Fire department says unreliable ambulance putting lives at risk

KIOWA, Colo. -- The Kiowa Fire Department's Deputy Chief said he is frustrated that technicians have been unable to diagnosis a problem plaguing their second ambulance for months, and said it's unreliability is putting the community at risk.

Deputy Chief Don Ogborn contacted the Problem Solvers after his team spent months trying to get the issue resolved through monthly trips to the mechanic. Ogborn said the engine shifts into "limp mode" and won't accelerate more than 10 miles an hour.

"Every time we pick it up, they say, 'Hey, we think we fixed the problem but if it breaks down again, just bring it back into us' which is kind of scary because if it breaks down, it can be at a critical time," said Ogborn.

Kiowa Fire Department services a 400 square mile area southeast of the Denver Metro. Ogborn said patients may be 60 miles away from the nearest hospital so his team can't risk driving an ambulance that breaks and can't accelerate more than 10 miles an hour.

"Imagine an ambulance with a critical patient in the back, trying to go lights and sirens back to the hospital at 10 miles an hour," said Ogborn.

Ogborn said at this point, the Fire Department wants technician from Ford's Corporate Team to inspect the engine, find the problem, and guarantee it is resolved for good.

"In my opinion, they are throwing parts at it crossing their fingers its going to work and it's not," said Ogborn. "I think Ford needs to get involved and send their engineer or somebody that has more mechanically knowledge than the people at the dealership and fix it right."

The FOX31 Problem Solvers contacted the dealership and Ford's Corporate Communications. After, a team from the dealership picked up the ambulance from Kiowa. A spokesperson from Ford said the issue with the ambulance is now on the corporate team's radar and everyone is communicating about the issue.

Ogborn said he received a call Monday that the technicians were able to replicate the issue and are currently working on replacing parts and components to fix it.

 

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