administration from the University of Michigan-Dearborn in 2005. She joined the Dearborn Fire Department in 2002.

“This appointment is truly an honor, and I look forward to serving the residents of Dearborn and my colleagues in this new role,” she said.

Ridenour developed a wide range of experience through her decades as a member of the Fire Department. She was selected as Fire Inspector of the Year in 2013 by The Metropolitan Detroit Fire Inspector Society (MDFIS) and currently serves in a number of executive roles, boards and committees, including the NFPA. She is currently the Vice President of the Oakland County Association of Arson and Fire Investigators. She also serves as a board member of the Michigan Chapter of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers.

Since joining Dearborn Fire, Deputy Chief Ridenour has worked to support department administration and staffing, and several other initiatives as part of her role as the City’s Fire Marshal.

“Deputy Chief Ridenour has an outstanding two-decade career with the Dearborn Fire Department and she has made many important contributions to the department during that time, setting a great example for her fellow firefighters, and other aspiring firefighters in the community,” said Chief Murray. “I know she will continue to excel in her new leadership role, and I congratulate her on this well-deserved promotion.”

Ridenour added: “My 20 years with Dearborn Fire Department have been such a great experience. The City has given me so many opportunities, and I am grateful for all the department has provided. I am excited to work with the new administration, Chief Murray, and all of the City’s stakeholders as we work toward positive outcomes for the future.”

Deputy Chief Ridenour is also a graduate of Eastern Michigan University’s Fire Staff and Command program.