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Abandoned Lansford ambulance transferred to Lehighton

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    An ambulance that belonged to the former Lansford Volunteer Ambulance Association may find a new home soon. BELOW RIGHT: Medical gear left behind by the former Lansford Volunteer Ambulance Association. CHRIS REBER/TIMES NEWS

Published March 12. 2018 02:44PM

The ambulance which could not be sold has a new home.

Left abandoned after the Lansford Volunteer Ambulance Association shut down, a FEMA-owned ambulance rig will soon be back on the road for a different company.

FEMA officially transferred the vehicle to the Lehighton Ambulance Association this week, ending a saga that started when the Lansford company closed its doors in 2014.

“It’s back in the community where it should be. Well, it will be,” said Joni Gestl, administrator for Lehighton Ambulance.

It will be some time before it is actually back on the road. The rig is now being updated with new parts. Eventually, it will be outfitted for regular service and inspected by the Pennsylvania Department of Health before it’s returned to service.

The ambulance is still officially owned by FEMA, but Lehighton is responsible for its upkeep.

“Lehighton Ambulance is paying for it. It’s our responsibility to get it up and running and ready to serve the community,” Gestl said.

Gestl said the ambulance association intends to station the vehicle at its station in Summit Hill, the station which serves Lansford. But it could be used at one of its other three stations on an as-needed basis.

Lehighton Ambulance serves in some capacity in every borough and township in Carbon County. It also provides advanced life support assistance in Coaldale, Tamaqua, West Penn and Rush townships.

The vehicle will be re-lettered to reflect its new company, but it will retain its distinctive red and black paint, so residents should be able to recognize it.

Michael Garfield, the attorney appointed by the court to liquidate the Lansford Ambulance, said the process of transferring the ambulance was long and complicated. But it was eventually completed with assistance from the Eastern Pa. EMS Council.

“It took months and months and months,” he said.

The ambulance was housed in the former ambulance headquarters on Patterson Street even after it was sold as part of the liquidation. After they moved in and moved the ambulance outside, public interest in the ambulance increased.

Chris Albertini, one of the building’s new owners, said at the time that he would like to see it used in the local community. Now it appears that will happen.

“It would be nice to see it run locally since it was a local ambulance, I know people take pride in it,” Albertini said.

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