Clean Burning Bus Erupts In Flames

The Daily Paper has a great quote on line from the deputy fire chief about “clean burning buses”—as he discussed merits of propane power after a city bus erupted in flamesThursday downtown.

This is the second natural gas-powered bus to suffer a major meltdown in about six months, the “fourth or fifth” in the past five years according to the deputy fire chief.

Propane is reported to be about 2.5 times as likely to catch fire as other buses. With the advances in clean burning diesel, expect to see less support for the “Roman candle” buses.

We called the DEQ to see if a single mushroom cloud from a bus engulfed in flames would offset the clean burning characteristics of propane and the staffer jokingly declined to “get involved.”

No one was injured, but there was little risk of life since few people ride buses anyway.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. Hah! And some people say riding buses is dull.
    Sounds like these sky-rocket buses could be real exciting to ride.

    No thanks; think I’ll hitchhike — seems like it might be safer.

  2. FYI – the buses run on CNG (Compressed Natural Gas)… which isn’t the same as propane…

    But I saw a dark brown cloud over downtown this morning…

    EDITOR NOTE–we fixed it to read natural gas.

  3. What a cheap shot. Cars smash into each other, people and homes every day, killing, injuring, damaging property and dispersing toxic chemicals. But one bus catches fire and it’s front-page news here. I guess it’s only so noteworthly only because it’s so rare.

  4. Back in the mid 60s I wrote a feature for the Statesman on the awful bus service in Boise. At that time a pig farmer from Minot, ND owned the busline and had discarded the post war GM buses in favor of school buses which irritated everyone. I don’t remember any fires but buses were breaking down continuously and going nowhere. It was somewhat amusing unless you had to get somewhere.

  5. What is it with that Wonk character? Buses comprise a miniscule fraction of a percentage of the vehicles on the road and they have a propensity to burn. Rather than rare, it would seem that if there are 50 buses and the fire chief says 5 have burned, LOGICALLY we can assume 10% catch fire. G man why do you allow his CHEAP SHOT drivel?

  6. Nothing like clean burning natural gas is there?

    What else could you expect when you mix the God of Lighting (Thor) with natural gas ?

    I believe this is the third bus of its type (9500 series) to catch fire and be completely destroyed. If I recall correctly the first loss came soon after the buses were delivered (1995-96?). That fire was attributed to a leaking transmission oil line. Word on the street has it that others in the 9500 series have had minor fires, been repaired, and placed back into service. Maybe that’s what the Deputy Chief is referring to.

    Mr. Logic – 20 buses of this type were originally purchased. It was another of those “good deals” that was going to lower costs and get more riders on the buses. Neither happened. Losing 3 buses out of 20 to fire is a pretty high percentage (15%) for a city bus fleet. REAL transit buses don’t burn that often if a good preventative maintenance program is in place.

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