By Kathy Curran, WBZ-TV

GLOUCESTER (CBS) – The crew on board a Gloucester Fire Ambulance noticed the ride to Addison Gilbert Hospital was bumpy. What they didn’t realize was the fact that the back wheels of the rescue truck were about to fall off.

Neil Burns was the patient in that ambulance. He says he noticed something was wrong.

“It was a little rough, like somebody losing a tire, kind of all over the road. We were wobbling all over the road,” he said.

The rescue crew made it to the hospital. But moments after dropping off Burns, when they were pulling out of the parking lot, the wheels just fell off.

“The first concern is that thank goodness it didn’t result in someone getting injured,”Gloucester EMS Coordinator Sanders Schultz said. “The most important thing secondary to that is to use these incidents as teachable moments to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

The ambulance, which is a 1993 model year, is the oldest in the fleet. But it appears human error may have caused the accident. Interim Fire Chief Robert DiPoli says the lug nuts on the wheel weren’t tightened properly.

The department has already taken steps to improve maintenance so this doesn’t happen again.

“Obviously we’re making sure the wheels are torqued properly, that there’s proper driver training in the department,” Chief DiPoli said. “We’re assessing the maintenance program to make adjustments when needed.”

Neil Burns says the paramedics gave him quality care. It was really just the bumps along the way that had him concerned.

“Other than that it was a good ride,” he said.

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