Fire Departments in Pennsylvania Merge

Luxor fire department closes and is absorbed by others

Megan Tomasic, The Tribune-Review, Greensburg

(MCT)

Jan. 22–The Luxor Volunteer Fire Department station near Twin Lakes Park in Hempfield will close as part of Luxor’s merger with nearby Bovard fire department.

With only three members currently on its force, Luxor fire Chief Mike Errett said the move is necessary to provide adequate fire protection for the community.

“Overall, it’s going to be better fire service for the community, that’s how I honestly feel,” Errett said. “That’s intentionally what we all want. That’s just hard to do with minimal people.”

When the Luxor station closes, equipment and funds will be split between Bovard and the Hannastown Volunteer Fire Department, Errett said. The property, which was split between two parcels, is owned by the Luxor Volunteer Fire Company and Relief Association.

One parcel, housing the social hall, sold in August for $15,000, according to records from the Westmoreland County Recorder of Deeds. Online records show the parcel housing the fire station is owned by Luxor. It was not immediately clear if the property will be put up for sale.

Last year, 42 calls for service were responded to in Luxor, according to Tony Kovacic, fire chief for the Hempfield Township Fire Department. Those calls, which range from fires to ambulance assists or downed wires, also were responded to by Bovard, which is about two miles away, and Hannastown, which is about three miles away.

Luxor also assisted other area departments 166 times last year, according to Kovacic.

Once official paperwork is received from Luxor and Bovard expressing their intent to merge, township leaders will create a plan to ensure coverage is not affected. According to Kovacic, work will include assigning fire engines to their new stations and working with emergency dispatchers to ensure proper equipment is sent to a scene.

“We’re going to assure those folks that, if there’s a problem, assistance will come,” Kovacic said.

Kovacic noted a process is laid out in service agreements for mergers of fire stations as well as what would happen if a station closes.

There is currently no timeline for when the merger will be complete.

“No matter what, we, the township, have the overall obligation to make sure fire protection is covered and we are doing that,” said township Manager Jason Winters.

Megan Tomasic is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 724-850-1203, mtomasic@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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