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County officials decide to shut down rescue squad

The Morehead-Rowan County Rescue Squad been in existence for about 37 years but, as of Friday, they say they're shut down.

Assistant Chief Chris Duffy says his crew is vital to the county's safety.

"We're like the spare tire in a car. It's good to have, just keep it hidden until you need it," Duffy said.

This week, the rescue squad was told its services were no longer needed. Rowan County Judge-Executive Jim Nickell told NEWSFIRST over the phone the decision was made because the county fire department could do the same job. Since each department has to have liability insurance, Nickell says the taxpayers will save money.

Rescue squad Chief Wesley Helterbrand says his department has unique capabilities.

"We can set up our mobile command down there to take over E-911," Helterbrand said. "Far as I know, no other agency in the county can do that."

Assistant Chief Duffy says his squad is needed not only in Rowan County, but in the surrounding area as well.

"A lot of the counties around here depend on us but now if they call, we don't have a rescue squad," Duffy says.

Nickell says all the equipment the rescue squad has will be redistributed among the fire departments.

Several members of the rescue squad belong to the county's volunteer fire department. They say they plan to continue to work there.

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