OGDEN — An ambulance was recovered Sunday morning after being stolen while paramedics were preoccupied with giving medical assistance to a patient, the Ogden Fire Department reported.
The theft occurred after crew members arrived at the Union Gardens senior residence complex, 468 3rd St., at around 2:50 a.m. in response to a medical emergency.
According to a press release, responders parked the ambulance and entered the facility, provided care to the patient and prepared them for transport. But when they returned to where they parked the vehicle, it was gone.
The crew requested another ambulance be dispatched so the patient could be taken to the hospital. Ogden Police Department was notified about the stolen vehicle and began tracking the ambulance’s location, the release said.
According to Deputy Fire Chief Shelby Willis, the department’s ambulances are not currently equipped with GPS monitors, although “that is something we are looking into,” she said. Instead, police pinged a cellphone inside the ambulance in order to determine its approximate whereabouts.
“You can get close to the location, but you can’t pinpoint the location,” Willis said.
A request for the public’s assistance also was made on OPD’s Facebook page.
At about 8:30 a.m., a citizen contacted 911 to report an ambulance in a neighbor’s backyard. Officers located the vehicle and retrieved it. There was no damage to the ambulance and no equipment had been removed, according to the release.
Police are still looking for whoever committed the theft.
The press release thanked the citizen who spotted the missing ambulance, noting that the situation could have turned out much worse.
“Although the recovery was a success, the theft of the ambulance compromised patient care,” the release stated. “The delay in patient care while waiting for a second ambulance to arrive could have had negative outcome for this patient in need.”
Furthermore, it went on, “Driving an emergency vehicle requires training and when driven improperly creates a dangerous situation for the unknowing citizens who share the roadway. Fortunately, the best possible outcome was realized.”
Willis said she is aware of only one other previous instance in which an emergency vehicle had been stolen.