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Ambulance Shuts Down On Way To Hospital

1:07 AM, May 30, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- DC Fire and EMS officials are explaining why an ambulance had to stop, in the middle of the transport of a suspect who was shot by police. 

The ambulance the suspect in stopped short of the hospital, where he later died. Fire officials say it wasn't because of an attempt to let a suspected cop shooter die in their care, but because a new piece of equipment on their truck meant to reduce diesel emissions forced the ambulance to shut down.

The device which is mandated by the EPA to be on all newer model diesel vehicles is designed to burn of diesel toxins. It does it either automatically or manually. If neither of those happens during a common cycle known as a "re-generating cycle" warning lights will go off and eventually force the vehicle to lose power and shut off.

It a rare occurrence but DC Fire Deputy Chief John Donnelly says that's appeared to have happened to Medic 19.

Donnelly said, "To my knowledge it's never created a problem for us, but something different happened on this call."

Critics of this EPA mandate say there should be exemptions for emergency vehicles so this won't happen.

However, Deputy Chief Donnelly says their challenge is to work within the federal agencies restrictions.

Donnelly added, "We're not in a position  to fight the EPA regulations and we're not even going to try."

A second ambulance did show up to finish the patient transport 7 minutes after Medic 19 shut down. The man was pronounced dead at Howard University Hospital.

Chief Donnelly says as soon as they get the ambulance back into the shop they will access a data recorder that will explain exactly why the ambulance got to the shut down stage.

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