PORT ROYAL - Friendship Fire Company of Port Royal has welcomed Port Royal Emergency Medical Services under its roof.
As of September, the EMS moved into the building at 212 Fourth St. in an effort to reduce costs and better serve the community.
"Trying to maintain that old building got to be difficult for the EMS," Matt Tornambe, chairman of the trustees for Friendship said, referring to the building on Milford Street.
Sentinel photo by TABITHA GOODLING
Standing outside the home of Friendship Fire Company and Port Royal EMS are, from left, Chris Rice, Friendship Fire Company President; Jackie Leister, a member of the Port Royal EMS board and District Judge for Juniata County; and Matt Tornambe, Friendship Fire Company’s Chair of Trustees.
Earlier this year the two groups met and decided it was best if the fire company purchased the Milford Street building and allowed the EMS to rent from them at their location. Currently Juniata County rents space for Magisterial District Judge Jacqueline Leister in that same building.
The Milford Street building, which sits across from the Fourth Street facility, will be torn down to make space for parking. This will allow for more space for those renting the community hall of the Fourth Street building to park during functions, Tornambe said.
While the two groups will be under the same roof, the fire and EMS companies will remain two separate organizations.
"The perception out there is that we are one," Tornambe said, "and it does make a difference when we ask the community for contributions."
Fire company president Chris Rice said their goal is to make the EMS feel as welcome as possible.
"We built them a bunk room. They practically live here ... they eat here, sleep here."
Rice recalled the days when he first started with the fire company in the 1960s and the Fourth Street building was part of a campus for Tuscarora Valley High School. The fire company shared part of the facility with the school.
"Back then the fire company and the EMS were volunteer," Rice said.
In the mid to late 1990s the EMS moved to the building on Milford Street and was operating independently at that point. The EMS is now made up of paid employees and the fire company remains volunteer.
There is more to be done with the Fourth Street facility, Tornambe said.
"The grand plan is that the community room needs an upgrade. The floor is buckling. The heating system needs improved," Tornambe said, adding the fire company is seeking grant funding for these needs.