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Private Ambulance Catches Fire, Explodes

Lansdowne-based LifeStar ambulance destroyed in Bladensburg.

A private ambulance operated by Lansdowne-based LifeStar Response caught fire and exploded on the afternoon of Sept. 28 in the DC suburb of Bladensburg.

The incident happened around 2:30 p.m. while en route to pick up a patient, according to the company’s vice president, Claire Ringham.

“The crew said they smelled a burning odor coming from the dash, so they pulled over,” Ringham said. The driver and EMT exited the vehicle and removed the main oxygen cylinder from the ambulance.

While parked near 38th Street and Rhode Island Avenue, the ambulance caught fire and exploded. Crews from Bladensburg Volunteer Fire Department responded to the scene and extinguished the fire within 10 minutes, according to the Gazette.

The ambulance was destroyed, according to Ringham.

“Thankfully, there was no patient aboard and nobody was injured,” she said.

Located on the 3700-block of Commerce Drive in Lansdowne, LifeStar operates a fleet of private ambulances in the Baltimore-Washington area.

Ringham said that LifeStar reported the incident to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and has learned that the Ford F350 chassis used for the ambulance has a known problem with the blower motor resistor.

A check of other ambulances revealed that additional blower motor resistors show signs of failure and are being replaced on all Ford F350 vehicles in the company’s fleet, Ringham said.

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