WHITNEY (August 16, 2013) - An emotional last day at work for twenty-four Lake Whitney Emergency Medical Technicians came Friday.
After 42 years of service, at 5 p.m. Friday the doors to the Lake Whitney EMS building were shut and locked for good.
After nearly thirteen years as a paramedic, Sara Apuan never dreamed her last day working at Lake Whitney EMS would come this soon.
"It blows my mind that this is actually happening," Apuan said. "I just figured some way or another they would work this out because we are such a vital part of this community."
Apuan and her twenty-three co-workers are currently jobless.
Most said they hope to get an EMT job with a nearby department.
Lake Whitney EMS Director Jimmy Hoskins said the news of the ambulance service shutting down is devastating but not a complete shock.
It is run by the Lake Whitney Medical Center, one of the five Texas hospitals previously owned by Tariq Mahmood.
Mahmood has been indicted for Medicare fraud and sold the facility to Frontier Hospitals.
"We do appreciate the community's support over the years and we wish them well," Hoskins said.
Hoskins said the hospital told him continuing the ambulance service was financially impossible.
"We go through some really hard things out here," Apuan said. "From horrible car wrecks to everything in between."
All Lake Whitney EMS calls will now dispatch to the Whitney Fire Department.
Fire Chief Wayland Price said there are nine certified paramedics on his staff but right now they do not have an ambulance.
Price said Hillsboro EMS is temporarily helping them respond to calls.
Price said he is confident the citizens of Whitney will still get the medical help they need, when they need it.
He said they are expecting to get an ambulance to keep in Whitney early next week from North Bosque's department.
Lake Whitney EMS has three ambulances that will now go unused.
"These ambulances will not be responding to any calls to my knowledge," Hoskins said.
"There aren't any plans to transfer the vehicles or equipment to a third party provider."