Hawaii union wants FFs out of ambulances until completion of fatal fire inquiry

The Honolulu Fire Department is leading the investigation with assistance from federal, state and local agencies

By Leila Merrill

HONOLULU — As the investigation into a deadly ambulance fire in Kailua gets underway, the Hawaii Fire Fighters Association said it wants its workers to stay out of Honolulu ambulances until the investigation is complete and safety measures are in place.

A 91-year-old patient died and a paramedic was critically injured when the ambulance they were in caught fire as it pulled up to Adventist Castle Health in Kailua Wednesday night. The paramedic, 36, was transferred to a burn unit, the Associated Press reported.

“We don’t want our members in the back of an ambulance,” HFFA President Bobby Lee told KHON, “and we hope that they will put great priority on doing a preliminary investigation to find out exactly how this fire started or where it started.”

Lee said that EMS may need to create “emergency protocol or whatever they need to, to ensure that this particular type of situation cannot happen again.”

Meanwhile, the Honolulu Fire Department is leading the investigation. Also involved are the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Hawaii’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations and the Honolulu Police Department, Civil Beat reported.

“We’re making all records available to these agencies because I want answers,” Honolulu Emergency Services Director Jim Ireland said. “We want answers because we want to know what happened, and we want to make sure this never happens again.”

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