CONWAY, SC (WMBF) – Just weeks before Christmas, thousands of workers in the region lost their jobs after a medical transport company closed their doors. Local employees say they got a call Saturday morning from TransMed saying not to come into work.
Employees say the parent company, FirstMed EMS, has offices in eight different states and believe all of them closed overnight. WMBF News called the company's main office and was told by the Director that she had no comment, and the appropriate people would be in contact.
After additional phone calls, the company is still not releasing information.
The main office for TransMed in Conway is closed, the doors are locked and the lights are off. One man walking into the office told WMBF News he had no comment about what was happening and simply said "we are closed."
Employees are left in the dark, wondering if they will ever re-open.
"It took my career away. It took my paycheck away, I don't know how I'm going to pay for bills," worried Brittany Rall, a former employee with TransMed.
Working with dispatch for TransMed, Rall got a call just before her Saturday shift saying not to come into work.
"I asked him, 'are we laid off?' and all he could say was 'have a great weekend,'" she said.
No official notice. No explanation.
"It's a multi-million dollar company. You wouldn't expect it to shut down in a matter of two hours," said Laura Challenger, another former dispatch employee.
She explained all they got was a phone call to clear out their desks.
"Everyone has cleaned out their offices, it's definitely shut down. I was told by the Director everything is going to be liquidated," said Kerry Holt, the former Dispatch Supervisor over South Carolina.
Even with her title as supervisor, Holt has been told nothing. Right now, employees are hearing rumors over why the offices in eight states closed down.
"Everything is shut down. Every base, every station, every admin, sales, everything," said Challenger.
Unfortunately, one thing is certain for the family.
"We have no income, no health insurance. I'd been there two years, Kerry for eight at the same company."
Both parents were employed by TransMed, making both of them currently unemployed.
"We have no idea where our next paycheck is coming from," said Holt.
It's a sense of helplessness many employees are feeling just weeks before the holidays.
"Christmas is ruined. They ruined the lives of families, it's devastation, they took everything from us," expressed Rall.
The severity of losing their livelihood isn't lost on the former employees. However, more than anything, they worry about the patients that will no longer be receiving transport services from TransMed in the area.
"It's affecting our patients, affecting 911, affecting hospitals and nursing homes," said Rall.
They hope other companies can help the community.
"What about the other companies that have to pick up our slack? Were they prepared for it, do they have the resources?" Challenger worries.
The website for the parent company, FirstMed EMS, is currently down. Employees can't access their emails or notify patients needing transportation that they won't be picking them up.
TransMed had satellite offices in Conway, Georgetown and Murrells Inlet.