MONROVIA, Ind. --
The parents of a 20-year-old Monrovia firefighter who collapsed and died in his home early Wednesday said their son could have been saved if not for cuts to township ambulance services.
Ricky Tankersley's home is less than two miles from the Gregg Township Fire Station in Morgan County, but the building was unmanned early this morning, 6News' Joanna Massee reported.
The township recently laid off 20 people, making the department volunteer-only and cutting ambulance services.
"We need our ambulance. We're clear out here in the boonies," said Tankersley's mother, Tammy Tankersley. "We need our ambulance and we need our people available instantly."
Gregg Township Fire Chief Larry Hayes said the call from Tankersley's house was dispatched at 1:01 a.m.
The first ambulance came from more than eight miles away in Martinsville and arrived at Tankersley's home at 1:19 a.m. The Advanced Life Support vehicle came from Mooresville, which is more than 13 miles away, and arrived at Tankersley's home at 1:23 a.m.
Paramedic Jameson Johnson said he would've been on duty at the time Tankersley went into cardiac arrested had he still been employed with Gregg Township.
He blamed those who did not want to pay more for his salary and the salaries of his fellow firefighters in Tankersley's death.
"I hope the people who caused it can certainly live with themselves with this," Johnson said.
Hayes said he believes a lack of funding contributed in the death.
"He would have definitely had a better chance had he had the quicker response time," he said.
Tankersley's father, Rick Tankersley, said his son had complained of breathing problems, but no one thought his symptoms were life-threatening.
He said he's angry as a father and a taxpayer.
"We have lost our ambulance service in our whole township," he said. "I'm a taxpayer in this great township and it makes me very, very upset."
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