Police investigate Las Vegas Fire Department’s role in woman’s death

Not much is known about 55-year-old Beverly Arellano’s life or the circumstances surrounding her ride in a Las Vegas Fire Department ambulance shortly before her death.

Las Vegas police are investigating whether a possible malfunctioning defibrillator contributed to her death on Dec. 11, a Las Vegas police official confirmed Thursday.

Police Lt. Ray Steiber said detectives also are looking into whether the defibrillator caused a fire inside the ambulance.

“We want to make sure everything we do is thorough,” Steiber said. “It is our responsibility to determine facts, not innuendo.”

Steiber said preliminary results indicate nothing criminal led to Arellano’s death. She was being transported in the Las Vegas Fire Department rescue unit because of a cardiac emergency, he said.

When asked whether negligence on the part of the Las Vegas Fire Department was involved, Steiber said it was too early to know.

“We’ll let the facts of the investigation determine that,” he said.

Fire Department spokesman Tim Szymanski said little on the matter Thursday.

“An accident occurred in one of our units,” he said. “We notified the proper authorities. An investigation is being conducted by Metro police, and we’re not releasing any more information,” he said.

When Szymanski was asked why his agency hasn’t made public the circumstances surrounding Arellano’s death, he said an ambulance responded to a medical call, and medical calls are protected by confidentiality laws.

The Las Vegas woman was pronounced dead at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center, Clark County Coroner Mike Murphy said.

The coroner’s office has not determined her cause and manner of death.

Murphy said Arellano was transported about 5:15 p.m.

Relatives and friends of Arellano could not be reached Thursday night.

Steiber said there is no time frame for when the investigation will be completed.

“We’re still in the beginning stages,” he said. “There are more facts that we’ll be able to release once more is known.”

Contact reporter Antonio Planas at aplanas@review
journal.com or 702-383-4638.

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