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County advised to buy building for ambulance service

County advised to buy Dubois building for ambulance department

Jan 15, 2013 - By Eric Blom, Staff Writer

Emergency medical service staff in Dubois may not have to sleep in the ambulance's cab much longer.

The Fremont County Commission plans to buy a building in town for the ambulance department.

EMS coordinator Bill Hetzel and county building maintenance supervisor J.R. Oakley said at the commission's meeting Jan. 8 that they recommend the county finalize the purchase of a house at 107 C St. in Dubois, a location across the street from the ambulance barn.

Chairman Doug Thompson has until Jan. 15 to close on the purchase. The house costs $110,000 and will be paid for with money from the ambulance department's enterprise fund.

The county has facilities to store the emergency vehicles but lacked adequate space for other needs.

Speaking at the Fremont County Association of Governments meeting Jan. 10, commission vice-chairman Travis Becker said ambulance personnel from other parts of the county who cover shifts in Dubois do not have a place to stay.

"The people who are on call 24 hours a day ... they have been staying in the cab of the vehicle," he said. "Now they'll have a nice warm bed they can sleep in."

The current facilities also make training inconvenient.

Ambulance director Lauri Wempen said Dubois EMS staff have to empty the garage of equipment and train in there.

The residential property will provide space for training, sleeping quarters and an office.

Wempen said her department has sought another facility in Dubois for several years.

Building maintenance staff found the house would serve EMS's needs and did not have any serious problems with the structure, utilities or appliances. A three-sided storage structure attached to the house does encroach on an adjacent property, but Oakley did not consider it a serious issue.

"We're talking inches here," he said. "I don't see it as a deal breaker."

Oakley added if the neighbor ever took issue with it, the shed easily could be taken down. The building will also need a new roof within five years, he said.

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