Jobs, service lost

An ambulance company that provided local transport services abruptly closed its doors Friday as its parent company filed for bankruptcy.

Life Ambulance Services, located at 115 Tennis Center Drive in Marietta and on Seventh Street in Parkersburg, was one of the transport services used by the Memorial Health System, said director of marketing and public relations Jennifer Offenberger.

“Certainly we’re feeling the impact a little bit, but the fact that we have another partnership means the patients are getting the care they need,” she said.

Community Ambulance Service, Inc., which is headquartered in Zanesville, is now the sole provider of contract services for Memorial Health System facilities.

Marietta Ambulance, which had provided both local emergency and transport services, ceased operations earlier this year, according to former owner Roger Anderson.

Community Ambulance Service primarily provides emergency and non-emergency contract services around Zanesville, but has been serving Marietta since September when it contracted with the Memorial Health System, said Community Ambulance Service director Tom Edminson.

The company has already seen an increase in transports being scheduled, he said.

“With two providers we had a split in volume. We’re trying to manage with the volume increase as best as we can,” he said.

The company is currently accepting applications for EMTs, paramedics and ambulette drivers in anticipation of increasing their staff, he added.

While Life Ambulance Service did provide emergency services in parts of Ohio, the company only provided non-emergency services locally.

That involved transporting patients to hospitals in Columbus, but also included local transports, said Offenberger.

“It would include if they’re being transported from (Marietta Memorial Hospital) to Harmar Place or the Arbors or some other care facility,” she said.

Typically these transports are covered by insurance, said Edminson.

The closure will not affect emergency calls, said Chief C.W. Durham of the Marietta Fire Department.

“They were in no way associated with 9-1-1,” said Durham.

It is unclear how many employees the Marietta location employed. No one at that location answered the phone Tuesday.

At Life Ambulance’s Parkersburg location, doors were locked Tuesday. The company provided non-emergency transport services in Wood County as well.

Additionally, no one was answering phones at LAS’s parent company, First Med EMS, headquartered in Wilmington, N.C.

First Med’s website has been down for maintenance since Saturday and the Associated Press reports that operators answering phone calls confirmed the company’s closure but declined to give any further information.

It is unclear how many jobs were lost when First Med EMS abruptly closed on Friday. According to a cached version of its website, the company had operated “70 offices, in six states, with over 650 vehicles.”

According to the Associated Press, the company filed for bankruptcy Friday.