An ambulance driver summoned to a house fire on a La Ronge-area reserve got a little more than he bargained for when he arrived Thursday afternoon.
The La Ronge EMS ambulance was struck by an allegedly impaired driver as it and other emergency responders arrived on the scene on Far Reserve Road.
No one was hurt in the crash.
Paramedic Corey Ecarnot was driving the ambulance at the time of the crash and says the two vehicles sideswiped each other when the other vehicle suddenly pulled out in front of the ambulance.
“I was kind of looking at the vehicle and I was kind of prepared for him to possibly pull out in front of me. It was a little slippery at the time, but I was able to pull into the driveway which actually prevented me from T-boning the vehicle completely.”
Ecarnot says he has had close calls before, but has never had anything like this occur in his 13-year career.
Sgt. Richard Price says local RCMP officers witnessed the accident and determined that the driver of the other vehicle was likely impaired.
“When members went to talk to the driver, obviously that sparked their suspicion on the sobriety of the individual who was driving that vehicle and started into the impaired driving investigation,” he says.
Price says in all his years in the RCMP, he has never seen an incident like this.
“You know, people sometimes panic when they see the lights flashing. They don’t know where they should go – go to the right or go to the left, try to get out of the way, type of thing. But I’ve never heard of anything specifically like this before.”
Charges are pending.
There were four occupants in the home when yesterday’s blaze started — and all had to jump through a window to escape.
La Ronge deputy fire chief Rob Pacey says the people inside had to use a chair to break the front window because all other exits were blocked.
“The smoke was too thick coming up from downstairs, so they couldn’t get out through the back door. They had to exit through the front window because the front door wouldn’t open, so they had to breach the window with the chair from the kitchen and they all got out safely.”
Pacey says one person cut their finger during the escape and was taken by ambulance to the local health centre.
The rest of the home’s occupants escaped unharmed.
The house was destroyed.
It took firefighters eight hours to put out all the hot spots.
Pacey says the cause of the fire appears to be electrical in nature.