"We do not believe in coincidences except today," Fire Brigade Commissioner Daniel Nigro told reporters Thursday. "And it's an extremely tragic coincidence."
Liam Glinane, 63, a New York fire brigade ambulance, drove an ambulance on the Brooklyn Queens Expressway on Thursday when he had a stroke and had a minor accident, officials said.
He was alone in the ambulance and did not respond to an emergency.
Lt. Raymond Wang, another paramedic, was there to help and saw that Glinane was unconscious. But he suddenly had an aortic aneurysm before he could treat his colleague, said Nigro.
A doctor who had been in the ambulance with Wang could provide medical help before being taken to a local hospital.
The mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, asked the community to leave the doctors and their families in their prayers.
"It's a tough day for FDNY and all of us here in New York City," said the mayor. "Two brave FDNY members out there doing their work and protecting us, and I just want to keep everyone informed."
Both doctors were in critical condition on Thursday night, Nigro said.
Glinane has been working for the fire department for 28 years and Wang has been with the agency for 1