'Urgency' plea over report on ambulance fire
Published 03/07/2014 | 02:30
THE UNION which represents 1,200 paramedics is calling for a technical examination report over the cause of a fire on board an ambulance to be dealt with as "an absolute matter of urgency".
A spokesperson from SIPTU last night said that the union was calling upon the Health Services Executive (HSE) to offer more "transparency" and "clarity" as the matter has now become an "issue of public confidence".
This call came after the HSE confirmed that the National Ambulance Service (NAS) has commissioned an independent technical examination to determine the cause of a fire involving an emergency ambulance near Navan, Co Meath, on June 21.
The union said it was writing to the chief ambulance officer at the HSE to clarify if the specific model of Mercedes Benz ambulance was prone to fire in other countries.
The HSE had said that it would be "inappropriate to comment" until it had received the technical examination report.
A total of four vehicles out of a total fleet of 266 were damaged by fire between 2007 and early 2009.
"No other vehicles were damaged by fire until the incident in June of this year.
"The NAS worked closely with Mercedes to identify the cause of the fires between 2007 and 2009.
"Following a review of all vehicles and consultation with Mercedes, a remedial programme of engine modification was implemented for all similar type vehicles/engines," the HSE said.