For Immediate Release
Friday, June 08, 2007
Contact: Stephen Del Guidice 703.228.0090 (voice) (TTY)
ARLINGTON, Va. – Arlington Transit (ART) bus officials are investigating the cause of a fire that destroyed an ART bus Thursday, June 7.
The fire broke out at about 7:40 p.m. on an ART bus making the final northbound run on ART Bus Route 75, as the bus entered the intersection of South Carlin Springs Road and 6th Street. All three passengers aboard and the driver evacuated without injury.
The bus driver told Arlington County Fire Department officials that he saw smoke coming from rear wheels and pulled over in front of 601 Carlin Springs Road. Flames quickly engulfed the bus, and damaged cable and power lines directly overhead. The utilities were shut down to avoid any injuries on scene, causing some temporary cable and power outages.
This is ART’s first vehicle fire. The 29-bus fleet, which on week days ferries some 4,000 riders daily to and from Metro, connects neighborhoods across the County, and provides service to Virginia Hospital Center. It has steadily gained riders since it began operating in 1999. This fiscal year, which ends June 30, ART is expected to carry more than 1 million passengers. The bus system has an excellent safety record.
The initial investigation indicates that the fire may have started in the right rear wheel well -- possibly from over-heated brakes. The exact cause of the fire will be determined by an independent investigation. The bus involved, manufactured in 2003, seated 28 passengers. It was powered by Compressed Natural Gas, (CNG), as are 21 of the low-emission fleet’s buses; the rest are diesel. Compressed Natural Gas is a clean-burning fuel, and the County uses it to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
ACFD has ruled out the CNG fuel as a cause of the fire. The CNG system was not involved in the incident and did not leak during or after the fire, ACFD officials said.
Visit the ART website for updated information as we receive it.
ART is operated by Arlington County, Virginia, through a contract with Veolia Transportation Inc. (contact is Tim Collins, 703-354-6030).
Arlington, Va., is a world-class residential, business and tourist location that was originally part of the "10 miles square" parcel of land surveyed in 1791 to be the Nation's Capital. It is the geographically smallest self-governing county in the United States, occupying slightly less than 26 square miles. Arlington maintains a rich variety of stable neighborhoods, quality schools and enlightened land use, and received the Environmental Protection Agency's highest award for "Smart Growth" in 2002. Home to some of the most influential organizations in the world - including the Pentagon - Arlington stands out as one of America's preeminent places to live, visit and do business.