Sources: Fire That Destroyed 2 Central Park Ambulances Deemed Suspicious

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Two ambulances that serve Central Park were destroyed Thursday when a fire broke out in a garage on the Upper West Side, and sources said officials have deemed the blaze suspicious.

The Fire broke out in a garage at 143 W. 108th St. around 3:30 a.m., and took about two hours to put out, officials told CBS2.

No one was seriously injured, but the two ambulances were totally destroyed, according to the Central Park Medical Unit newsletter.

“The loss is devastating,” CPMU President Rafael Castellanos was quoted in the newsletter. “Since 1975 we have been providing life-saving services to the visitors of Central Park. Our ambulances are specially designed to fit under all the tunnels and bridges in the Park, and will be very expensive to replace. This loss seriously threatens our ability to provide the level of free service Park visitors expect and deserve.”

Two Central Park Medical Unit ambulances were destroyed in a fire in an Upper West Side garage on Thursday, Nov. 20. (Credit: Rafael Castellanos)

Two Central Park Medical Unit ambulances were destroyed in a fire in an Upper West Side garage on Thursday, Nov. 20. (Credit: Rafael Castellanos)

Because the cost of replacing the ambulances exceeds the anticipated reimbursement from insurance providers the unit has set up an online fundraising campaign to replace the ambulances, at https://www.crowdrise.com/parkmedical.

Speaking to CBS2 late Thursday, Castellanos said the effort to raise funds was going well.

“This is certainly one of the worst days in the history of the Central Park Medical Unit,” he said. “The good news because they are so many great people in New York willing to help us that we will recover from this and come back stronger than we’ve ever been before.”

Police sources told CBS2 the fire has been deemed suspicious, but a cause has not been identified.

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