Union Township loses ambulance, EMS service

NOW: Union Township loses ambulance, EMS service

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. -- Folks in St. Joseph County needing an ambulance may have to wait longer for help.

Wednesday, the Union North Ambulance Service announced its services have been terminated for Union Township residents.

This means first responders are down an ambulance in the Lakeville area.

“Not being allowed access to our second ambulance really hinders our ability to respond,” says EMS Chief of the Union North Ambulance Service, John Lampkins.

Lampkins says he didn't know his volunteer EMS crew was losing half of their coverage area until they were already locked out of the Lakeville Fire Department.

That’s where one of their two ambulances is currently sitting, and they can’t use it.

In a Facebook post Wednesday, Lampkins explained the sudden situation, that the Union Township Trustee said their services in Union Township were terminated. 

“I received a notification from Union Township Trustee that we’re in contract negotiations right now, and that those negotiations were not going to be moving forward,” says Lampkins.

A legal representative for Union Township confirms that Union and North Townships have not been able to agree on the future of their combined service. 

Lampkins says the South Bend Fire Department will respond to calls in the meantime, but he warns that Union Township residents could experience longer response times for emergencies. 

“We’re still receiving responses from South Bend Fire, but that ambulance is coming from one of South Bend’s Fire Stations or somewhere else in the county,” explains Lampkins.

The closest South Bend Fire Station is about a 13-minute drive from the spot Union North kept its second ambulance.

Union Township says the shutdown is short term while they work with the state to get the one ambulance certified, but Lampkins hopes a permanent solution comes soon.  

“All of our volunteers are here to help the community and to be blocked from doing that is really upsetting,” Lampkins says.

The South Bend Fire Department’s EMS Chief confirmed with ABC57 that they will respond to all calls in Union Township.

North Township didn’t respond to ABC57’s request for comment Thursday evening.   

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