Julia Roberts Goad
PHELPS — The closing of Questcare EMS has left the Phelps community of Pike County without speedy ambulance service, and Magistrate Hilman Dotson is concerned.
Dotson told the Pike County Fiscal Court that when people in his district call for an ambulance, one is dispatched through Transtar in Pikeville or Appalachian 1st Response, in Stone. Both locations are approximately 45 minutes away.
“It’s a bad situation,” Dotson said. “If someone is hurt bad, a heart attack or something, it takes too long for someone to get there.”
Pike Emergency Services Director Doug Tackett said he was unsure why Transtar was taking so long to locate a station at Phelps.
“They say they can’t find a place,” Tackett said. “We told them they could have the same location the old company had, but they didn’t want it.”
Tackett said an area fire department also offered to let Transtar set up at their department, but they declined.
However, Transtar owner Allen Lafferty said they have not been able to find a suitable space for an ambulance station in the area.
“We are currently responding from our station in John’s Creek,” Lafferty told the Daily News. “We have talked to the Kimper Fire Department, but their terms were not agreeable.”
Lafferty said he had spoke to Tackett in January and assured him they would put a station in the area as soon as they can find an appropriate location.
“We have always planned on putting one station over there,” Lafferty said. “Obviously, we have backups if they would be needed, and if more than one unit was required we would put more over there.”
Lafferty asked anyone who has a space in the Phelps/Kimper area that might be suitable for a station to please contact Ben Johnson, CFO for Transtar, at 606 886-7030.