ABINGTON, Mass. — A 2019 Ford F-550 ambulance has sat at a Walpole repair shop for nearly six months, and the Abington Fire Chief is blaming Ford Motor Company for dragging its feet to repair it.
“We just want to get our ambulance back in service,” Abington Fire Chief John Nuttall said.
Abington has been down one of its two primary ambulances since October, when Nuttall said the F-550 suffered “catastrophic engine failure.” The engine is under warranty and needs to be replaced, but according to Nuttall, Ford has not made repairs because of “supply chain issues.”
“This is a problem because this is a $300,000 ambulance that is completely unusable at this point,” Nuttall said. “Get us the engine. Get it back in service. Please cover your warranty. Stand by your warranty and actually get us the engine we need.”
In the five months the ambulance has been out of service, Nuttall said they’ve been forced to borrow ambulances from Whitman and Norwell. Abington is also relying on two older ambulances, a 2008 and 2015 model, that aren’t as reliable as the newer 2019 model.
“That’s actually affected our transport decisions with some patients because we’re at such risk with further damaging the older ambulances that we have now,” Nuttall said. “When one town in this area goes down with ambulances, that affects the whole mutual aid network in the community.”
An invoice shows the town paid $324,555 for the ambulance in March 2020. Emails between Nuttall and the Ford Motor Company go back to early February, and show the fire chief repeatedly asking for updates on the new engine. “To be perfectly honest, at this point we are looking to do a news story about this in the Boston area, due to the extremely poor results from Ford in honoring their warranty work for an emergency vehicle,” Nuttall wrote a Ford employee on February 9.
“The only reason this is taking longer than expected is because of the national component part shortage,” the employee responded February 9.
In response to a Boston 25 email requesting comment, a Ford media representative wrote, “We are looking into the issue to see how we can support this customer.”
Deputy Fire Chief Jack Glynn said the department will travel across the country for a new engine if they have to.
“If Ford Motor Company tells us tomorrow, ‘Hey, we’ve got an engine for your ambulance,’ we’ll go get it. We’ll make it happen,” Glynn said.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.
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