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December 03, 2016
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Honesdale EMS out of business

Wayne Ambulance, owned by Lackawanna Ambulance Company, which is new to Honesdale Borough, will take over Honesdale EMS with all its equipment, and hire most of its employees.

The two companies were vying for the Honesdale business when it appeared to many that the borough wasn’t big enough for two companies. That’s why the two companies had their trucks at curbside with their motors running in order to respond to an emergency quickly. Because the Automatic Vehicle Locator (AVL) was used by the ComCenter to find the ambulance closest to an emergency, they both adopted the curbside practice. Now the companies will be working together.

“It was an asset sale,” said Michael McCormick, Wayne Ambulance Vice President. “We purchased equipment but not real estate.” He said he could not comment on the exact cost of the transaction. “We are offering billing staff and field personnel employment. We have not decided as yet on their management personnel.”

McCormick said that his company had already held two orientation classes for the former employees and are still accepting applications from them.

How did all this come about?
When the Texas Township Fire Company #4 offered part of their building for rent, Lackawanna Ambulance decided to expand into Honesdale as a promising business venture, and they moved into the building.

When the original ambulance company—Honesdale EMS—had to leave its building at Industrial Point at the eastern end of 12th Street because of damage from an earthquake, they moved out of Honesdale to the former Honesdale Auto Agency on Lake Ariel Highway, south of the borough. The company later returned to its original location at Industrial Point on 12th Street within the boundaries of the borough before the sale.

“Because of the competition coming from the new company, Honesdale EMS asked the borough if they could be constituted the official ambulance service,” said Councilman Bob Jennings, who serves at the borough’s safety committee chairman. “The council decided that the company nearest to an emergency site would be the first called,” he said. The ComCenter—the 911 Center—arrived at the same conclusion, he said.

Brian Smith, chairman of the Wayne County Commissioners, stated at the August 21 commissioners meeting that the EMS of NEPA is the responsible entity for approving the licensed ambulance service within the northeast area. Smith insisted that the county has no control over who may be able to come in and operate in the county.

Wayne Ambulance did not buy the Honesdale EMS building at Industrial Point. Honesdale EMS is embroiled in a lawsuit against its insurance company. “The insurance company did not pay any claims after the building was condemned,” said Stan Pratt, community relations director for Honesdale EMS. “Even though we are not functioning as an emergency service, the company still exists.”

Pratt said that the company intends to sell the building on Lake Ariel Highway where they moved after their building was condemned.

“I would imagine that we will sell the Industrial Point building eventually,” Pratt said.