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Ambulance catches fire and explodes in Leslie County

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HYDEN, Ky. (WYMT) - Fire officials are trying to determine what caused an ambulance to explode Wednesday in Leslie County.

No one was injured, but the blast did scare some people nearby.

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.

Leslie County Sheriff's Deputy Sam Mullins drove by the scene while off-duty and jumped in to help.

"I was back roughly 200 feet and I could feel the pulses and heat from it when it exploded," Mullins said. "It's something I've never experienced."

The driver of the ambulance, Chris Kilbourne, said it was an experience he hopes to never relive.

"All I was worried about was getting the patient to safety," Kilbourne said. "God was with us. He watched over us. We're real thankful everything turned out okay and He put the people in the right places to help."

The patient was a man in his 60s and was unharmed, Kilbourne said.

Trans-Star will replace the ambulance and coverage of Leslie County should not be affected, he said.


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