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New Ambulance Destroyed by Fire in Conn.

HARTFORD, Conn. -- A new $150,000 ambulance was destroyed early Tuesday by a fire that broke out inside the vehicle, parked for the night inside the Granby (Conn.) Ambulance Association building.

The fire also caused smoke damage to the other two ambulances, grounding the service for at least a day. An ambulance and crew from Suffield were stationed in town for the day and were to provide night coverage. Other towns are ready to provide mutual aid, so there will be no lack of emergency medical service.

The two smoke-damaged vehicles should be back in service today, once they are cleaned and restocked and receive safety checks by state EMS and motor vehicle inspectors, association President Chris Perkins said.

But the new vehicle, in service for just four months, was destroyed, he said.

"We don't know how it started. It's probably some type of electric cause, but it's under investigation," he said. "The vehicle was last used about 6 p.m. Monday."

The vehicle is insured and will be repaired or replaced. About half of the vehicle's purchase was paid for with donations.

The association has a small paid crew who work various shifts. Crew members coming into the empty building at 5:30 a.m. saw smoke and called 911. The fire was out quickly, but the smoke that damaged the ambulances also ruined some of the walls in the building's equipment bay. The town fire department has offered space for the ambulances until the association building is fixed.

Perkins, a member since 1980 and president since 2000, said he's never experienced anything like this during his years with the 45-member, mostly volunteer association.

Contact Dan Ivers at divers@courant.com

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