published Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Blue Bird company says Chattanooga school bus fire started in left front wheel area

Fire erupts from a Bluebird, 71-passenger, propane-powered school bus at the U-Haul store at 5618 Ringgold Road in East Ridge on Sunday. The front end of the brand-new bus was destroyed.
Fire erupts from a Bluebird, 71-passenger, propane-powered school bus at the U-Haul store at 5618 Ringgold Road in East Ridge on Sunday. The front end of the brand-new bus was destroyed.
Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The Blue Bird company says a fire that blew up the front of a school bus in East Ridge on Aug. 19, started in the left front wheel area.

Blue Bird immediately transported the bus to its facility in Fort Valley, Ga., to investigate, according to a news release from the company.

The preliminary review indicates friction in the wheel end area likely caused the fire, the release stated. The bus company said its findings conclude that this was an isolated event.

An independent 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 release stated.

Blue Bird says there have been no propane-related injuries with any of the company's school buses.

This incident took place in East Ridge while the bus was en route to be delivered to a bus dealership in another state. There was no one on the bus at the time of the fire and the engine was off. There were no injuries.

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