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What's Making Sacramento Firefighters Sick?

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) -- The Sacramento City Fire Department has removed all its diesel ambulances from service after paramedics complained of smelling diesel fumes inside the vehicles.

The problem diesel ambulances are now sitting locked up, side-by-side in a Sacramento equipment yard, after paramedics sounded their own alarm, smelling diesel fumes inside the cabs.

The smell led two dozen paramedics to file complaints over three years, many coming this past summer. Some complaints led to paramedics receiving hospital exams and seven paramedics have filed worker complaint claims for injuries.

Sacramento is now working with Sacramento Metro Fire and using private AMR ambulances as replacements.

A spokesperson for Sacramento's Fire Department says the problem with their own diesel ambulances has been identified.

Fumes can get into the cab when the ambulance is idling, and the engine cleaning system is on.

"The cleaning system, that removed some of this excess soot, and excess exhaust particles, needs to be run on the freeway at operating temperatures for longer distances, than most of these ambulances were getting," Sacramento fire department spokesperson Chris Harvey said.

Sacramento's fire union is blasting the city for taking three years to figure out the problem and pull the diesel ambulances from service.

"In our opinion what went wrong is the can got kicked down the road, and there is no more road," union spokesperson Roberto Padilla said.

Now the city plans on replacing all 14 diesel ambulances in the city fleet--a cost that could reach $2.5 Million.

The city council will vote on that decision in January.

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