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Union questions NLV cuts after ambulance rollover accident

Reported by: Gerard Ramalho
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Updated: 9/05/2012 10:31 am
NORTH LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- There are questions from the North Las Vegas Firefighters Union surrounding the safety of the private ambulance involved in a fatal crash Tuesday, and whether a North Las Vegas Fire Department ambulance would have been safer.

Many of the city units are out of commission because of budget cuts.

The union cannot say for certain the injuries in the crash would have been less severe, but officials say it's certainly possible.

It's rare you see emergency workers as victims, but that's exactly what happened at the corner of Craig and Decatur Tuesday morning.

"So we all kinda came out and looked; all we saw was an ambulance that was flipped over with a red truck sitting right next to it,” said witness Klis Pastor.

The driver of the pickup and four emergency personnel -- two North Las Vegas firefighters and two Medic West employees -- were injured.

A sixth person, the 63-year-old patient who was being transported, later died at Mountain View Hospital.

Jeff Hurley, president of the North Las Vegas fire union and an outspoken critic of the city's recent budget cuts, says the moves have compromised his department.

He points to the Medic West ambulance units that he says are much smaller and less sturdy than those of the Fire Department.

The Fire Department rigs, he says, are roomier and come equipped with the more modern five-point harness restraints.

He can't say if the patient would have survived had they been driving in one of the city's units.

"But what I do know is that our guys were supposed to be in something safer," he said.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation, and the prior condition of the patient who died has not been released.

North Las Vegas city leaders are withholding comment on the "lesser equipped" units allegation until more facts come out. Still, union leaders insist, it deserves further review.

"It's just one more example now of how bad these cuts are in North Las Vegas,” Hurley said.

The driver of the pickup suffered severe injuries in the crash. One firefighter suffered a broken arm but continued to treat the patient despite his own injury.



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