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W.V. ready to launch its own ambulance service on Monday

6 new vehicles and 16 new hires will serve city residents

WEST VALLEY CITY — At 12:01 a.m. Monday, residents here will receive their ambulance service from a new source: the city's fire department.

The city is ready to begin its own ambulance service after decades of contracting with Gold Cross. On Thursday, the fire department showed reporters one of its two new Pierce Lance C13 transport engines and one of its four new Frazer ambulances.

"The highest level of care possible is what West Valley City will be providing to patients," fire Chief John Evans said.

The fire department's new ambulance contract required it to buy the six new vehicles and hire 16 new firefighter/paramedics. Evans said the ambulances cost about $90,000 each and the transport vehicles about $390,000 each.

He said the number of vehicles and personnel will be an increase from those dedicated to West Valley when Gold Cross provided ambulance service.

The new contract with the fire department comes after the city put out a request for bids in March 2004 under a new law allowing cities to provide their own emergency transport services. The city received two bids — one from Gold Cross, the other from the fire department.

The city's choice to go with the fire department resulted in a lawsuit filed by Gold Cross, which claimed the city did not select the "lowest responsive and responsible bidder," which is required by state law.

Gold Cross' bid said it could offer service at no cost to the city and without future subsidy from the city. The fire department's bid included a table showing projected profits but "did not provide any other information regarding costs or assurances that the city would not be required to subsidize the service," according to the lawsuit.

But earlier this month, a judge ruled that the city was within its rights to approve the fire department's bid.

Mayor Dennis Nordfelt and city Councilwoman Barbara Thomas both praised the fire department's readiness to offer the new service and promised it will mean better care for West Valley residents.

The city plans to continue using Gold Cross for its non-emergency hospital-to-hospital ambulance service.