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Video: Calif. ambulance catches fire during transport to hospital

Escondido paramedics smelled smoked while they were transporting a patient to Rady Children’s Hospital


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By Kristen Taketa
The San Diego Union-Tribune

ESCONDIDO, Calif. — Escondido fire officials are investigating what caused their ambulance to catch on fire on the freeway while taking a child to the hospital on Sunday morning.

The ambulance was transporting the patient to Rady Children’s Hospital on southbound Interstate 15 around 8:40 a.m. when paramedics started to smell smoke, said Jeff Murdock, spokesperson for Escondido Fire.

The driver pulled over near the Carroll Canyon Road exit and everybody was taken out of the vehicle. The front of the ambulance then became engulfed in flames, officials said.

“The crew that was driving noticed some light smoke from the front engine compartment... it quickly got worse,” Escondido Fire Battalion Chief Tyler Batson told OnScene TV. “The ambulance became fully involved in the engine compartment.”

He said the crew was able to get the patient out “well before there was some serious flame impingement coming from the vehicle.”

Neither the patient nor the paramedics were injured, Murdock and Batson said. The patient was taken to the hospital. No details about why the child was being taken to a hospital were immediately available.

The ambulance is a total loss, Murdock said. He could not provide the age of the ambulance or information about its maintenance.

He said the ambulance will be inspected to investigate the cause of the fire.

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