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.
Follow Jeremy Arias on Twitter: @Jarias_Prime.
I believe the batteries are primarily in the back where the open panel is, not the top where the fire was.
But, it doesn't pollute.
it actually does..the emissions are simply moved to the central plant.
Solar storm put the hurting on that puppy. Clean source of fuel but when a CME hits the earth our HO car set development will be useless.
Hate to heat that, electric is a good way to go but this could set us back, hope not.
Fully electric eh? I think they blew a fuse! (circuit breaker actually.)
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