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      Rural/Metro files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

      Rural/Metro's Syracuse headquarters

      Ambulance and fire protection services provider Rural/Metro Corp., which has operated in Central New York for more than 60 years, says that it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization after reaching a deal with its lenders to cut its debt by about half.

      The company, which provides services in 21 states including here in Central New York, says its operations are expected to continue normally throughout the process.

      "We have talked to leadership of Rural/Metro and been assured that this restructuring will not affect emergency services in the City of Syracuse in any way and their operations will continue without interruption. We will continue to monitor this situation and take action when deemed appropriate. Senior Vice President of Operations Mark Lashley will come to Syracuse this week to brief us and answer questions," said Bill Ryan, Mayor Stephanie Miner's chief of staff.

      "We remain committed to serving our clients and communities, maintaining our relationships with vendors and supporting our employees whose hard work and dedication are critical to our success. We expect to move through this process quickly and to be a stronger, more competitive and more profitable organization," said Rural/Metro CEO Scott Bartos in a news release.

      City officials say Rural/Metro has recently expanded their Syracuse operations by purchasing new equipment and hiring 40 new employees since the beginning of 2013. Rural/Metro also indicated to the city that 10 to 12 new positions will be filled in the coming months.

      Rural/Metro said Sunday it will also receive a cash infusion of $135 million as part of its agreement with lenders and bondholders, which will be filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. The company, which is based in Scottsdale, Arizona and owned by private equity firm Warburg Pincus, expects to complete its restructuring by the fourth quarter of this year.

      (Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.)