After 10 years of discussion and 18 months of intensive meetings and planning, the Aston-Beechwood and Green Ridge fire companies have united to become the singular Aston Township Fire Department.
Aston commissioners, last week, adopted an ordinance approving the delivery of fire and medical services to the citizens, businesses and visitors of the municipality.
Members of the two companies formed the Aston Fire and EMS Cooperative Partnership Steering Committee, and worked together to combine the two entities.
Mike Lucy, president of the Green Ridge Fire Company, was chairman of the committee; Jeff Kane, chief of Aston-Beechwood Fire Company, was vice chairman; and Kit Spayd, Aston-Beechwood’s president, was secretary. Other members include Mike Evans, Mike Wiley, Ken Dawson, Tom Piriano and Dave Durbano. Aston Township Fire Marshal Tom Morgan and resident Bruce Egan, a licensed paramedic, rounded out the committee.
“With volunteer fire companies struggling to survive across the country, the two companies knew their strength and stability would be greatly enhanced by combining into one,” Lucy said. “Being much more cost effective is also a significant advantage. Both current Aston companies are strong in manpower and are in a financially sound place, so to do this now is the smart move, rather than see if we follow the trend and get into any difficulty. The bottom line is to better serve the (Aston) community with fire, rescue and ambulance service for a long time to come”.
Lucy added that a centralized department will result in cost reduction and excess equipment will be sold. He added that the new fire department hopes to locate land in a central location on which to construct a new fire house.
Seventy-eight members of the Aston-Beechwood and Green Ridge fire companies met on June 19th to vote on the new name and selected the number “17,” which will be requested to be assigned by the county. The new Aston Township Fire Department #17 has been conducting joint drills and all activities are attended by members of both legacy groups.
“Tonight we mark another very important milestone for our volunteer fire companies in Aston,” said Commissioner Carol Graham. “After little more than 10 years of on-and-off discussions, the leadership and members of the Aston-Beechwood and Green Ridge volunteer fire companies felt the climate of the culture was conducive and the time was right to take this monumental step. I am very proud of all our first responders for having the vision to look to the future, while maintaining the heritage of service to our residents. I cannot thank those of you gathered here enough for representing both of our legacy companies as well as those who worked tirelessly behind the scenes.”