Response time to fatal stabbing examined

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The ambulance response time to a fatal stabbing on Atwells Avenue was within national standards according to Providence Fire Department records, despite claims by eyewitnesses that it took too long for the ambulance to arrive.

Satchel Ramos, 22, died at Rhode Island Hospital early Sunday morning following an assault in the 100 block of Atwells. Police said Ramos and his brother tried to intervene in a fight, moments before the stabbing.

An eyewitness showed Target 12 a video recorded at the crime scene a short time after the stabbing. He was one of a number of eyewitnesses who questioned how long it took for the ambulance to arrive from the Providence Public Safety Complex which is less than a half mile away.

Target 12 took the video and the questions to Providence’s police and fire chiefs. Police Chief Hugh Clements tells us the crime was first reported by police officers who were patrolling the area.

“They weren’t dispatched,” Clements said. “They came upon it, immediately placed someone under arrest, recovered a weapon and tried to ascertain if other suspects were involved.’

Eric Souza, 29 was arraigned on murder charges Monday. Police are searching for a second suspect.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, the standard for a rescue unit to arrive at a scene from its fire station is eight minutes or less.

Records given to Target 12 by the fire department show the call for a rescue unit was made at 2:12 AM and the ambulance left the fire department at 2:14 AM. There is no record when it arrived at the scene, but records show the victim was at the hospital at 2:25 AM, about 13 minutes after the initial call from police. Ramos died a short time later.

Fire Chief Clarence Cunha tells us his Emergency Medical Technicians are determined to save lives, and are frustrated when they don’t. But he’s confident the rescue arrived at the scene within the time set by the NFPA.

“They responded to the scene, probably within six minutes,” Cunha said “They treated the victim, started an IV, treated the wound and they were on the way to the hospital at 2:24.”

There were also questions from eyewitnesses about why police officers in the video did not help the victim before the ambulance arrived. Chief Clements said his officers and officers in many police departments are not trained in what is known as Advanced Life Support or ALS

“We certainly render aid where we can. When someone is severely injured, we are not ALS trained,” Clements said. “It’s a serious situation. We want to look at it deeper, but we are not ALS trained.”

Both chiefs said it is hard on first responders to lose a victim.

“Frustrating and painful,” Clements said. “Our hearts break for the family and for others who were there on scene. And it is frustrating.”

Satchel Ramos’ brother Clyde was also injured and transported to the hospital the night of the stabbing, but his injuries were said to be minor.

Send tips to Target 12 Investigator Walt Buteau at wbuteau@wpri.com and follow him on Twitter @wbuteau.

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