PARKE COUNTY, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Two EMS workers were hospitalized after a Parke County ambulance caught fire early Wednesday morning, damaging two other EMS vehicles and the Parke County EMS building in Rockville, Ind.
The Parke County Emergency Management Service confirmed that the fire began around 1:30 a.m. when an ambulance that had returned from a run 40 minutes prior caught fire. The fire began in the engine compartment, although the fire’s cause is unknown.
The entire building suffered smoke damage, officials said, and will require renovations. Parke County is estimating this to be a multi-million dollar repair, as the EMS lost all of their medical supplies in the fire and a large amount of equipment.
The Parke EMS building is located on High Street in Rockville. Fire officials said the flames started at the south end of the building before working its way back.
According to Director Julie Lanzone, workers awoke to a loud bang followed by smoke. Two crew members were treated for smoke inhalation and have since been released.
“My heroes, went to the other side and got trucks out,” Lanzone said. “Got all the equipment they could out of the building and went and got a fire extinguisher and cut the fire down enough it didn’t tear up the building more until the Fire Department got here.”
One ambulance was lost as a result of the fire, with two others now out of commission awaiting insurance inspection and the repair of damage. This leaves just one fully functional and staffed ambulance.
Parke County officials said EMS will use loaner ambulances to account for missing resources. These ambulances will be stationed at the Rockville, Bellmore and Marshall fire departments.
“It’s not going to change our response times by much because we will still have one centrally located,” Lanzone said. “We’re trying to keep them spread so their distances are the same.”
This location normally serves as a COVID-19 testing and vaccination site, but will now be closed due to items like syringes being damaged.
Lanzone added that testing and vaccinations will resume once their stock is filled.
“We have nothing. But we do have a ton coming from around the state and other agencies are delivering things constantly today,” Lanzone said.
For those looking to help, Lanzone said they are accepting donations like bedding and food.