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Sharpsburg fire and EMS debate merger

December 08, 1998|By JULIE E. GREENE

SHARPSBURG - Sharpsburg fire and rescue officials are trying to decide whether the two agencies should merge to save money and consolidate personnel, officials said Monday.

Sharpsburg Volunteer Fire Company Inc. officials have put plans for an addition to the fire hall on hold until the two groups decide whether to merge, said Assistant Chief Shawn McCoy.

Lester Bussard, chief of Sharpsburg Area Emergency Medical Services Inc., said a merger isn't out of the question, but said he didn't want to comment further since the idea had just been broached.

The matter hasn't been discussed with the EMS' board or members yet, Bussard said.

Serving an area with an older population, the fire department doesn't draw a large number of volunteers and has several members in common with EMS, officials said.

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Plans for the almost $500,000 addition to the fire hall would provide five bays for the ambulances and fire engines, McCoy said.

The four older bays and basement would be remodeled into offices, bunk rooms and bathrooms, he said.

The cost of the remodeling work hasn't been determined.

The ambulance hall could be remodeled into a social hall for wedding receptions and bingo, which now is held in the basement of the fire hall, McCoy said.

The fire hall and ambulance company are next door to each other at 110 and 110 1/2 W. Chapline St.

The fire department has about 25 active members. The ambulance company has 10 to 15 active volunteers and 20 paid personnel.

McCoy said a decision on the merger should be made within two months. The fire department's members support the idea, he said.

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