DC Fire: High volume of calls contributed to delayed ambulance response to shooting victim

FOX 5's Alexandra Limon reports.

- With no ambulance in sight, a man shot multiple times in Southeast D.C. reportedly had to wait nearly 30 minutes to be transported to the hospital.

FOX 5 has obtained the audio from the dispatch calls and they are providing more insight into what happened and the ongoing problem with the lack of ambulances in the city.

For more than 20 minutes, you can hear dispatch go back and forth with an ambulance en route to Chesapeake Street in Southeast. It was called to this scene last Wednesday for a man lying critically injured in the street after he was shot several times. During the exchange, there is no indication of when the ambulance actually arrived.

FOX 5 asked D.C. Fire and EMS why it took so long for such a seriously injured victim to get transported. A spokesperson for the department said in a 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 airlift 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.”

Cell phone video shot by neighbors showed firefighters giving chest compressions to the victim and then carrying him to the helicopter, which was waiting about a block away.

On Facebook, the victim's cousin says he is now in the intensive care unit fighting for his life. She posted that he was shot after a domestic situation with someone he knew, dispelling any rumors that the situation may have involved drugs or criminal activity.

This incident has led to a lot of questions about the lack of ambulances in the District. The fire department said their private ambulances will be placed into service later this month and those supplemental units will improve their ability to have ambulances respond to emergencies.

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