Crime - Sacto 911

Metro Fire will assist as Sacramento replaces defective ambulances

The Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District will pitch in to help provide ambulance service in the city of Sacramento while the Sacramento Fire Department awaits replacement of defective diesel-powered ambulances.

The Sacramento Fire Department recently determined that several of its diesel-powered ambulances have mechanical problems that cannot be corrected, despite repeated repair attempts, officials said. While the department awaits gasoline-powered replacements, Metro Fire ambulances will supplement the city department’s fleet.

Sacramento Fire Department crews began to notice diesel and exhaust odors in cabs of ambulances several months ago. All repair efforts by Fire Department shop and Ford mechanics were unsuccessful and the problems persisted, according to a department news release.

The City Council in November approved replacement of all diesel-powered ambulances. Fire Department officials said six new gasoline-powered ambulances will replace the six current diesel-powered ambulances that have been identified as the most problematic. The council on Jan. 5, will consider approving replacement of the other eight diesel-powered ambulances, for a total of 14 new ambulances, officials said.

Eight gasoline-powered ambulances currently in the Sacramento Fire Department fleet are not affected.

Metro Fire ambulances will supplement service within the city during the replacement period under a plan already in place for “automatic aid” coverage, in which surrounding agencies fill needs for service within the city limits during extremely busy times or large-scale disasters, officials said.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy