Bad blood is boiling between emergency services in the City of Nowata and Nowata County.
The chief of the Nowata Fire Department, Stephen Parmenter, says their ambulance wasn’t dispatched to an injury crash that would’ve taken them five minutes to get to.
He’s questioning why.
Parmenter filed a statement with the city manager regarding the call, which happened in May.
He says that the Nowata County Sheriff’s Office paged Bartlesville even though his department had an ambulance ready to go.
“That was just an incident that didn’t have to happen,” said Parmenter.
He says he passed the injury crash on Highway 60 and Bartlesville ambulance service was there.
Parmenter says he asked dispatch why Nowata wasn’t sent and they said they were told to call Bartlesville.
“The patient sat out there for approximately 30 minutes with us not responding,” he declared.
The sheriff’s office says Nowata’s ambulance was out on a call, but the fire department said they had a second crew ready.
“My dispatcher did try to get ahold of the fire department by telephone,” said Nowata County Undersheriff Chris Sitsler.
According to Parmenter, it would have taken his ambulance three to six minutes to get there, while it took Bartlesville’s 25 minutes.
Parmenter says, “we do use Bartlesville a lot of times, and Oologah, when our ambulance is busy, but they’re not the ones to make that call.”
He says that when he approached Sheriff Kenny Freeman about the incident, Freeman said he wasn’t sure why it happened, but said he had a lot of new people working dispatch.
“It’s just a lapse in how things are supposed to be done and how they’re supposed to be trained,” said Parmenter.
He also says the sheriff has made some comments that have upset area firefighters.
“I know there’s a lot of bad blood right now between the fire department and the sheriff’s department,” he said. “That’s not what we want.”
"It has nothing to do with them. Nothing to do against them. It’s just if they’re tied up and they don’t have anyone else available, we will call another agency,” said Sitsler. "We’re thankful for the outside agencies that are willing to come in to help and we are thankful for Nowata EMS, too, for the hard work that they do, especially when we get real busy."
But both departments know they need each other to function.
"As far as emergency personnel, it doesn’t matter if everyone gets along. We still have a job to do," said Parmenter.
The two people who were injured in the crash are expected to be okay, but the fire chief hopes that it doesn’t happen again because their job is to serve the people in the community as best they can.