WCCAD approves contract with ESFD

Friday, June 23, 2017

Eureka Springs Fire & EMS is here to stay, and there’s a contract to prove it.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Western Carroll County Ambulance District Commission approved its contract with ESFD to provide ambulance service for the Western District. ESFD received the bid to provide the service in April, promising to supply two ambulances with crews on a 24-hour basis. Vice chair Sam Ward said the contract will be signed by Eureka Springs Mayor Butch Berry before June 30, the date the current ambulance contract expires.

Also at the meeting, Eureka Springs rural emergency medical responder Michael Fitzpatrick spoke about the minutes from last month’s meeting. Fitzpatrick said the minutes state that responders out of rural Eureka Springs failed to provide cover on 88 out of 98 occasions in 2015 when they were called. This is untrue, Fitzpatrick said.

“The Eureka rural EMTs carry the burden of the entire third out and fourth out response in the Western District. Whenever there is a Western District call and there’s a third out, it’s a Eureka rural person who responds,” Fitzpatrick said. “This statement is offensive. That’s fake news. It’s completely false.”

He added, “There was no occasion in 2015 when there was a requirement of a third out emergency when a crew wasn’t available. A crew was available on every occasion when it was needed.”

Ward asked Fitzpatrick if he researched that information, and Fitzpatrick said he didn’t have to. He was there for many of those calls, Fitzpatrick said, and personally saw rural Eureka crews respond to emergencies. Ward said he heard that information from former Eureka Springs fire chief Randy Ates. Since then, Ward said, he has discussed it with current fire chief Nick Samac and assistant fire chief Bob Pettus.

“Last week, Nick and Bob went over it. They said the information was incorrect,” Ward said. “It’s a he said, she said. I was unaware all of third out and fourth out fell on Eureka rural. I thought other people came besides just Eureka. I think we can put it in the record that you disagree with that figure.”

“There is no basis for that figure,” Fitzpatrick said.

“There is a basis for that figure,” Ward said.

“The basis is false,” Fitzpatrick said.

“You can’t prove that,” Ward said.

Chairman David Carlisle asked Fitzpatrick if there’s a set of records that could shed some light on the figure, and Fitzpatrick said there isn’t. Ward heard the figure, Fitzpatrick said, and announced it to everybody at the commission’s last regular meeting.

“That can be listed as unsubstantiated in the records, and we can let it go,” Carlisle said.

“The minutes last forever,” Fitzpatrick said. “It’s insulting to the people who volunteered to provide cover many, many times.”

Ward reiterated that it’s a he said, she said situation and said he was the one who reported the figure. Addressing Fitzpatrick, Ward said he remembered the meeting where he said it.

“I remember it. If I said it, I apologize to you,” Ward said. “Nick and Bob addressed that, and they went over it, and I think it was settled last week, so you’re vindicated.”

The commission’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 4 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 15, at the Eureka Springs Fire Department.

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