Friday, August 11, 2006

Fires On Buses

More than 2,500 fires break out on buses annually but that figure may actually be higher because a considerable number of those incidents go unreported.

Testifying before the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the National Fire
Protection Association’s Marty Ahrens said an analysis of local fire department records indicated there were between 2,000 and 2,600 fires on school buses, motor coaches and other large multiple-rider vehicles.

During the evacuation of residents during Hurricane Rita last year, 23 passengers and
the driver aboard the bus died while riding on Interstate 45 when a ball bearing in the right wheel housing overheated and ignited the tire. Oxygen tanks used by the elderly passengers fueled the flames. Upon further inspection, it was revealed the transportation company had failed three previous safety reviews.

The 5-pound fire extinguisher aboard the bus was incapable of dousing a burning tire. Witnesses said some of the bus windows, which serve as emergency exits, could not be opened.

I've never been on a bus when a fire has started. However, this report is troubling.

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