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Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Topic - Ed Smith
Folks in the nation's capital don't have to buy a ticket to the circus, because they are already getting a free show with the D.C. fire department's exhibition of mismanagement ("President's D.C. ambulance runs out of gas, with fuel gauge broken," Page 1, Aug. 13). It points straight to the source of the failures: Fire Chief Kenneth B. Ellerbe.
City officials have asked police to investigate two fires that occurred Tuesday aboard D.C. ambulances amid a series of embarrassing failures with the District's emergency medical fleet that has affected everyone from regular residents to the president of the United States.
A D.C. fire department ambulance customarily accompanies a presidential motorcade as it departs from the White House. But when a motorcade left Thursday, the ambulance remained behind on the South Lawn. It had run out of gas.
Nearly three-fourths of the D.C. fire department's ambulance fleet had to be pulled from the streets for repairs during a July heat wave that wreaked havoc on the units' air conditioning systems, according to new data provided by the department.
Widespread ambulance breakdowns brought on by high summer temperatures have overwhelmed the D.C. fire department — causing it to send 22 ambulances to other agency's mechanics for repairs and to outsource coverage of special events to private ambulance companies for the coming weeks, according to agency officials.
A quarter of the District's 39 ambulances were unaccounted for on the night a D.C. police officer injured in a hit-and-run accident had to be taken to a hospital by a transport unit from Prince George's County, city officials said Thursday.
A plan to redeploy the D.C. fire department's emergency medical workers in a way that would leave ambulances staffed with no paramedics during the overnight hours is being greeted with skepticism from stakeholders in the D.C. Council, the firefighters union and the community.
A recently issued report on the D.C. fire department's response to a fire in an abandoned house that severely burned five firefighters in April 2011 makes new recommendations on training, equipment and protocol.
With D.C. firefighters crisscrossing the city on emergency calls related to power outages, downed trees and heat-induced illnesses, one crew went out of service for about an hour Saturday afternoon on an unusual assignment: to fill a swimming pool for a private resident at a Northeast home.
D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray acknowledged the missteps of his administration on Tuesday and pledged to regain his footing after a scandal-plagued first year in office that featured hiring missteps and allegations of nepotism and campaign payoffs.
The D.C. fire chief is girding for a public battle with the firefighters union over a plan to switch from the 24-hour shifts firefighters have been working for more than two decades to 12-hour shifts - a plan the chief expects will reduce by about 26 percent the number of firefighters in the District.
Artist covers old gas station with huge blanket
DEWITT, N.Y. (AP) - Jennifer Marsh was sick of paying high gas prices and bothered by the abandoned gas station that was an eyesore on the drive to her studio each day.
"How many times can they wash out a deputy chief at the apparatus division before the fire chief takes accountability?" union President Ed Smith said. "I don't know what he's being accused of to warrant the demotion, but as far as I know John Donnelly has had a spotless career."
"We don't have to reinvent the wheel," Mr. Smith said.