City Council to hear from EMS companies
By Ken Stickney
A Harris County-based ambulance service, named in a controversial lawsuit in 2017, has applied for an agreement to provide emergency medical services in Port Arthur.
The request by Viking Enterprises, doing business as City Ambulance, appears among non-consent resolutions to be considered by the Port Arthur City Council at its Tuesday night, regularly scheduled meeting.
Also on the agenda is a presentation by Brandon Hebert and Clifton Allen “regarding ambulance service in Port Arthur.” Hebert is director of operations for Acadian Ambulance in Port Arthur, which has been the sole ambulance provider in Port Arthur since 2010.
If Viking Enterprises were granted a permit to provide EMS services in Port Arthur, the company would have to provide both 911 and non-emergency services. Prior to 2010, there were two providers in Port Arthur.
Hebert said Acadian believes single-provider services in Port Arthur, with one central site of oversight, best ensures that the closest provider is sent in every emergency response.
He said Acadian’s EMTs are highly trained and that the company has invested heavily in Port Arthur. He said the company would tell City Council members Tuesday that Acadian provides ambulance standby at many public events at no cost to city taxpayers and that it is investing in an “ambus,” a vehicle capable of transporting multiple patients in the case of a “mass-casualty emergency,” such as those that might occur at local plants.
“We have expertise and made a commitment to the community,” he said.
He recounted Acadian working side-by-side with the Cajun Navy and the military to load patients on Black Hawks and Chinooks during Hurricane and Tropical Storm Harvey in 2017. He said the company is proud of its work here.
“We put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into making sure citizens get a rapid response,” he said.
Viking Enterprises was named in a lawsuit filed in 2017 by rival provider Republic EMS in Harris County. There, the plaintiffs contended in their suit that Viking, doing business as City Ambulance, had vandalized Republic ambulances and “shot out windows” of a Republic ambulance.
The plaintiffs said Republic ambulances were vandalized on nine separate occasions, and that shootings at ambulances occurred “at a variety of locations in Texas.”
Republic suggested their company had found “illegal tracking devices installed on their ambulances,” which they contend City Ambulance placed there. The plaintiffs said City Ambulance had cost them more than $100,000 in damages and security costs.
The Port Arthur News contacted City Ambulance, which said through a spokesman that Republic’s lawsuit had not moved forward since it was filed in the summer of 2017. They company said it had tried unsuccessfully to expand operations into Beaumont last year.