A harrowing overnight incident that resulted in a transport leaving the highway and crashing into two houses in Beardmore has the chief of an area First Nation calling for the preservation of a local ambulance base.
Nobody in the houses were reported to be injured in the collision, which happened just before 1 a.m. Friday.
Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabek Chief Paul Gladu said one of the homes belonged to an elder in his community, who was at home with his wife and both were sleeping at the time of the incident.
Gladu said he was thankful that they were not injured, but the incident points to the importance of having local emergency services.
"Without EMS, the time to get to these incidents are longer, in which ambulance response times are independently associated with defibrillation and survival," Gladu said in a statement.
Provincial police said the occupants of the vehicle were taken to a Nipigon hospital for treatment of undetermined injuries.
A Superior North EMS plan recommends the consolidation of some of their regional stations, which would result in the closure of the base in Beardmore. The plan would have the ambulance redeployed to Longlac, with Beardmore left with one paramedic and a non-ambulance vehicle.
Last year, then-Superior North EMS chief Wayne Gates said he believed the consolidation would not have any impact on response times and that it would improve the level of service.
Gladu said Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabek, along with neighbouring First Nations and municipalities, are urging government intervention to address the issue.
"We need to ensure that our members can feel safe knowing there is an ambulance that can come without delay when emergency services are called," Gladu said.