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Paramedics were transporting a patient from Mary Breckinridge ARH Hospital to the nursing home around 10 a.m. Wednesday when their Trans-Star ambulance caught fire.
Sam Mullins, an off-duty Leslie County sheriff’s deputy, was driving by and helped the paramedics get the patient out safely. He also shot video on a cell phone of the ambulance engulfed in flames.
Other off-duty officers assisted, as well. Firefighters and other emergency personnel eventually made it to the scene.
The ambulance was pulled over on the side of U.S. 421 near downtown Hyden when the explosion occurred.
Bill Morgan, the chief of the Hyden Fire Department, said the explosion reminded him of something heard in a war zone.
“There was a very large oxygen tank in the back of the ambulance and it exploded,” Morgan said. “I was in Vietnam, so it was nothing new to me. But it was a loud concussion. You could feel it.”
The fire may have been started by a short in the wiring of the ambulance’s electrical system, Morgan said.