Pine Belt counties hit by ambulance service shutdown

Twenty-three Mississippi counties are now without an ambulance service provider after one of the state's major providers shut down.

Emergystat ambulance service officially closed down at midnight Wednesday. Those counties affected in and around the Pine Belt include Pearl River, Greene, Simpson and Smith counties. Like many others across the state, Pearl River County is relying on neighboring counties to ensure an ambulance service is available for emergencies.

Emergystat representatives say a lack of liability insurance and serious financial problems forced the company to close.

"We've got a temporary plan in place, that AMR has brought four ambulances in to handle everything, if there's a shortage they will fall back and need be request assistance and mutual aid from the other two providers," says county administrator Adrian Lumpkin.

State officials say anyone in those affected counties can still call 911 for emergencies.