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Ambulance crash causes fire, blackout

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OCEANSIDE, Calif. — An ambulance drove off a North County freeway early Monday morning, knocking down a power pole and blacking out about 2,400 homes and businesses.

The crash on eastbound Highway 78 near College Boulevard was reported at 4 a.m., according to the California Highway Patrol. No one was injured but the crash brought down a power line which sparked a small brush fire, investigators said. Firefighters put out the fire in less than 45 minutes.

Ambulance CrashThe ambulance driver told Fox 5 News that he lost control of the vehicle when he swerved to avoid an animal on the freeway. The ambulance careened more than 100 feet down an embankment and came to rest surrounded by brush and grass.

“The two passengers in the ambulance, they’re OK — there were no injuries,” a CHP investigators said. “That far and to be on its wheels — it’s kind of amazing that it didn’t roll over and that they’re OK.”

At least one lane of eastbound Highway 78 was closed as a utility worked to restore power to affected custormes.

The cause of the crash, which occurred while no patients were being transported, was under investigation.

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