WASHINGTON - It is yet another delayed ambulance response to an emergency in the District.
A source tells FOX 5 that a man suffering from gunshot wounds on Chesapeake Street in Southeast D.C. Wednesday evening had to wait nearly 30 minutes for a transport to the hospital.
"They didn't even have an ambulance close,” said one female witness. “The hospital is right up the street."
Witnesses say a heated argument between two men quickly escalated and turned violent. About 70 police officers actually heard those gunshots and raced to the scene. Eventually, firefighters made their way there as well.
"It was like a block party out here,” the witness said. “That's how much people were out here.”
Although police and firefighters were in the area, there was still no ambulance to transport the victim.
“If that was the case, we could have put him in a car and took him,” said the witness. “That's how long it took them to come.”
As crews performed chest compressions on the victim, police tried placing him in the back of a police wagon.
"He couldn’t fit,” she said. “He was too big. That’s how bad it was. He couldn't fit at all."
Finally, after reportedly waiting nearly a half hour for an ambulance, there was a call to medevac the patient. But the helicopter would land a block away in an open parking lot.
"Carried him down in one of those grey things that you hold and they carried him all the way to the corner,” the witness told us.
Seven people hoisted a medical board to carry the victim, and as they walked him to the helicopter, an ambulance finally arrives.
Police say the victim is currently in critical condition.
D.C. police have arrested 29-year-old Anthony Wade and charged him with assault with intent to kill.
In three weeks, the city will roll out a series of privately-contracted ambulances that will help run calls and help mend the deficiencies that currently plague the District when it comes to ambulance service.
A D.C. Fire and EMS spokesperson sent FOX 5 this statement:
"At the time this incident was dispatched, the closest available transport unit was nearly eight miles away. Paramedics arrived on scene within four minutes of the call being received and began treating the patient immediately. A closer transport unit became available and arrived on scene within 20 minutes of the call being received. Based on the patient's condition, the decision was made to use an air lift to quickly get them to the hospital.
"On Wednesday, DC Fire and EMS experienced a high call volume that contributed to fewer available ambulances. These occurrences will be mitigated when private ambulances are placed into service on March 28. These supplemental units will improve our ability to have transport units in nearby locations when a critical emergency occurs."