Onley Fire Co. Sells Real Estate For One-Third of Assessed Value

By Linda Cicoira — The Onley firehouse and five surrounding properties were sold last week for $100,000, or just under a third of the assessed value. The move was a final step in settling the assets of the former fire company dissolved by the Accomack Board of Supervisors in July 2017 for not providing services.

A deed filed in Accomack Circuit Court showed the property at 25489 Maple St. in Onley was purchased by Ronnie Lescallette, of Exmore. Lescallette was not available for comment about his plans for the properties by press time Thursday.

Last January, an ambulance, the chief’s car, and a heavy rescue truck were picked up by the finance company, at the request of Royal Governor, president of the former Onley Volunteer Fire and Rescue Co. Inc.

At that time, Governor said the vehicles would be sold to pay off the debt on them. There was $21,000 owed on the ambulance and car. He was hoping the sale would be enough to persuade the finance company to write off the rest. About $68,000 was owed for the heavy rescue truck, which was valued at about $120,000. The truck was 26 years old. “They might write it off” as well, he said.

Tuesday Governor was reached by phone but could not speculate about what Lescallette was planning. The president was asked about the remaining debt and stated, “I’m working on those numbers now” with an attorney.

When the company was dissolved, the ambulance needed repair, a dispute with a former chief caused the operational medical director (OMD) to resign, and the fire engine had no tags or title because it was purchased from New York, where those things are not required.

All hope of rekindling the unit disappeared for volunteers who planned to fight for more time to get reorganized when the supervisors took action.

County Assessor Brent Hurdle said the total assessed value of the six parcels was $307,900. The value of the firehouse and lot was $295,700.

County Administrator Mike Mason said Monday when the supervisors voted to dissolve, the company’s board of directors was directed to “wind up” the organization which they are legally required to do anyway.

The last financial statements the county received before that were in June 30, 2016. “According to this information, they owed over $200,000 which was tied to two notes payable,” Mason said.

Also among the reasons cited for closing the station were: a member was convicted in 2014 of embezzling money from the company, there was another conviction of a member who set a truck ablaze in 2016, and a former chief’s report said the company would close in early 2017. The hospital’s move to Onley also had an impact on the need for service in the area.

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