VERMILION — Mayor Jim Forthofer signed in the immediate replacement ambulance service for Vermilion on Wednesday morning.
The contract made LifeCare Ambulance Inc. of Elyria the provider for the city of Vermilion and Brownhelm Township, replacing North Central EMS.
The signing took place in the ambulance garage newly owned by the city at 1011 Douglas St., to be known as Life Care’s Station 7.
The idea of changing services started in July when North Central covered Vermilion, Brownhelm and Vermilion townships. When Vermilion Township decided to provide its own ambulance service, North Central told the city and Brownhelm Township it needed to change the contract as the contract no longer covered the costs of operation with two communities.
Forthofer sought a replacement and found LifeCare to serve Vermilion as long as the city could find a home base.
So the city bought the old station on Douglas Street that used to belong to North Central for about $180,000. It now leases the station to LifeCare for about $1 a year.
Herb de la Porte, LifeCare vice president, said the company will cover the heating and other utilities, but the building costs are not a problem.
“In this particular case, this is probably the smoothest transition that I’ve ever seen both because of the city and also because of North Central’s participation and willingness to make sure everything was met,” de La Porte said.
North Central EMS was still at the station until 8 a.m. cleaning out while LifeCare was moving in.
LifeCare also has installed a new call box for people coming to the station for help. The box is mostly for people suffering from opioid addiction and wanting help from overdoses. He said it’s happened enough elsewhere for the call box to be needed.