Two Washington D.C. ambulances caught fire on Tuesday, according to the Washington Post. One of the ambulances was on call while the other ambulance caught fire while sitting in a parking lot.
Officials say one ambulance caught fire outside of MedStar Washington Hospital Center and another caught fire in the parking lot of an apartment complex. Officials say both fires began in the engine of the vehicle and both were extinguished quickly. These latest incidents come as D.C. officials are having trouble accounting for ambulances as well as maintaining upkeep.
A picture posted on Twitter shows one ambulance ablaze in the parking lot. Washington D.C.’s inspector general has previously said that the ambulance fleet is poorly maintained. After more than 60 maintenance issues last month, including broken air conditioners during the height of summer, the city was forced to contract with a private ambulance company.
“It’s the state of our fleet,” said Edward C. Smith,president of Local 36 of the D.C. firefighters union. “We’ve been sounding the alarm for two years, and we’re seeing one failure after another.”
A spokesman for the D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department said he had no idea how the fires started.
The city recently paid $182,000 to a private consultant to audit the fleet after learning from the D.C. inspector general that the city had lost track of many ambulances.
Most worrisome of all, it doesn’t seem that anyone wants to take responsibility, with officials saying much of the maintenance problem lies with the rank and file, and the fire unions accusing officials of bad management.