Western Md. Fire Company Could Close Amid Lawsuit

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MCCOOLE, Md. (AP) — A volunteer fire company in rural western Maryland is in danger of shutting down after lenders filed a lawsuit seeking to seize all its assets and property.

The federal court action was filed last week against the McCoole Fire and Rescue Department in Allegany County.

The fire company defaulted in September on quarterly $13,000 payments on a $624,000 loan.

McCoole’s volunteers have answered 113 ambulance calls and 85 fire calls this year. Residents say they’re concerned about who’ll respond to emergencies if the company closes.

McCoole Fire Chief Charles Pearce says the struggling economy took its toll on the company, and that bingo proceeds declined by more than half between 2000 and 2010.

But former chief William Ambrose says Pearce ruined the company by buying equipment he couldn’t afford.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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