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UPDATED: DC ambulance shuts down on I-295 with victim in cardiac arrest. Man had been shot by police. Officials blame emissions system.

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The fatal shooting incident began with a carjacking on Joliet Street in SW. The victim flagged down officer and officers found the vehicle shortly after.

Once at Barnaby Street, the suspect jumped out of the vehicle and pulled out a gun, police say. The officers then opened fire and hit the suspect.

The ambulance that was carrying the suspect broke down on 295 with the suspect inside, police sources tell ABC7.

Andrea Noble, The Washington Times:

The emergency response was complicated by the fact that the ambulance carrying the man to Howard University Hospital was forced to pull over en route because an emissions system problem caused it to shut down. The year-old ambulance went straight from a hospital to the scene of the shooting and had been continuously running for too long, D.C. fire department spokesman Tim Wilson said.

When a check-engine light came on signaling the ambulance was about to shut down, the driver had to pull off Interstate 295 and wait for about five minutes until another ambulance could respond and pick up the carjacking suspect.

Emergency workers continued to perform CPR on the man, and Mr. Wilson said the delay “wouldn’t have had any impact” on the man’s chances of survival.

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Peter Hermann, The Washington Post:

A D.C. fire department spokesman said the ambulance carrying the wounded man to Howard University Hospital stopped near Route 295 and Pennsylvania Avenue when a warning light came on indicating that the engine was about to shut down. Tim Wilson, the spokesman, said that problem can occur in late-model vehicles driven continuously for extended periods.

Wilson said the patient was transferred to another ambulance five to seven minutes later and taken to the hospital, in Northwest Washington, about eight miles from the shooting scene. Lon Walls, the fire department’s chief spokesman, said the delay “did not affect care in any way.”

Ken Molestina, WUSA-TV:

Fire officials say it wasn’t because of an attempt to let a suspected cop shooter die in their care, but because a new piece of equipment on their truck meant to reduce diesel emissions forced the ambulance to shut down.

The device which is mandated by the EPA to be on all newer model diesel vehicles is designed to burn of diesel toxins. It does it either automatically or manually. If neither of those happens during a common cycle known as a “re-generating cycle” warning lights will go off and eventually force the vehicle to lose power and shut off.

It a rare occurrence but DC Fire Deputy Chief John Donnelly says that’s appeared to have happened to Medic 19.

Donnelly said, “to my knowledge it’s never created a problem for us, but something different happened on this call.”

Critics of this EPA mandate say there should be exemptions for emergency vehicles so this won’t happen.

However, Deputy Chief Donnelly says their challenge is to work within the federal agencies restrictions.

Donnelly added, “we’re not in a position  to fight the EPA regulations and we’re not even going to try.”

A second ambulance did show up to finish the patient transport 7 minutes after Medic 19 shut down. The man was pronounced dead at Howard University Hospital.

Chief Donnelly says as soon as they get the ambulance back into the shop they will access a data recorder that will explain exactly why the ambulance got to the shut down stage.

Mark Segraves, WRC-TV/NBC4:

A D.C. ambulance transporting a gunshot victim to a hospital broke down on 295 while paramedics were performing CPR.

A second ambulance was called, and the victim, a suspect in a carjacking, was transferred to a working vehicle within 5-to-7 minutes, Fire and EMS officials said.

The man was pronounced dead at a local hospital. The delay did not cause the man’s death, according to a D.C. Fire spokesperson.

Police shot the man in Southeast. A police officer also was injured during that incident but is expected to be OK.

The ambulance was a new vehicle with an automated shut down mechanism that that tells the driver to turn off the engine after multiple hours of continued use.

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Comments - Add Yours

  • ComicalDC

    Must be a new never heard of feature that the shop installed. Haven’t heard of this happening to any other “new” ambulance anywere in the country and they have been using this exact model for decades.

    • NJ FF

      This system has been required on new diesel engines made after 2010. After so many hours a light will come on to tell you to regen, if you are busy you can reset but after the third time the engine will shut down . They also have engines that use a liquid system instead . With these new standards diesel engines are not running like they should so our town is looking into natural gas engines instead . They started with sanitation first .
      Mack no longer makes it’s own engines since they can’t meet the standards

  • 1dctaxpayer

    The ambulance broke down, ” The entire department is broke down”. Nice job mayor gray.

  • same ole *****

    well this one will be ruled intentional sabotage by the home grown terrorist firefighter for sure……

  • Anonymous

    Sounds like it


    To hear something like this happening, is truly heartbreaking….I hope both of the fireman are ok…

    • DCFD


  • OldSutterOne

    If this was a re-gen issue, it should be “front page” throughout the

    If this was a re-gen issue it should be “front page” USA wide. Let’s get rid of this stupid requirement for all emergency vehicles.

    • NJ FF


  • Fire21

    I was of the impression that emergency vehicles had bypasses for those automatic shutdown devices. Apparently I was mistaken…..

  • John


  • anonymous

    A few years ago when these EPA standards went into effect, Statter911 had a report on a fire chief from Florida who complained about them. I believe he felt things like this would occur and had made his opinion public.

  • Dave G

    @ComicalDC…we have 10 ALS medic units in our system and it happens more often then you think.

    Our units go into “limp” mode and have shut-downs (or partial shut downs to “protect the unit”) due to issues such as EGR valves, turbo pressure loss, and more “electronic” issues than you can list (there are more computer codes found by our fleet coordinator than you can imagine when he does the scans). These are newer generation medic units so age and neglect are not the issue.

    Slight tongue in cheek–I’ll take the quality of our units from the 80’s any day over these modern, superbly engineered units we have today…the simplicity of the units were great (excluding the Ford’s we had that had 2 engine fires!)

    It is more common than you would think KIC’s…(yes..all over the country–not just DC)

    Retiring this summer….1983-2013 EMT-P

  • NJ FF
  • Anonymous

    The re-gen is becoming more and more of an issue everyday. Just because its the same model means nothing. All new vehicles are required to have the re-gen until just recently. And yes, it can completely shut a vehicle down if it isn’t properly ran through the re-gen process.

  • mdff

    Been waiting for something like this to happen. Unintended consiquences,government rules and regulations are full of them. EPA would rather 1 miniscule particle of emission be removed from the air before an emergency vehicle breaking down and potentially putting lives in danger, misguided priorities. Then again it could be something as simple as lack of management for this departments preventative maintenance division.

    • mark

      mdff, it is my understanding that regens can not be performed on demand, it is based on how much crap is built up in the DPF, etc.

      There are also 2 kinds of regen, 1 that can occur at higher speeds and a parked regen in which the engine will not allow continued travel.

      I’m not trying to defend the maintenance dept at DCFD, just explaining the reality of the situation.

      • Tom

        Regeneration can be performed on demand or “forced regeneration” by a qualified mechanic and the correct software. Our fleet has three different motor manufacturers and our shop has the software to “force regeneration” on our schedule, instead at random. We schedule our fleet through the shop once a month for “forced regeneration”, one unit at a time. This also assures a complete 100% cleaning of the Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF). Under the random / ordinary method, many of our apparatus were regenerating every 4 days, obviously not completing the process. I recommend the “forced regeneration” as a best practice.

  • mark

    Couple things.

    Apparently some of you are new to Statter or don’t read it regularly. Dave posted an article from a department in FL that was having these issues and petitioned the EPA and was trying to get support from other departments that were running into this issue. That was a over a year ago I believe.

    Secondly, the EPA was making an exception for the regen to be shut off on emergency vehicles, but there were a number of steps that had to be made–engine mfg had to certify it was on an emergency vehicle being one of the steps. Seems like Dave or TSL had that notification as well. I know we are looking into it for our newest engine because we are having problems with it.

    Last, we can thank the dumbasses in the EPA for not allowing this exception for emergency vehicles right off the bat like they did for military vehicles.

    I wonder what year the bus was. International had won a lawsuit against the EPA because they could meet emissions standards without a DPF and the regen crap. A little research shows they are changing this and have on some models already. So this is a very likely scenario that the stupid thing went into regen because of the idiots in the EPA.

  • Barney Miller

    Bottom line- NOT ENOUGH TRANSPORT UNITS IN THE CITY. Most ambulances run 2-3x more calls than the standard cites. These employees are getting crushed with call volume. The Chief comes out and says “were are doing everything proper and by procedure” than breaths down the neck of the ELO who translates that to the transport unit. The firefighters call and ask for fuel/ regen/ equiptment etc. and are told NEGATIVE AMB XX….stay in service, only to get a call while on the channel with the EMS Supervisors. Not to mention common human requests like using the toilet or getting food. Doesn’t a LEADER try to predict the future and PLAN AHEAD rather than band aid problems, blaming others to maintain his appearance with the public. Im sure this will get better with not his but “The Rosenbaum Plan”. HEY ANDY BEATON….. did you calculate human needs when preparing you “Front End/ Back End Statistics” did you calculate an aged fleet with 1/3 their capacity? Did you calculate common sense top brass just dropping the mic and walking off stage? These are awesome transport units, great space, affordable YOU CANT RUN THE WHEELS OFF OF THEM, just like the HUMANS THAT MAN THEM. There is NO Priority to preserve a competent educated work force because they don’t live in the district. Let’s hire all the “kids” from the worst school system in the nation….that will fix it!

    • Anonymous

      30 recruits have been completely ready to start the academy for 6 months. Instead everyone from the 2008 list will get F.U. letters from DCHR while the FEMS dept rushes cadets and members of the DC National Guard through the hiring process. It is a shame that the crooked Mayor and his crony Chief think that that they can hire in direct violation of the DC Human Rights Act of 1977. It is also a shame that no one in the press, the union, the council, the US Congress, the ACLU, or the DC Office of Human Rights has the balls to call this administration out on their real underlying agenda: the aggressive and overt social engineering of the DCFD. I am willing to bet that if any of the county departments in the DMV tried to do this to DC Residents there would be hell to pay.

      • uptown saturday nite

        well lets see here anonymous,the 30 or so recruits are at the bottom of the list from 2008…do we really want recruits who didn’t farewell on the exam or pat. Since the cadet program was virtually eliminated under rubin….this is ketchup. If the 30 are not medics than I say try somewhere else and better luck next time.

      • uptown saturday nite

        Also anonymous priority should go to residents and I must add our nation’s hero’s.Not saying outsiders shouldn’t have an opportunity to work here, and they should. I’m not a resident of dc currently but I once was.

        Everyone need a fairshake at this job…but to give residents a slight edge is perfectly fine with me.

        • 20 Years In

          How much of an edge is given to residents in the cadet program? 100% Hell, I like the cadet program, but if it’s goal is to reduce unemployment in the district, giving (yes, giving) 60 kids a $40k/y job for a year, and then giving them a fire department job, is a pretty inefficient way of employing the 30,000 unemployed people in DC. How many ‘citizen EMT classes’ could we offer for $2,400,000?

          How much of an edge is given to residents in the DCANG? IDK, but a lot of those dudes live in Virginia or Maryland.

          How much of an edge is given to residents in the competitive hiring process? 5 points, which is a lot. Why do residents need more than this?

          • A Nonny Mouse

            I believe that the program for hiring vets is a military-wide program, so it would get people from all branches of service. I’d also like to point out that DCANG stands for DC AIR National Guard. DC’s Army National Guard would be DCARNG, and both services would be abbreviated DCNG.

            Regardless, the program will net very few Nationally Registered Paramedics, which is what we need. Most military medics hold a Nationally Registered EMT card, and would need significant amounts of additional training to become paramedics.


      amen Barney….if FISH were still alive he’d proud of this and many of your other common semse answers about the uncompetent person who calls himself a leader and after two years….he’s still trying to figure it out….probably contracting out a consultant right now to see why 99.9% of the comments about him are negative….Rosenbaum plan….hmmm…wonder why changing the name to DCFEMS was such a higher priority than the ELLERBE REDEPLOYMENT PLAN….hmmm….i guess if you change the name to piss off all the traditionalists…..then you can move onto the next mission to further destroy morale….oh wait….its all part of the Rosenbaum Task Force
      and not Chief Ellerbeez plan….my bad Chief Douche

  • retired firefighter

    Some chassis manufacturers offer a regen-override as an option for emergency vehicle applications while others don’t offer it at all on their chassis (GM.) We hear stories all the time about these latest EPA requirements. It does come down to crew orientation and training on how and when to control these devices. Policies should be established for rigs that have many short runs and lots of idle time so they can be “processed” properly and not go into “limp” or regen modes. As for the EPA addressing it for emergency vehicles, here is a link.

    Note that revisions must be done in accordance with the chassis manufacturers’ procedures and requested by the end user. There is no free automatic upgrade!!!!

  • Puzzled

    This sounds more like a crew training issue, concerning the proper way to operate the apparatus. I have apparatus with both the catalyst filters which inject diesel to regen, and the newer ones which utillize the DEF fluid.

    When there are a regeneration required, there are a series of warnings which occur before the engine de-rates and or shuts down. THe first warning tells the operator that re-gen is needed soon. The second warns that a regen must be done, or the engine may de-rate and or shut down. The third warns of an impending shut down.

    There is also an overide switch which may be used to overide the regen for a short time. However, this is a short term solution, which allows time for the apparatus to taken off line for a parked regen, (which takes approximately 30 min.)

    It has been a learning curve for some of my operators,and with an exception of an EGR valve failure on one apparatus, we have had few problems.

    That being said, I do believe there should be an exemption for emergency vehicles just as there is for the military, but if and until that happens, we are going to have to do a better job of training, not only for the crews, but also for maintenance and administrative personnel, to understand how the system operates.

  • doobis

    An exemption has been made for emergency vehs. similar to the military exemption. However, all the “old – new” trucks that still have the regen system will have this issue until they are retired from service.

    I have had many problems with these systems, myself.


    I wonder what Alvin Bethea would say of this….im sure we’ll hear his his testimony at a future public safety hearing…..anyways…i think its time to put a hemi in all of these ampalampsez….

  • Lloyd

    Every diesel I have seen has to be running for the regen to occur.
    Did they forget to fill the DIF tank? If that is low or empty the regen will not occur, the computer gives the driver plenty of warning. usually tells you 500, 100, 50 miles to go until the engine goes into “limp” mode.

  • T Miller

    Yes DC needs more ambulance.But why now,before the city only had half the units. EMS only people stay on the road it was not a problem then.i know this,i was assign to amb-04 which ran from Eng-14.Our area was from 16th and eastern ave to Fort Lincoln NE.Their was no Amb-22 or Amb-26 nor M-17.Firemen all ways crying now their on it we need more units.

  • Shaun

    Hopefully this opens everyone’s eyes to what the EPA is pushing through the system. If that ambulance didn’t go through a proper re-gen and the DPF filter is plugged there goes a couple hundred dollars to clean it, and if the filter gets “burned” out there is a couple thousand dollars to replace it. Where does that money come from? *Tax payers* The new emissions are a joke, the cost of operation outweighs the benefit. If this article upset you or opened your eyes, write your senator and demand change against the CARB and EPA bullying everyone to comply with their “laws” that have more downside than upside. Ask for studies that show new emissions work, studies done by real scientists not a guy on the CARB board that got a doctorate through the mail. This effects public service departments, and more importantly the trucking industry. Without the trucking industry you have nothing, it’s like without farmers you have no food. Support the owner/operator truck drivers, show your support by electing state representatives who are willing to fight for you and listen to you.

    Food for thought, new engines in highway trucks are burning over twice as much fuel than they did 10 years ago. Tell me how burning that much more fuel lessens the impact on the environment, air quality etc. You have to basically double production just to keep up with the demand. Plus the thousands of dollars to maintain the precious emission system, plus the cost of DEF fluid, etc etc.

  • Tom


    Your readers may be interested in an article I wrote in our Department Newsletter in July-August 2012. The link is here:

    The article highlights an incident in Bracketville, Texas from February 15, 2012 in which the passenger of a truck fire died. “Diesel motor de-rating” slowed the fire apparatus response to the scene.

  • Joe Blow

    When are all of you going to realize this regen talk is an EXCUSE!

  • ThatGuy

    Simple: These units run far too many calls in their 12 and 24hr shifts. This city NEEDS more units, AND STAFFING.

  • BFC

    The real question is, why weren’t they allowed to go out of service to Regen after asking 3 times. Ruling by intimidation deters making the right decision. No one wants to be disciplined for placing an Ambulance out-of-service, even if it the right thing todo.

  • 20 Years In

    Trauma Codes don’t come back.

    That being said, these Regeneration-equipped units give plenty of warning before they ‘shut down’. DC’s EMS system is a disaster, and there’s not a crew in DC that wouldn’t jump at the chance of a 15 minute break while their ambulance does it’s thing.

    The truth is that Kenneth Ellerbe’s reign of intimidation(ACLU) , bullying (Sloan), micromanagement (Beer, Uniforms, Traffic Stops), Retribution (Smith), transfers(Gooding, etc.), and failure to staff properly has left this department with a workforce that is actively disengaged and disempowered from doing the job they signed up to do. The front line employees don’t have the tools or the ability to do their job, and the fault lies at the top.

    It is past time for the citizens of DC to demand a new fire chief. It may be past the time for the citizens of the US to demand that Congress take action.

    • Steve in NJ

      A lot of agencies up here are going back to gasoline powered ambulances to avoid all the nonsense associated with purchasing, maintenance, etc. involved with the new diesel powered vehicles

  • puzzled


    The “exemption” you are referring to is not an exemption per se. It merely allows adding another (high dollar) piece to the already screwed up system. The military does not have the EPA required emissions equipment, period. That’s an exemption. ARFF trucks with engines over 650 hp do not require the emission equipment. That’s an exemption.