Detroit mayor asks for donations for new ambulances

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing says city needs donations to replace beleaguered ambulance fleet

By Shawn Ley - Reporter


How is Detroit going to get more ambulances on the street?

Mayor Dave Bing's answer to this question speaks to how desperate things are in the city.

Hearts are still breaking after 6-year-old Miguel Chavez was killed in a house fire on Tuesday. His younger brother, Julio, is still clinging to life in a hospital.

"It hurt. It hurts anytime you lose anybody, especially a child. It has an impact, a very negative impact," said Bing.

Detroit firefighters and medics are outraged that the city has fallen on such hard times that only a handful of ambulances are on the street. The ambulance dispatched to the Chavez family's home was 14 miles away. A closer ambulance was on a run for someone with back pain. The next closest unit was broken down.

Special section: Detroit in Crisis

Bing says the ambulances will not be fixed because they are too run down.

"You know, you got 175,000 or 200,000 miles on a lot of the ones. They are on their last leg. We gotta get new vehicles," Bing said.

New ambulances are desperately needed but the mayor says there is no money for them and it is impossible for the city to get a loan to buy them. His plan is to get donations. He is asking for the money to improve safety in Detroit.

"I've been talking for the past six months with a lot of the business people, a lot of the philanthropic community to help us raise money so that we can go out and purchase a lot of EMS units," Bing said.

The mayor says he has been asking for donations for 1/2 of a year. However, no one is seeing the results. Local 4 is told there are 11 ambulances on the road responding to calls for help.

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