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Waynesboro fire companies to merge

July 22, 2010|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. -- Waynesboro has had two fire companies since about 1879, but that's about to change.

The Mechanics Steam, Fire Engine & Hose Co. and Always There Hook & Ladder Co. are in the process of merging to become the Waynesboro Volunteer Fire Department. Fire officials said the effort should be completed by the end of the year.

"Waynesboro Volunteer Fire Department" already existed for several years as a business entity, and the two fire companies held joint fundraisers, said Steve Biesecker, financial secretary and trustee for the Mechanics.

"Volunteerism is down. When you have two groups doing the same thing in town, you have duplicate efforts," Biesecker said of the reasons for merging.

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Fire Marshal Jerry Hartman was selected as president of the Waynesboro Volunteer Fire Department three months ago.

"Nothing is going to change as far as service to the community," Hartman said.

ATH&L's members voted to dissolve July 5, Hartman said. Their paperwork and assets already were transferred to the Waynesboro Volunteer Fire Department, he said.

The changeover has been in the works for 13 years, Hartman said.

"We do everything else together. We fight fires and do fundraisers together," Hartman said, saying the name "Waynesboro Volunteer Fire Department" is painted on most or all of the firetrucks.

The fire department will maintain both the Virginia Avenue and South Potomac Street fire stations, Hartman said.

Having one organization would make it easier to purchase property in the future, Hartman said. Fire officials continue to look at obtaining the old armory on Pa. 316 as permanent carnival grounds, he said.

The fire department has about 500 memberships, although only 65 of those members are active volunteers, Hartman said.

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