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Ambulance fire likely started accidentally

The ambulance fire Tuesday that led to an explosion in the parking lot of the AMR office in Buffalo likely started accidentally, Buffalo fire investigations said Thursday.

Investigators are looking at the possibility that a buildup of soot in a filter in the diesel-fueled 2011 GMC sparked the fire, said James Otwell, commander of the fire investigation unit.

Also, a third person was reported injured when tanks of compressed air that were inside the ambulance exploded in the fire, officials said. On Tuesday, fire department and AMR officials had said two people had been hurt. All three were transported to Erie County Medical Center and two of the patients spent the night but have since been released, officials said. One person was hurt as he was moving his pickup truck and the explosion set off his air bag, causing facial injuries. Another was a mechanic who was outside and was thrown against an outdoor wall from the force of the blast. It was not clear how the third person was injured.

The ambulance was idling outside the maintenance bay at AMR, located on William L. Gaiter Parkway in Buffalo, when the fire started. The explosion sent shrapnel flying in a 100-foot radius and neighbors a block away in each direction reported hearing and feeling loud booms.

Ambulance fire explodes oxygen tank, sends shrapnel flying at AMR HQ

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