Signs Placed in D.C. Ambulance Engines as Heat Shields

By Mila Mimica
|  Thursday, Aug 15, 2013  |  Updated 6:19 AM EDT
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Signs Placed in D.C. Ambulance Engines as Heat Shields

D.C. Firefighters Association

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D.C. Fire and EMS used aluminum signs inside engines of four ambulance vehicles as temporary fixes following air conditioning problems.

According to the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice, the signs were placed inside engines to serve as heat shields last month, and were removed Wednesday. More permanent alterations were made to the vehicles and two are already back in service, according to officials.

The revelation comes one day after two ambulance engines caught fire while responding to separate calls in the District. Officials said those vehicles did not have signs placed inside their engines.

Last week, an ambulance ran out of gas on the White House's South Lawn right before being used in the president's motorcade. 

"I'll tell you the president is always safe in Washington, D.C.and that's the extent of any comments I would make about that," D.C. Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe told News4 Tuesday.

Ellerbe has come under hot water this year regarding several issues with D.C. Fire including fleet readiness, department staffing and arrival times.

News4's I-Team investigated ambulance delays following the death of a 53-year-old man last December. An ambulance was deployed to his home 10 minutes after an initial call, but a paramedic to conduct "Advanced Life Support" was not on board. That crew arrived 20 minutes after the first 911 call, and the man died five days later.

Ellerbe testified in March only 58 of the District's 111 ambulances were in service, and only 245 paramedics were employed, short of a target of 300.

In May, an ambulance broke down along Interstate 295 while transporting a gunshot victim.

A report released earlier this summer states since 2011, only 16 of 424 D.C. Fire shifts have been fully staffed -- but 911 calls in the District have increased by 22 percent.

MORE ON NBCWASHINGTON.COM

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