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Patient Care

Wash. Ambulance Catches Fire After Crash

Feb. 10--An ambulance crashed and caught fire early Thursday morning on Interstate 90 near U.S. Highway 2, prompting Washington State Patrol officials to close westbound I-90 for about an hour.

The American Medical Response ambulance apparently hit a patch of black ice and slid into the median about 3:55 a.m., said AMR regional director Paul Priest. No patients were in the ambulance, and the crew were not headed to an emergency call, he said.

"This crew was traveling at slow speeds," Priest said. "But the unfortunate freezing rain played a big role."

The paramedic and EMT on board were both transported to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center. Priest said both were treated and released with minor injuries and were cleared to go back to work.

Troopers closed westbound I-90 in fear the ambulance might explode, while firefighters worked to extinguish the flames.

"The ambulances all have oxygen on board," said WSP Trooper Jeff Sevigney. "For precaution, we had to close all of the westbound lanes."

The left lane was reopened about 5 a.m. and all other westbound lanes at about 6:45 a.m.

Priest said the 2016 Ford E-350 Super Duty ambulance was towed to the AMR headquarters in Spokane, where a cause of the fire is being determined.

"The investigation is showing black ice is the cause," he said. "And we're looking into other things as well."

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