Aging ambulance problem for Houston Fire Department

- Broken down ambulance units and fire trucks being hauled away by wreckers is becoming a common sight in Houston.

"This has become the norm," said Marty Lancton, president of the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association.

One never before seen video was shot just last week that shows smoke coming from a fire truck before it catches fire.

"If you call for an ambulance in the Galleria and the only available units are in Kingwood, that's a pretty long drive," said Lancton.

The Houston Fire Department is the largest and busiest in the U.S. But yet most of the City of Houston's ambulance units have between 200,000 and 300,000 miles on them.

"If it broke down with your family member inside, how would you feel?," asked Lancton. He also said that scenario has become a reality too many times.

Despite the city's financial constraints, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has allocated more than $20 million for HFD assets, which includes 24 ambulance and ambulance chassis.

Projected apparatus purchases for Fiscal Year 2019 include ten fire trucks and eight ambulance units.

HFD Chief Samuel Pena said fleet challenges are not unresolvable and adjustments to the way the department does business will be part of the effort to develop a resilient and sustainable emergency response system.

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