INGONISH, N.S. -- Word that the Ingonish Irving will no longer be pumping gas come the new year has people in the community angry.

It's one of only two gas stations in Ingonish, N.S.

It has been operating under the Irving name for the past 34 years and selling fuel in the community for much longer.

Coun. Larry Dauphinee says he's been flooded with phone calls and social media messages since the gas station's local owners announced on Facebook that their fuel tanks will soon be up, and Irving has opted not to replace them.

"I've never seen the community so upset," Dauphinee says.

Dauphinee says it's another blow for an area that's been struggling during COVID-19.

"We got a young family here who just took over the business from his father a couple of years ago and struggling to survive," Dauphinee says.  "So, yeah, the community's very upset about it."

The chief of the Ingonish Beach Volunteer Fire department says they often depend on the gas station when responding to an emergency in the wee hours.

"He'll open up at two in the morning, three in the morning," said Ervin Barron.

The same is true for paramedics and power crews.

"It's life and death for us if we don't have fuel here," Barron said. "It's not like downtown Sydney where it's an inconvenience."

People in the community say their concerns come not only from an emergency services standpoint, but also when it comes to tourism -- now, and after the pandemic is over.

"You gotta realize, we have about 350,000 people who travel through here on the Cabot Trail every summer," Dauphinee said.

An online petition to support the Ingonish service station is nearing its goal of 2,500 signatures.

"I think if you had this in a major city, you might not see the outcry," said Dauphinee. "But in a local area, where we’re losing things left and right, it’s just one more thing that we don’t want to lose.’

Dauphinee adds that he's calling on government to help rural gas stations not only in his community, but across Nova Scotia.

An email to Irving Oil asking for comment wasn't returned by publishing time.