TransIT Looking At What Caused Electric Bus Fire

It’s one of five new electric buses delivered earlier this year to TransIT.

Frederick, Md (KM)  TransIT of Frederick County is investigating the cause of a fire on one of its electric buses. “The fire was contained in the battery compartment on the roof. It did not go elsewhere from there,” says Kendall Tiffany, Community Relations Manager for TransIT. “The bus manufacturer  is currently here, investigating what the issue may have been. And the bus is still under warranty so there is no cost to us for it.”

The bus caught fire on Tuesday morning at Route 40 east of Route 15 in Frederick. Fire fighters spent one hour putting out the flames. No one was hurt.

TransIT purchased five re-manufactured buses from Complete Coach Works of Riverside, California earlier this year. They were placed on the streets in May.

Agency officials say the buses give off no emissions. They also say the cost of charging these vehicles is $6,000 annually,and are expected to save TransIT $470,000 over the 12-year life of the buses. By contrast, TransIT says diesel fuel costs it $25,000 annually.

Despite what happened on Tuesday, Tiffany says these electric buses are safe for riders. “And we would never put anyone like that in danger,” she said. “We will inspect all of the buses for whatever the issue may have been. Hopefully, this is a one-time issue and it will never happen again.”

When the fire broke out, the driver was the only one on board the bus. He managed to get off safely, and call 911.

“All of our drivers as well as county fire and rescue staff have gone through training for the electric technology in case something like this did happens,” Tiffany says. “So they all responded and did a great job to make sure everything was safe.”

By Kevin McManus