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Washington, D.C. runs out of ambulances during fatal Fourth of July festivities

Published time: July 05, 2012 19:25
Edited time: July 05, 2012 23:25
“Unfortunately there are no ambulances available in the city.”

“Unfortunately there are no ambulances available in the city.”

If you were trying to catch a fireworks show on Independence Day this year, Washington, D.C. was the place to be. If you were one of the several shooting victims in nation’s capital this week, things weren’t so great.

As temperatures hovered at around 100 degrees on the evening of Wednesday, July 4, the Washington, D.C. Fire Fighters Association — International Association of Firefighters Local 36 — dispatched a rather distressful tweet from its official Twitter account: “Unfortunately there are no ambulances available in the city.”

That’s the micromessage sent by @IAFF36 on Wednesday evening, which continued, “first responders will be there, Ambos dispatched as they become available.” During the few hours that followed, things didn’t get any better.

Between 11 p.m. and the early morning hours, the Twitter account continued to post messages about emergencies in the city. They reported that firefighters were being dispatched to a stabbing on Savannah Street in the city’s southeast quadrant, then a shooting on nearby Bruce Place SE. Then another shooting, and another and, well — it went on for quite a bit.

“Last night was a violent one. One fatal shooting,” D.C. Councilmember Muriel Bowser tweeted early Thursday. Local network WJLA-News later confirmed that two people were killed and four were wounded during a shooting spree on Independence Day evening.

On July 5, @IAFF reported once more than the city had run out of ambulances. “Once again, no ambulances available in DC, ambulances dispatched as they become available,” the account tweeted. The last US Census Bureau report puts the population of Washington, D.C. at over half-a-million residents, making the nation’s capital the twenty-fourth most populated city in the country.

Only 40 miles up the road in Baltimore, Maryland, officials recently unveiled a plan to put more money in the ledger for the city’s threatened public services. Fire engines in the city of Baltimore are expected to soon be decorated with large paid advertisements in order to generate much needed revenue. Three fire companies in the Baltimore area are scheduled to close this summer due to budget constraints and many more are expected to be added to the chopping block if the city can’t make ends meet.

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