Preliminary results from an investigation into an ambulance fire that killed a patient and injured a paramedic last month show the fire originated in a commonly used oxygen device, Hawaii officials said Wednesday.
The fire killed a 91-year-old patient and severely injured a 36-year-old paramedic on August 24 when flames engulfed the rear of an ambulance in the Kailua hospital parking lot.
“Based on the preliminary results of this investigation…the fire is classified as accidental and originated in a portable oxygen regulator assembly,” Honolulu Fire Chief Sheldon “Kalani” Hao said at a press conference. “The exact and definitive cause of this fire cannot be determined by the Honolulu Fire Department.”
Dr. Jim Ireland, director of emergency services for the city and county, said the injured paramedic reported hearing a loud sound as he connected a breathing device called CPAP, which stands for continuous positive airway pressure, to an oxygen supply in the back. ambulances.
“It is reported that while the paramedic connected the CPAP oxygen line to the portable oxygen tank, there was a sound described as a pop, followed by a bright flash of light, and the rear of the ambulance immediately filled with smoke and fire. Ireland said.
He said the ambulance technician who drove the ambulance reported hearing the same sound before the fire.
The city has hired investigators from the Emergency Medicine Research Institute, a private nonprofit firm that specializes in evaluating medical equipment, to help the fire department determine the cause of the blaze.
Ireland said an investigation into what caused the fire is ongoing and a final report will be released once completed.
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