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Man arrested after stealing, crashing ambulance while firefighters battled blaze

Long Beach Police found the abandoned fire ambulance crashed into a telephone pole, less than a half-mile from a deadly fire


The fire happened at an abandoned commercial building in Long Beach.

Long Beach Fire Department

By Sarah Roebuck

LONG BEACH, Calif. — A 31-year-old man was arrested after allegedly stealing a fire department ambulance as firefighters extinguished a deadly blaze, the Long Beach Police Department told East Bay Times.

As Long Beach Fire Department crews were responding to a blaze at an abandoned commercial building on May 4, Jose Armando Lara allegedly stole an LBFD ambulance from the scene. Police were notified the rig was involved in several hit-and-run collisions.

After crashing the ambulance into a telephone poll less than a half-mile from the fire, Lara fled the scene, but was later found nearby and arrested, police said.

Three people were discovered by LBFD crews during a primary search of the abandoned property. One person was pronounced dead at the scene and two were taken to the hospital in grave condition.

Lara was booked into jail on suspicion of felony hit-and-run, driving under the influence, taking a vehicle without owner’s consent and hit-and-run resulting in property damage, the Easy Bay Times reported. He is being held on $50,000 bail.