Verizon Center drops D.C. Fire/EMS as ambulance provider

(WJLA) - The operators of the Verizon Center have ended a longstanding contract with D.C.'s Fire and EMS agency that provided ambulance coverage for events at the downtown Washington arena, the Washington Times reports.

Maligned in recent months for a string of high-profile incidents, accidents and breakdowns of its ambulance fleet, Verizon Center officials told the Times that the termination of the contract is not related to the problems the department had recently faced.

"We received several proposals and ultimately decided to enter into an agreement with a company that could provide us comprehensive coverage for our first aid room services as well as ambulance service," Verizon Center GM David Touhey told the Times.

At the height of D.C. Fire & EMS's issues this past summer, both Verizon Center and Nationals Park contracted out with Life Star Ambulance, a private fleet based in Virginia, to provide ambulance coverage for several events.

An internal report released in late August indicated that a series of fires in D.C. ambulances were accidental. In the wake of those fires, the city announced that it was purchasing 30 more units to supplement its fleet.

D.C. Fire & EMS held its contract with the Verizon Center since the venue opened in 1997.