DPS Dive Team retrieves ambulance

A Victoria Fire Department ambulance is extracted after being submerged after a collision in May. The Victoria City Council allocated funds to replace the totaled ambulance during a Tuesday meeting.

Tuesday night, Victoria City Council members approved using $112,000 from the general fund to pay for replacing the medical equipment, hardware and clothing destroyed when an ambulance went into water in early May.

Those funds will be fully reimbursed by the insurance company for the Victoria Fire Department, said Victoria Fire Chief Tracy Fox. So far, insurance has paid $55,000 to the city of Victoria. The department is expecting an ambulance to be delivered in July or August. Before the ambulance can be cleared for use, it must be equipped with the same medical equipment as the one submerged under water after a Chevrolet Traverse failed to yield to the ambulance, which was carrying an EMT, paramedic and paramedic trainee at the time, Fox said.

“Once we replace the equipment, it allows us to use it as an ambulance,” Fox said.

The Texas Department of State Health Services will inspect the new ambulance once the equipment arrives, which could take months, Fox said.

Due to a supply shortage for EMS equipment now, Fox said that could mean three to four months before a replacement unit is back on the road.

Medic Unit 991 was totaled on May 5. The city plans to maintain its fleet of eight ambulances by not trading in another medic unit as scheduled. The new unit was purchased this fiscal year.

The items to be replaced include body armor, an Axon Body Cam, computer tablets, cradle point, mobile radio, Stryker Cot, Lucas, Stair Chair, Tempus Pro system, two Pentax scopes, three blood warmer batteries, four portable suction units, five pedi immobilization boards, six blood warmer chargers and other items. The items broke down to chemical, medical and surgical supplies for $11,000; chemical, medical and surgical equipment for $77,000; computer equipment and hardware for $22,000; and uniforms and clothing for $950.

The minivan crashed with the northbound ambulance carrying three Victoria Fire Department members at North Main Street and Spring Creek Drive, Fox said. The three fire department members were taken to DeTar Hospital Navarro in stable condition and were later released from the ER. The crash resulted in the ambulance, which was not on an emergency run, being fully submerged in water, Fox said.

The elderly couple in the minivan, a man and woman from Victoria, were taken to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio.

The ambulance was pulled from the water after divers attached cables to the vehicle’s rear and Allan’s Wrecker Service pulled it free.

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A long-time journalist, George likes 60s musclecars and firearms.

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George covers city and county government here in Victoria and the Crossroads.

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