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Stockdale, Allenport fire departments complete merger

| Friday, May 10, 2013, 12:21 a.m.

The deal to merge the Allenport fire company into the Stockdale Volunteer Fire Department was barely a day old when the new arrangement was put to a test.

Firefighters from Stockdale responded to a car accident on Route 88 near the Allenport Marina, with backup from the Roscoe and Charleroi departments.

The response was an example of the support provided by the area fire companies, enhanced by the merged Stockdale department.

The deal was a year-and-a-half in the making, Stockdale Fire Chief Tom Wilkinson said.

An open house marking the beginning for the new department will take place 1 to 4 p.m. June 2.

Wilkinson said most equipment from the former Allenport Volunteer Fire Department has been moved to the Stockdale station. One truck is being stored at Allenport until a new truck bay is constructed at Stockdale.

“It worked very well,” Wilkinson said. “Some of our stuff was outdated.”

Allenport borough council approached Stockdale fire department leaders about a merger in late 2011. At the time Allenport's membership was dwindling.

The state Department of Community Affairs aided in the merger, said Wilkinson, adding the state encourages such efforts.

The merger will financially benefit the firefighters. For the next five years, Stockdale will receive $23,000 in benefits, the combined state aid the two departments had been receiving.

The Allenport department was down to a half dozen members when the merger occurred, Wilkinson said. Two of those members have already joined Stockdale.

“For two years, we've been answering all the calls down there,” Wilkinson said. “It was better for the people in Allenport, because we're part of the Charleroi Fire District, which includes Charleroi, Lock Four and Fallowfield Township.

“So they're getting all of that support right off the bat.

“If there is a call for a structure fire in Allenport or Stockdale, automatically all of those departments are called.”

Response time will remain unchanged, in part because of geography. Allenport borders Stockdale on three sides, and the fire station is located in the middle.

“Those two stations were within half mile of each other, and with Roscoe, you have three within a one-mile stretch,” Wilkinson said.

A new patch was created for the Stockdale Volunteer Fire Department, which incorporates both community names.

But there will be no changes among the line or business officers. Allenport Fire Chief Jon McCrory joined the Stockdale department, serving as an engineer-truck driver.

“Even though he doesn't wear a red or white hat, he still helps us out,” Wilkinson said.

Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or cbuckley@tribweb.com.

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