WASHINGTON - Exclusive video obtained by FOX 5 showed a D.C. ambulance breaking down while transporting a patient Monday morning. It is the latest in a string of ambulance problems for D.C. Fire and EMS.
The patient in this incident was not suffering from a life-threatening injury or condition, but according to witnesses, she grew increasingly distressed as she waited in the back of an ambulance nearly a half hour before a second ambulance came to the rescue.
The ambulance broke down in Southeast D.C.
"A lot of just black nasty smoke [came from the exhaust] and you could hear it when they tried to put it in gear, but it wasn't going anywhere,” said David Brown. “The black smoke just kept coming out."
He stood by as EMTs tried to get the ambulance to move. They raised hood, revved the engine, but it didn’t move.
For nearly 25 minutes, witnesses said they waited for another ambulance to arrive and complete the transport to the hospital.
D.C. Fire and EMS confirmed Ambulance 19 failed to start in the middle of transporting a patient with minor injuries to the hospital.
But a spokesperson would not confirm how far or how long the second ambulance took to arrive.
"He was like, ‘Oh man, yes, finally got here,’ so I can imagine he came far,” said Brown.
It was a stressful situation for all involved including the woman lying on the stretcher. Witnesses said she had severe stomach pains and became increasingly distressed as the wait continued.
D.C. Fire and EMS said following the incident, Ambulance 19 was taken in for service and was back out on the streets by Monday afternoon.
Pope Francis will officially be on in D.C. on Tuesday. There were questions about how many ambulances would be available and D.C. Fire and EMS said they will add 14 units to their current 49 on-duty ambulances for his visit.