FULLY ELECTRIC, BUT NOT FULLY FUNCTIONAL
One of county's newer electric TransIT buses catches fire; cause being investigated
By Jeremy Arias email@example.com
Updated Sep 27, 2016
The cause of a bus fire that closed U.S. 40 near the exit for U.S. 15 for several hours remained under investigation Tuesday afternoon, according to a county TransIT spokeswoman.
The bus, one of the TransIT system’s newer, fully electric models, was still under warranty and repairs were expected to be covered at no cost to the county, said Kendall Klosky Tiffany, a TransIT spokeswoman.
“The bus manufacturer has a team already in route — they will be on site later (Tuesday) and will spend tomorrow determining exactly what happened,” Tiffany wrote in an email response to The Frederick News-Post‘s questions.
The fire was first reported just after 9 a.m. on westbound U.S. 40 just east of U.S. 15, according to the state Transportation Department’s Coordinated Highways Action Response Team website. All lanes were reopened as of 11:23 a.m., said Michele Bowman, a spokeswoman for the Frederick Police Department.
The bus was not carrying any passengers at the time and the driver recognized the problem and got out of the vehicle safely, said Battalion Chief Kevin Fox, a spokesman for the Frederick County Division of Fire and Rescue Services.
“It took about an hour to extinguish. Some of the concerns they had with it was it was an electrical bus and it had some lithium ion batteries so we had a [hazardous materials] team out making sure there wasn’t a problem with the runoff from our extinguishing efforts,” Fox said.
The damage to the bus was “significant” but Fox did not have an estimate as of about noon on Tuesday. The fire was ruled accidental and the cause likely mechanical, Fox said.
“Because it involved electrical materials, and it was that class of a fire, [firefighters] had to utilize dry chemical extinguisher and foam to put out the fire,” Fox said.
The bus was towed away sometime before noon.
Most likely, the batteries were defective, causing the overheating and subsequent fire.
Fire Fighters Battle Bus Fire In Frederick
September 27, 2016 - 9:47 pm
It closed off Rt. 40 near Rt. 15.
Frederick, MD (KM) An electric TransIT bus caught fire on Tuesday morning in Frederick
Battalion Chief Kevin Fox with Frederick County Fire and Rescue Services says personnel were dispatched to Route 40 just east of Route 15 at around 9:00 AM for a bus on fire. “When crews arrived, they did have fire coming from some batteries on the top of the bus. It cause a significant amount of damage,” he said
Fire fighters spent one hour bringing the flames under control. But Fox says they had to use a different method of dousing the fires. “It required that we utilize dry chemical extinguishers as well as foam to put it out,” he says.
“We have haz mat crews that also responded out to test our runoff,” says Fox. “Because of the battery involvement with the lithium and ion, we wanted to make sure that the PH and such were okay on the water that was running off from the extinguishment efforts.”
Route 40 was closed while fire fighters put out the flames. It was reopened just before 11:30 AM.
There were no injuries from this fire, and the driver was the only person on board at the time of the fire. “The driver recognized that the bus was on fire and made the call to 911. There were no fire fighter or civilian injuries,” Fox says.
He says the cause is being labeled accidental, possibly to a mechanical issue.