Photo via Wikipedia.

Photo via Wikipedia.

Union officials and firefighters for the Philadelphia Fire Department described frequent vehicle breakdowns in their aging fleet, including one example of an ambulance bursting into flames, in an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said may of the vehicles are too old and can't be trusted on the road.

The agency operates 53 engine trucks that pump water onto fires and 23 ladder trucks used for ventilation and rescues. The average age is 8.9 years for an engine truck 11.5 years for a ladder truck, and 3.96 years for an ambulance.

The city's Department of Fleet Management operates the trucks and couldn't afford to purchase new trucks during the economic downturn. The agency has begun purchasing new vehicles in the past few years.