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Officials Suspect Foul Play In Pair Of D.C. Ambulance Fires Tuesday

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The first of two D.C. ambulances that caught fire Tuesday was out on a call.
Photo via International Association of Firefighters Local 36
The first of two D.C. ambulances that caught fire Tuesday was out on a call.

For the D.C. Fire department, the past few months have been riddled with troubling incidents involving the city's fleet of ambulances. The latest scandal has the Gray administration and fire department leadership asking if sabotage may be involved.

The story spread like wildfire and quickly emerged as a symbol for the fire and EMS department's decrepit fleet: two D.C. ambulances catching fire for no apparent reason.

Now Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Paul Quander is asking the police department to investigate whether the fires may have been deliberately set.

"Since you have been in the District of Columbia, how many instances are you aware of where two fire engines or fire apparatuses caught fire on the same day within a three hour period?" Quander says.

Quander says he wants all of the facts and isn't accusing anyone. But the ambulance fires have emerged as the latest battle between the fire department brass and the rank and file membership.

Immediately following Quanders' statement, the fire fighters union president Ed Smith blasted the decision to bring in MPD and the implication that the fires were set deliberately.

"Casting loose and broad accusations is the standard response from fire department leadership," Smith says. He wants the National Transportation Safety Board brought in to investigate the entire fleet of vehicles.

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