Patient Dead, Paramedic in Critical Condition after Ambulance Explodes

A 91-year-old male patient has died and a paramedic is in critical condition after an ambulance caught fire in the driveway at Adventist Health Castle in Kailua tonight.

The patient was riding in the back of the ambulance with a paramedic, who was treated by the medical staff at the hospital and then transferred to the burn unit at Straub Hospital. The paramedic has been with Honolulu Emergency Medical Services for eight years.

The paramedic’s medical technician partner, who was operating the vehicle at the time, was uninjured. The EMS crew and ambulance were stationed out of Kaneohe.

“We had an ambulance tonight, for reasons we don’t understand, catch on fire — possibly explode — prior to entering the hospital,” said EMS Director Jim Ireland at a news conference.

Ireland offered his “deepest condolences and prayers to the family and friends of the patient who lost his life.”

“Please keep our paramedic in your thoughts,” he added.

The Honolulu Fire Department responded and had the fire under control within 11 minutes of its arrival, according to Honolulu Emergency Services Department spokesperson Shayne Enright.

“This is something I’ve never seen before,” Ireland said. “This is a very, very difficult night for us.”

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