‘Bus Fire Originated in Area of Left Front Wheel End Assembly,’
Fuel System and Tanks Safety Features ‘Performed as Designed’
Fire destroyed a new dedicated-propane autogas school bus outside Chattanooga on Sunday. Despite some initial reports, “the propane autogas fuel tanks were not compromised in the fire,” according to a statement from Blue Bird Bus.
Blue Bird says it was notified on Monday of the fire in East Ridge, Tenn. that consumed a new bus that was enroute to a dealer.
Blue Bird says it “immediately transported the bus to its facility in Fort Valley, Georgia, to complete a thorough investigation. An independent fire investigator concluded that the fire likely originated in the left front wheel end area.
“The preliminary review indicates friction in the wheel end area likely caused the fire,” Blue Bird said Tuesday. “Additional analysis will be conducted to confirm this theory.
The Tires Blew, Not the Fuel Tank
“Initial reports indicated witnesses reported hearing two ‘explosions’ at the scene, which was confirmed to be the sound of the front tires rupturing from the heat of the fire.
“Our findings conclude that this was an isolated event.”
Blue Bird said further, “The investigator confirmed that the multiple safety features in the propane autogas system and fuel tanks performed as designed. As a result of these safeguards, the propane autogas fuel tanks were not compromised in the fire.
“The safety record of Blue Bird propane autogas in school buses is outstanding,” the statement continued. “There have been no propane- related injuries with any of our school buses. There are over 21 million propane-fueled vehicles on the road that travel hundreds of millions of miles a year, and propane has proven to be a safe and efficient fuel.”
Propane autogas-fueled Blue Bird buses have dedicated-propane fuel systems by Roush CleanTech.
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Source: Chattanooga Times Free Press and Blue Bird Bus with Fleets & Fuels follow-up