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Western Burks Ambulance Fire

A little over a year later fire The Western Berks Ambulance Association, which destroyed its headquarters, is working on a rebuild to create a more energy-efficient and work-efficient facility.

The station footprint on West Loan’s 2506 Belmont Avenue hasn’t changed, but much of the interior has been redesigned by Bern Township’s Olsen Design Group Architects.

General contractor Uhrig Construction Inc., Reading, will begin work in January and will complete the refurbishment in June. Anthony Tucci, executive director of Western Berks Ambulance, said recently.

STEVEN HENSHAW — Reading Eagle

Western Burks Ambulance Station on Belmont Avenue in West Loan. The renovation began in January, almost a year after the fire that burned down the ground floor on February 18, 2021 (STEVEN HENSHAW — READING EAGLE).

Billing, HR, and other business management functions, on the other hand, will continue to take place miles away in the rental office suites on Quarry Drive in Spring Township.

On February 18, 2021, a fire broke out in the engine room of an ambulance that returned to the station within 25 minutes, Tucci said. The fire burned down the first floor and caused damage such as smoke to the entire second floor.

In addition to losing one ambulance in the fire, another ambulance in the bay that escaped the fire suffered a great deal of smoke and Tucci said he would never use it as far as insurance contracts were concerned. It’s not a complete loss.

The fire burned down the first floor, including the day room, damaged the support beam, and sank part of the second floor.

“The entire floor was in jeopardy,” Tucci said.

The floor actually sank.

He said officials joked that the floor was supported by all the cables stretched over decades.

STEVEN HENSHAW — Reading Eagle

Anthony Tucci, CEO of the Western Berks Ambulance Association in the corner of the garage bay where an ambulance ignited on February 18, 2021, sank part of the second floor due to structural damage. It is necessary to install a support beam. (Stephen Henshaw — Reading Eagle)

Restoring a 51-year-old building required more than replacing the damaged one. The entire building had to fit into the current building and fire regulations. This meant the installation of fire extinguishing sprinklers, among other changes.

He said the losses totaled more than $ 2 million and not all of them were covered by insurance.

The cost of repairs and upgrades did not discourage the Ambulance Association from rebuilding in the same location, about a block away from National Highway 422, which is also Pen Avenue.

“This is our main hub,” Tucci said. “This is exactly the heartbeat of Western Burks here. Most of our phones are in the Spring, Wyomissing, Sinking Spring, South Heidelberg and Lower Heidelberg areas, and this station is our phone. It covers most of it. “

The Western Berks Ambulance Association was founded in 1961 by seven members of the West Lawn Lions Club. Formerly housed in the West Lawn Fire Company, it is now the West Lawn Public Library.

Last year, Western Berks added three municipalities, Amity and Union Township and Birdsboro, previously served by Southern Berks Ambulance, to the service area. We also added two stations in the southeastern part of the county.

The merger expanded the coverage of Western Berks to 17 municipalities. The EMS organization employs 55 rescuers and 68 emergency medical technicians, and owns 14 ambulances and 9 wheelchair vans.

The soon-to-be-refurbished West Lawn Station will be equipped with LED lights and other energy-efficient appliances and features, significantly reducing power consumption. It can also withstand fire. All electrical wiring installed by electrical contractor Kenhorst’s B & G Electric is housed in an aluminum conduit for improved fire resistance.

Dennis Hiester, an electrician for B & G electrical string wiring coated with flexible aluminum conduits on the second floor of the Western Berks Ambulance station in West Lawn. (Stephen Henshaw — Reading Eagle)

We have changed the layout of the entire 2nd floor, from the secretariat to the 4 bunk beds and the dispatch area. One additional is a separate bathroom for female crew members.

“This building is in pieces,” Tucci said. “It used to be a jumble, so we’re actually making the most of the space.”

How to Support the Western Burks Ambulance

The Western Berks Ambulance Association, a 24-hour community emergency medical service provider, combines donations from the municipality that provides the services, insurance refunds for the services provided, grants, subscription membership, and personal donations. I am procuring. Western Berks is recruiting members only by annual mail, not by phone.

For more information on subscription membership, call 610-678-1545, extension 2. Instead of membership, you can visit the following sites to make donations to cover the cost of the building: wbems.org.. Donations will also be sent to 2506 Belmont Ave West Lawn, PA19609.

Western Burks Ambulance Fire

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