UPDATE: Friday, 10:50 a.m.
MediRide's Advanced Life Support emergency response unit at Sawyer will continue to operate and provide service to that area until further notice.
ORIGINAL STORY: Thursday, 2:10 p.m.
MediRide EMS in Marquette will cease operations Thursday evening at 7 p.m. The company has been providing Advanced Life Support emergency ambulance service to all of the county for over 13 years.
In a statement to TV6 and FOX UP, co-owner Dave Guizzetti said: "After 13-and-a-half years of providing services to the people of Marquette County, my business partner, Michelle DeLisle and I have decided to cease our EMS operation. We feel honored to have had the opportunity to help so many of our friends, family and neighbors throughout our community and we'll miss that. We feel truly blessed to have had so many great employees over the years, and we'll miss them the most. While this chapter of our lives is closing, we're looking forward to working on the new projects before us. We'd like to thank the community for all their support!"
According to Guizzetti, about 15 positions, mostly part-time, will be affected by the closure.
"I've already had expression of interest just this morning from three different parties regarding purchasing MediRide's assets, vehicles and equipment with the intention of opening their own operation in town," Guizzetti added.
Marquette County residents won't notice the change, said Bob Struck, the executive director of UP-EMS. UP-EMS is a non-profit agency that works to network all Upper Peninsula emergency response services.
"I don't think the public is going to notice any difference, there's going to be an ambulance available when someone needs it," Struck said. "It's just unfortunate losing MediRide, it's an additional resource that this community doesn't have."
Marquette County will now have only six ambulance services, two of those paramedic units at Marquette General and Bell Hospitals. The county has eight first-responder units.
"(MGH and Bell) are going to be busy, picking up the call volume that MediRide used to ," he said.
MGH said in a statement: "Pertaining to the MediRide closure, MGH has been made aware of this possibility. Therefore, MGH and other Marquette County emergency responders are staffed and equipped to handle all EMS calls. Residents should see no change in either ambulance coverage or response times."
From January 1, 2013 to July 31, 2013, MediRide completed 964 runs compared to 1599 for MGH.
MediRide's shutdown leaves only two private EMS operations in the U.P.
"It's hard to maintain. There's costs, there's legislation, there's stuff out of Lansing that makes it difficult, so for a private operator to make a go out of it, is very tough ," Struck said.
Struck added that MediRide's shutdown is a "sign of the times."
"Things are tightening up. If we lose one ambulance service, I think we can sustain it and get by, but if we happen to lose another ambulance service in the Marquette area, or anywhere else in the Upper Peninsula, that's not good," he said.