Fire damages Castro County ambulances

NewsChannel 10

Dimmitt, Texas - A fire at the Plains Memorial Hospital in Dimmitt has damaged Castro County's only three ambulances.

Flames ripped through this garage late Tuesday night, completely destroying one ambulance and damaging the other two. It's left Castro County without any working emergency vehicles.

EMS Director Shawn Wheat says, "We've had a lot of outpouring from other EMS services around our area, offering to help and willing to do whatever they could for us."

Hereford EMS has loaned them an ambulance. Olton EMS is helping to cover some of their territory by responding to emergencies in Hart.

The fire started in the engine compartment of one ambulance and quickly spread throughout the rest of the EMS barn, damaging the other two ambulances. Hospital officials say the damage could have been even worse, since the garage shares a wall with the radiology department inside the hospital.

Hospital CEO Linda Rasor explains, "The smoke that our CT unit received has put our CT unit out of commission until it's cleaned up. Right now we are on trauma diversion because we are not able to do CT scans on anybody that would come in like for a motor vehicle accident with multiple traumas."

But the CT unit could be back up and running as early as tomorrow, after today's extensive cleanup.

As for the garage that will take some time and there's a change they would like to make.

Wheat says, "Putting some type of barrier between the ambulances, whether it be cinder blocks or some type of material that might be flame retardant or fire resistant, should it happen again, maybe the fire will be contained to one vehicle."

In the meantime, they are working to get the ambulances back in commission. Replacing them isn't cheap, the average price tag of an ambulance is more than $100,000.