DICKSON CITY, Pa. -- People in part of Lackawanna County have been wondering what happened to their local ambulance service, and after fielding questions from borough officials, Dickson City Ambulance has revealed that it's more than $100,000 in debt.
Officials with Dickson City Ambulance told Dickson City borough that it would no longer pay EMTs and switch to a fully volunteer operation. They then handed over their financials showing $100,000 in unpaid bills which many think means that the service is done for good.
Folks in Dickson City have been noticing their ambulance service building has been closed up more than usual, the ambulances parked in the garage, and if they are on the road, it's just a one-person crew.
Stanley Prushinski may be the most upset about it. The Dickson City councilman was a member of the ambulance service for 39 years. He retired in 2016.
"I can't tell you what happened there because I don't know. I'm anxious to find out what happened."
Prushinski and his fellow borough officials started pressuring the ambulance service's leadership for answers, and at a meeting earlier this month, the service revealed that it no longer has any paid employees and will now be all-volunteer. Officials also handed over a list of what the ambulance owes -- about two dozen unpaid bills for supplies, maintenance, and utilities totaling more than $100,000.
"How come they're $100,000 in the hole right now? Where did it go? They owe one of the major ambulances here over $39,000," said Prushinski.
The paperwork shows Dickson City has not paid Pennsylvania Ambulance for calls when a paramedic is needed, but now Pennsylvania Ambulance will take calls in town if the volunteers are not available.
"Two biggest concerns that the borough had was to make sure continued coverage in the municipality, 24/7. Which they assured us was happening with Pennsylvania Ambulance. And the second one was for the people that made donations to the ambulance, if they would get the same discounted rate that they had with their membership. And they assured us that would happen also," said borough manager Cesare Forconi.
Dickson City Ambulance did a fund drive several months ago, offering discounted rates to people who donate if they need an ambulance. Borough officials say Pennsylvania Ambulance will honor that discounted rate for anyone who donated to Dickson City Ambulance.