St. Louis Public Radio News
4:46 pm
Tue July 1, 2003

Alton Emergency Medical Calls Service Won't be Cut

Alton, Ill. – After weeks of rancor and the resignations of two fire officials, the mayor of the St. Louis suburb Alton, Illinois, shelves plans to cut emergency medical service.

Instead, Mayor Don Sandidge says he will make cuts in the fire department in other ways to help plug a $1.2 million city budget gap.

Sandidge had proposed allowing a private ambulance service to handle "minor" emergency medical calls alone. Instead,
firefighters with special medical training will continue to respond to each medical call alongside the private ambulances.

Former Fire Chief Tom Chappell and the man tapped to replace him temporarily, Acting Chief David Eckhouse, resigned in recent weeks to protest the planned cutbacks, saying they would compromise public safety.