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Investigation Finds Ambulance Fires Were Accidental

Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Three Incidents in August Caused Concern

A Metropolitan Police Investigation ordered by the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice into three fires aboard ambulances during August found that there was no evidence to indicate the fires were intentionally set.

The first incident occurred on the night of Aug. 2 in an ambulance parked outside Washington Hospital Center on Irving Street NW. It was determined that an electrical malfunction might have started the fire.

The second incident took place on the morning of Aug. 13 as an ambulance was parked on Benning Road SE while its crew tended to a patient inside a building. Fuel or another ignitable fluid leaking onto a hot manifold possibly started the fire, the investigation found.

Later on Aug. 13, at 6:19 p.m., smoke began coming out of an ambulance parked outside Washington Hospital Center. The investigation determined there was smoke, but no actual fire, and there was no evidence that anyone did anything intentionally to cause the incident.

Members of the Arson and Explosives Task Force participated in the investigation, as did engineers from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Defects Investigation.

“I said when I ordered the investigation that we were going to find out what the facts were in these incidents; and that we would be guided by the facts and not speculation,” said Deputy Mayor Paul Quander. “Now we know that these were a series of unrelated, unfortunate events that arose within a relatively short period of time of one another. No further review or action is warranted.”