The official announcement will be made Tuesday morning but Southeast Texas EMS is closing its doors and leaving residents in rural parts of Jefferson County, The Examiner has confirmed. And county officials have been scrambling for the past 24-hours to ensure residents will have ambulance service when they need it.
According to several employees and county officials, the company had been experiencing severe financial problems and is closing its doors. In December, The Examiner also exposed the fact the company was under investigation by the FBI for a variety of alleged infractions.
But the most recent incident involving SETX EMS is the bank has called the notes on its financing and seized, at least, one vehicle this past week. A Suburban used by the company is currently parked behind Mid-South Bank on Dowlen Road.
When asked about the situation, County Judge Jeff Brannick said, “I don’t know the particulars as to what it was that caused their financial crisis but I will be delivered a letter tomorrow morning stating that they will be discontinuing operations within 24 hours.”
Brannick said he; Rod Carroll, former owner of Stat-Care EMS and current spokesperson for Sheriff Mitch Woods; along with Jefferson County Emergency Management Coordinator Greg Fountain have been working over the weekend to find alternative EMS service.
“Acadian has agreed to step in for 60-days and provide coverage to determine where we go from here,” Brannick said. “They will come in for that time while they study what the scope and needs are out there. Rod Carroll and Greg Fountain and I met about it last night. We are very thankful that we will have coverage while we determine what was going on.”
Attempts to reach Cindy and Sean Fitzgerald, the owners of the company, were unsuccessful.
Fountain, said he has spoken with several area fire chiefs, who were alerted to the situation.
“It is a shame that it came to this,” Fountain said. “They have done a great job responding over the last few years but we are going to have to count on Acadian EMS to step-up and fill the void.
“Aside from whatever financial issues they may have, they did a good job for the county.”