WEST PARIS — Tri-Town Ambulance and Emergency Rescue Service will close at 5 p.m. Nov. 30, ending service to Sumner and West Paris, Deputy Chief Darryl Rugg said this week.
Rugg said the closure is fallout from the closure of Ledgeview Living Center on Route 26 in West Paris earlier this month.
The independently operated nursing home announced in August that it was shutting its doors after 46 years, citing difficulties in paying employees under the state’s Medicare reimbursement system and a 2016 state law that raised the minimum wage to $10 per hour.
Tri-Town Rescue Chief Joe Morin said that after Nov. 30, PACE Ambulance Service in Norway will cover West Paris and Buckfield Rescue will cover Sumner.
“Ultimately, it’s up to the towns to decide who they move forward with after that,” Morin said.
He added that Tri-Town has spoken with PACE, Med-Care Ambulance in Mexico and Buckfield Rescue, and all three organizations said they would accept applications from the 17 employees at Tri-Town Rescue.
Rugg said Tri-Town Rescue was formed in 1981 by West Paris, Sumner and Greenwood.
“Tri-Town formed after Andrews Funeral Home stopped providing ambulance service to the towns,” he said.
Eventually, Greenwood and Woodstock found ambulance coverage elsewhere, Rugg said, leaving only West Paris and Sumner.
“The cost of supplies, fuel and payroll have been going up, the insurance reimbursements go down, and the towns don’t get any bigger,” Rugg said.
“After Penley Mill closed in 2002, Ledgeview Living Center became the biggest employer for West Paris. It also accounted for 40 percent of our call volume. With Ledgeview closing, it has a ripple effect to the communities. It just wasn’t possible to continue coverage,” he said.