Ambulance fire at Hawaii hospital kills patient, leaves EMT critically injured

Honolulu — A patient died and a paramedic was critically injured when an ambulance caught fire outside a hospital in Hawaii, emergency officials said.

“We had an ambulance tonight for reasons we don’t understand catch on fire, possibly explode, prior to entering the hospital,” said Dr. Jim Ireland, the emergency services director. “This is something I’ve never seen before.”

“We’re all just very concerned about our team and the patient that lost their life,” he added.

“It’s a very, very difficult night for us tonight,” he said, choking up, according to CBS Honolulu affiliate KGMB-TV.

The patient died in the back of the ambulance outside Adventist Castle Health in Kailua Wednesday night, while the paramedic with him, an eight-year veteran, was left in critical condition, Ireland said.

“All our paramedics, EMTs and dispatchers are all treasured members of our staff and or family, they save lives every day, and it’s just very hard to be in a situation where our team is the ones who are injured. I’ll just leave it at that,” Ireland said. “Please pray for him.”

Ireland said another EMT, who KGMB says was in the front of the ambulance, was unhurt. 

The Honolulu Fire Department is investigating and didn’t immediately have details on what could have happened, KGMB reports.

The station says disturbing witness video showed plumes of thick smoke pouring from the ambulance as firefighters responded, frantically working to put out the flames.  

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