Hingham Fire Dept. says Ford can’t fix ambulance because of supply chain issues

HINGHAM, Mass. — There is dust gathering on the hood of Medic 2, a 2019 Ford F-550 the Hingham Fire Dept. purchased three years ago for $355,000. Fire Chief Steve Murphy said the ambulance hasn’t moved since January because Ford doesn’t have the parts to fix it.

“Through that vendor we’re being told that Ford is saying, ‘We don’t have [the parts] available anywhere in the country,’” Murphy said.

As a result, Murphy said he’s been forced to rely on older, less-reliable ambulances and even borrow units from nearby Cohasset.

“It strains the system and EMS is already strained enough already,” Murphy said. “It’s very frustrating because now it forces us to the spare vehicles—the backups—that are older.”

The Abington Fire Dept. is in a similar situation. Its 2019 Ford F-F50 ambulance has been out of commission since October, in need of a new engine after suffering “catastrophic engine failure” but unable to be fixed due to supply chain issues.

“This is a problem because this is a $300,000 ambulance that is completely unusable at this point,” Abington Fire Chief John 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.”

CNN reported Ford ended September with between 40,000 and 45,000 unfinished large trucks and SUVs because the company didn’t have all the parts. The company’s U.S. sales dropped 10 percent in October because of the supply chain issues, CNN said.

“Our first responders play a critical role in helping our communities stay safe. We are working as quickly as we can to solve for this parts issue and plan to have these vehicles back on the road as soon as possible,” a Ford spokesperson said in an email Tuesday.

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 Feb. 9.

“The only reason this is taking longer than expected is because of the national component part shortage,” the employee responded Feb. 9.

“I’ve talked to a lot of other chiefs and they’ve expressed similar frustrations and complaints,” Murphy said. “We want to provide good patient care. As a truck gets older it gets less reliable. There’s a concern it going to have mechanical issues, the ride isn’t as good for the patient, not to mention the fact that we have a brand new vehicle that we want to use.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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