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Fire claims HC ambulance

WINTON – A fire of undetermined origin has destroyed a Hertford County ambulance.

According to County Manager Loria D. Williams, the fire was found at approximately 4:30 Thursday morning when two Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) who were on duty returned to the Hertford County Emergency Medical Services Building here.

“According to the two EMTs, they were on a call and came back and saw smoke and then saw fire through the bay windows,” Williams said. “They called the Winton Fire Department who arrived very quickly, but the ambulance was already engulfed.”

Williams said the fire destroyed a 2005 ambulance and did major damage to the bay in which it was located. It also caused superficial damage to two more ambulances, one of which is new and had not even been equipped and put on the road.

She said the EMS department was able to get one of the Advanced Life Support (ALS) trucks operational before 12 noon on Thursday. Two basic units were already operational.

As for the EMS facility, Williams said it was being used despite the fire.

“The EMS facility is operational with the exception of the bay that was damaged by the fire,” she said. “We were able to have the electrical system isolated and to continue to use the facility.”

Williams said there is no report yet from the adjusters from the insurance company, but the fire appeared to have started due to an electrical problem with the vehicle.

While the ambulance had not been used since Monday, it was plugged in to keep it charged. Ironically, the vehicle is one which has been plagued with problems of late. It had just gotten out of the repair shop in recent days.

Williams said while she was saddened by the county’s loss, she was appreciative of the limited amount of damage.

“We had no personnel injured and that was the main thing,” Williams said. “It could have been much worse than losing a vehicle.”

Damage estimates are not available yet, but the ambulance is believed to have been totaled.