Rescue Squad Shuts Down Unexpectedly

By: Estephany Escobar Email
By: Estephany Escobar Email

Sandra Wilkins has ridden in a Mathias-Baker Rescue Squad ambulance before.

But she's unsure if she'll get to ride again.

"We had no forewarning. We had nothing, it just feels they left us," Wilkins said.

Hardy County Commissioner A.J. Wade said the Mathias-Baker Rescue Squad shut down its operations on Sunday.

He said they stopped taking 911 calls.

He said he doesn't know the reason. Wade said the members of the squad told him their lawyer advised them to shut down.

Some neighbors like Harold Davis didn't know about this until Tuesday.

He said there should have been some communication with community members before shutting down operations.

"There was no discussion of why, which I find alarming considering the services and things that would be needed."

Wade said after an emergency meeting on Monday, the rescue squad is operating again with less staff and in fewer places.

They used to serve Hardy and Grant county.

They're now working under the county, in eastern parts of Hardy county with only 12 volunteer members on board.

"If something was bad not only to me but to anybody in this area, we have no help," Wilkins said.

Wilkins said the closest rescue squad is 30 miles away and the closest hospital is 40 miles away.

"If it's a heart, a brain, a stroke or a heart attack, we are not gonna make it that far, if we need immediate help. There's no one here," Wilkins said.

We tried to contact the rescue squad but our calls were not returned. We also knocked on their door and no one responded.

Hardy County Commission President Michael Teets said he asked West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin for help to fix this problem.

He said there will be an investigation of why they had to shut down.

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