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Taxpayers in 33 Texas counties should be asking tough questions about Acadian Ambulance Service after what we’ve exposed in Port Arthur. Today, the depth of the deception is in black and white. As we dig deeper, we find out we’re being watched.
The breaking news from the Golden Triangle, after seventeen years in Port Arthur. Acadian ambulance is calling it quits. Just a few months after agreeing to a new contract.
They claim they just can’t make enough money sharing ambulance service with the second company port Arthur has hired to improve response times.
Very interesting timing though, it comes just days after we busted Acadian with evidence of falsified response time records the city of Port Arthur.
We brought some of our findings to Port Arthur city council.
“I just think you guys need to take this seriously and hold people’s feet to the fire,” said Wayne Dolcefino to council.
We told you Acadian had filed a false response time that hid a massive delay for a cardiac arrest call.
“If the ambulance came here earlier, I think she’d be alive,” Steve Dublon.
But three fire chiefs from the towns of Nederland, Port Neches, and Groves felt it necessary to reach out to assure their citizens Acadian was safe to depend on.
The chiefs say a dedicated ambulance is assigned there, response times are monitored.
“We feel very comfortable with the level of service that is being provided here,” said Eloy Vega.
But it was this comment that caught our attention.
“We haven’t had any company reach out to us to work in our area,” said Terry Morton.
“I did meet with the fire chief of Nederland after the release of that story and we look forward to potentially growing a relationship with them,” said Andre Ruby.
Andre Ruby is an official with City Ambulance. They already service half of Port Arthur and have now been asked to take over ambulance service in March.
“This will be the first time in the last 17 years that Port Arthur has had a fleet of dedicated ambulances to it,” continued Ruby.
The Port Arthur police chief says they have opened a criminal investigation after we complained.
“I absolutely you know I would leave no stone unturned to make sure that we get to the bottom of it,” claimed Ronald Burton.
Tough talk from City Manager Ronald Burton, but taxpayers should be asking why he didn’t act sooner after the fire chief alerted him of questionable response time records months ago.
“I am the epitome of transparency. Let me tell you one more thing though, the investigation has to be undertaken in such a way to prove whatever allegations have been done,” said Burton.
“I get the impression there are officials here who are covering for Acadian,” said Wayne Dolcefino.
“Oh no. Absolutely not,” claimed Burton.
Here’s a place to start Mr. Burton, the fire department headquarters. Our first interview with fire Chief Benson aired January 5th. Until he got hired, it looked like no one bothered to even review Acadian’s compliance with the city ordinance.
Here’s another view of that interview. We didn’t know that the conference room we walked into records and audio video. Set up to record arson suspect interviews.
There’s no sign on the door telling you that and we will forgive for a moment the fact the city illegally wiretapped my conversation with my photographer.
This is what we were most interested in. Four days after that interview aired on social media, the city got a request for a copy of the surveillance video of our interview, including the conversations off camera.
You know who asked for it? The former fire chief, Larry Richard. He retired three years ago after serving 39 years in Port Arthur.
But he’s retired, why does he care?
Wayne Dolcefino asked, “The former fire chief filed a request to get the audio and video of our conversation do you wonder why?”
Chief Benson replied, “I do wonder why.”
When asked why he requested the video Larry Richard responded, “None of your business.”
Wayne replied, “None of my business? Are you a spy for Acadian or something?”
The chief hung up on us.
Wayne said, “It seems like there are people within this government that are protecting Acadian. You get that feeling?”
Chief Benson replied, “Yes.”
“Absolutely not. Let me tell you, I as city manager if I found out anybody, anyone that’s covering for any ambulance authority. You know, I will get to the bottom of it,” said Burton.
But Benson first reported discrepancies in Acadian response times several months ago to the city manager.
And while Port Arthur has failed after more than six weeks to let us see email communications, we now have a year of response time records.
And we’ve uncovered so much more than just a few of Acadian’s so-called clerical errors.
Ambulance response times are supposed to reflect when the Acadian ambulance arrived on scene.
But look at this, unit 450, unit 480, those aren’t ambulances. They are supervisor cars. They may have gotten to the scene first, but that paramedic can’t transport anyone.
It likely means the ambulance got there later, but the records hide the true ambulance response times.
Between July and December last year supervisor units were used 107 times in these reports instead of ambulances.
And look at these “clerical errors” Acadian response times of 30 seconds or less.
Between June and December, Acadian claimed there were 24 times they responded in 10 seconds or less. 16 of those times were supposedly five seconds or less.
That’s a really fast ambulance.
Those response times manipulated Acadian’s response reports.
Dolcefino asked, “You think an ambulance can get to a call in ten seconds?”
Burton replied, “I guess maybe depends on proximity if it’s next door or let’s say it’s around the corner.”
Really? I cry BS. How often is an ambulance right across the street when you have a heart attack or call for help?
Why do these so-called clerical errors matter? Remember Acadian is required to respond to calls for help within eight minutes 90% of the time.
If they throw in a couple of these few seconds gems, their numbers look better.
“Looking at some of the information that they’ve been misrepresenting for quite some time,” said Benson.
Taxpayers should thank Chief Benson for doing what should have been done years ago.
But the secrecy is spreading as we dig deeper. Why are other fire departments trying to keep us from looking at Acadian response times in their towns?
Jasper County ESD 1, they’ve hired lawyers and gone to the attorney general spending taxpayer money to try and hide Acadian’s response time records there, public emails too.
And in Pasadena, the same story. The city is stonewalling our attempts to review Acadian response time records.
It’s really fair to ask if Acadian was cheating of Port Arthur, then why don’t we think they’re cheating in other places? And why are so many public officials fighting us and not curious about what we’re finding.Keep up with us on social media: