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Fleet of ambulances destroyed in Gran Canaria arson attacks 

PAGE 14 FLEET OF Ambulances destroyed in arson attack two

Investigations are underway following two separate fires in Gran Canaria, both of which may have been arson.

At this stage, it is not known if the two incidents are linked but ambulances were involved in both.

In the first, a total of eight ambulances were comple-tely gutted. The incident happened in the early hours of the morning when the vehicles were parked in calle Acuarelista Elías Marrero de Telde where they were stationed.

The ambulances were parked in a line but were a little distance apart which adds fuel to the theory that they were set alight on purpose.

Firefighters were called out to deal with the blaze but were unable to save any of the vehicles. The road had to be closed whilst the incident was dealt with because of the virulence of the fire. The Canary Emergency Service said all eight vehicles were used for non urgent sanitary transport and said the service was guaranteed despite their loss.

They said in a statement: “The TSNU service is guaranteed and patients who have scheduled the medical transport in these ambulances will not be affected.”

“Patients have already been relocated in reserve ambu-lances from the same Aero-medical company and will maintain their usual schedule during the week.”

“These ambulances are not part of the fleet of ambulances that provide urgent assistance and transfer and are managed through 1-1-2, called the Canary Emergency Service (SUC), but they carry out the transfer of patients who come to health centres mainly for scheduled sessions of dialysis, rehabilitation or chemotherapy, among others.”

“From the Canary Emer-gency Service, we regret this type of incident and we will continue working so that patients do not suffer the consequences.”

The Association of Health Emergency Technicians of the Canary Islands (ATESCAN) said the incident “bordered on complete madness.”

“There are many ways to hurt, personally, morally and professionally, but what has happened in our community borders on complete insanity,” the association said in a statement.

It says their staff are already working against limited resources and felt undervalued by some quarters so this was another major blow to one of their fundamental pillars, that of equipment.

The Independent Trade Union of Workers of the Canary Islands (Sitca) also described the axt as “vandalism and reprehensi-ble” and wants the culprits dealt with harshly by the courts. It has also called on the health department to look again at the policy of parking such vehicles on public roads when not in use and questions the general issue of security. A few days later, a similar incident happened also in Gran Canaria but on this occasion in Las Palmas.

This time, three ambulan-ces and a van, all in a state of abadonment, were destroyed by fire. They were parked on a site located in the area of Tablero de Gonzalo. No-one was injured.