The head of the HSE has confirmed they’re investigating if an oxygen tank caused an ambulance at Naas General Hospital to explode. One man has died and two others are seriously injured in the blast.
At around two this afternoon an ambulance with a patient inside it was arriving at the Emergency Department when the vehicle burst into flames. Two paramedics desperately tried to save the male patient but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
One of these paramedics is being treated in hospital for burn injuries while the other received more minor injuries. Director of the HSE, Tony O’Brien, says:
"I'm sorry to have to tell you that the patient's death was the direct consequence of the fire. If the fire had not occurred then he would not have died. Our sympathies are very much with the man's family at the time of this very tragic loss."
The ambulance is less than a year in service and Mr. O'Brien's confirmed they’re investigating if an oxygen tank cause the explosion. All ambulances in the country are to undergo safety checks as a result.
"This is a specific incident, an exceptional incident, and the (National) Ambulance Service is taking the steps necessary to establish whether or not there is a cause for concern. And if there is, to address that cause for concern."
The HSE says the ED has been temporarily closed and ambulances are being diverted. Patients are being taken to alternative hospitals. The hospital's advising people who need to see a doctor to go to their GP first and failing that, to try and access an ED at a different hospital. The hospital is also asking visitors not to come to Naas hospital.
Fire at Naas hospital right now pic.twitter.com/xHcww785FK
— Kevin Killick (@queev) September 22, 2016
— Fred Sharkey (@FredSharkey) September 22, 2016