Business, Economics and Jobs

Companies give Detroit $8M to buy new ambulances and police cars


The General Motors world headquarters as seen Feb. 24, 2013, in Detroit. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has declared a financial emergency there, which could result in the governor appointing an emergency financial manager to oversee Detroit's municipal government.


J.D. Pooley

A group of Michigan-based companies have donated $8 million to buy the destitute city of Detroit some new ambulances and police cars, Mayor Dave Bing announced today.

Penske Corp., General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co., Chrysler Group LLC and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan are among the companies that will pay to replace the city’s aging emergency vehicles, some of which have 250,000 to 300,000 miles on them, according to Reuters.

The companies will replace the city’s entire fleet of 23 ambulances and provide 100 new patrol cars for the Detroit Police Department.

“After years of challenges with aging EMS units that rotate in and out of service, a brand new fleet of ambulances will allow us to provide a higher level of emergency services to Detroit’s citizens,” Detroit Fire Commissioner Donald Austin said at a press conference today.

According to Reuters:

Over the past three months, emergency responders have often operated with just 10 to 14 ambulances, instead of the 19 they are supposed to have, because the units are constantly breaking down, city officials said.

In January, a 6-year-old child died after a fire when an ambulance failed to arrive at his west-side Detroit home, Reuters reported. Firefighters finally drove him and his 4-year-old brother, also badly burned, to the hospital on their fire-truck, saving the brother.

The news comes on the first day on the job for state-appointed emergency manager Kevyn Orr, who’s been given the power to change union contracts and cut back on city services as needed to restructure Detroit’s finances.

More from GlobalPost: Kevyn Orr is Detroit’s new emergency financial manager