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ATLANTA -- Rural/Metro, one of the nation's biggest ambulance companies is facing possible bankruptcy after defaulting on a bond payment.

The company, based in Arizona, provides ambulance services to more than 26 Georgia communities in addition to 700 cities in 21 states nationwide.

The question being asked by customers and local officials is could bankruptcy possibly halt ambulance service in metro communities.

Lawyers say no and stress that a Rural/Metro bankruptcy will not affect customers but will be felt by creditors.

"People don't need to be alarmed if they file bankruptcy," said Tom Salata, an Atlanta attorney.

"It does not mean that Rural/Metro ambulance will be stopping service and ambulances would not be responding. It means they will not be selling off trucks. They will not be selling off equipment. They will maintain what they have now while they restructure their debt," Salata added.

In Metro Atlanta, Rural/Metro ambulances serve a cross-section of communities that include Alpharetta, Roswell, College Park, and East Point.

In Sandy Springs, Rural/Metro keeps its ambulances stationed at the city fire stations for instant response.

The company declined to go on camera to discuss the possible bankruptcy, but instead issued a statement, saying:

"Rural/Metro continues to take action to align our operations. From an operational perspective, it is business as usual."

"That means all the trucks keep rolling; all the people keep responding and service will not be interrupted," Salata said.

Over the next weeks, Rural/Metro hopes to work out a deal with creditors and lenders. If it cannot be arranged, a bankruptcy filing could possibly come later this month.

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