During a Los Angeles City Council debate this week about cutting the city fire department's ambulance service to save money, a council aide collapsed, and one observer stated in an email forwarded to the Weekly that it took an ambulance 20 minutes to arrive. The incident seemed to put an exclamation point on opponents' view that pulling the ambulances from service would result in longer response times for medical emergencies in the city.

But … United Firefighters of Los Angeles City president Pat McOsker was in the thick of the incident treating the victim who fainted and doubts that time estimate. “That doesn't sound right to me,” he told the Weekly.

McOsker did, however, trumpet the poetic timing in the collapse and quick response by himself, fire department “brass,” a paramedic unit and an ambulance crew, saying, “It happened at the weirdest time.”

The aide fainted in council chambers during the Tuesday debate about whether or not to put ten of the department's ambulances on permanent half-day duty, pulling them out of service overnight. McOsker said he had just finished an impassioned speech decrying the proposal when the person fainted.

“The council did get it right,” McOsker said. “They unanimously voted not to close ten more ambulances. They saw what it was they do.”

ABC7 reported on the collapse as well, although the station does not give a time estimate regarding the ambulance's arrival. Nine ambulances and 15 fire trucks have already been taken out of service as a result of the city's budget crisis.

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