BALTIMORE - Nearly one third of Baltimore's 200 police patrol cars were recently sidelined because of an apparent problem at the city fuel pump over the weekend, according to the Baltimore Sun. Nearly 70 of those vehicles have been repaired and are back in operation, the Sun reported Sept. 22.
Officials, who suspect the cars broke down because of problems with the fuel, said the gas station's unleaded tank may have been improperly filled with diesel fuel. Anthony Guglielmi, the department's chief spokesman, said more than 200 police cars filled up at the pump this weekend during the "period of contamination," according to the Sun.
Khalil Zaied, director of general services, said the cars first began sputtering and stalling out Sunday afternoon, and by 5 p.m., the city realized it had a larger problem on its hands and began diverting vehicles from the 24-hour, city-run Fallsway substation.
The Police Department has 1,200 vehicles in its fleet, including patrol cars, unmarked cars, and vans or "wagons" for transporting suspects. Each of the department's nine patrol districts typically has about 20 patrol cars in service to respond to calls. With the vehicles out of commission, the department temporarily doubled up officers in working patrol cars as they activated administrative vehicles to handle calls.
In addition, the Maryland Transit Administration also reported 17 buses breaking down beginning last Friday afternoon, reported the Sun. Even after the "contaminated" fuel was drained out and replaced with new fuel, the vehicles still did not operate properly, according to the Sun.