Idling ambulance spews exhaust into Main Street apartment |

Idling ambulance spews exhaust into Main Street apartment

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

Someone called the Park City Police Department to Main Street on Nov. 20 claiming that the exhaust from a Park City Fire District ambulance was sickening people.

The Police Department received the call at 7:13 p.m. from someone on the 400 block of Main Street, situated midway up the street. The person told police dispatchers an ambulance had been idling for more than an hour, according to public police logs. The people who were breathing in the exhaust were in an apartment, the person told the police.

Mark Billmire, a battalion chief with the fire district, was briefed on the episode, saying a fire engine and an ambulance were called to the immediate area after someone reported a downed power line on Park Avenue between 4th Street and 5th Street.

The ambulance driver parked the vehicle at the intersection of Main Street and 5th Street to block vehicles from driving on 5th Street as workers were summoned to handle the power line. Billmire said the Rocky Mountain Power arrived in an hour.

Billmire said the ambulance idled while the crew waited for the Rocky Mountain Power workers. The fire district also received a complaint about the exhaust. The driver moved the ambulance away from the apartment once the authorities were notified, he said.

According to Billmire, the fire district idles the engines of fire trucks and ambulances if they are called out in cold weather. The water and other fluids inside the engine of the fire truck must be kept from freezing, he said. Medical supplies stored in ambulances could also freeze in the cold weather if the engine was turned off, Billmire said as he described the importance of keeping the engine running.

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Idling vehicles have long concerned City Hall, and the Park City Council in late 2009 passed a nonbinding resolution encouraging people not to leave their vehicles running. Approximately 30 signs have been posted informing people of the anti-idling push. Emergency vehicles like fire trucks and ambulances are exempt from the resolution.

The City Council on Dec. 2 is tentatively scheduled to begin considering a law prohibiting idling. The law also would exempt emergency vehicles, said Diane Foster, who manages City Hall’s environmental programs.