SMART bus parked in garage catches fire

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published April 15, 2015

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Employees drove SMART buses out of a smoky garage so firefighters could get firetrucks inside to extinguish a bus ablaze in the middle of the facility on Barrett, near Crooks and Maple, just before 11 p.m. April 12.

Assistant Troy Fire Chief Dave Roberts said that when firefighters arrived, they encountered “heavy smoke, with near-zero visibility.”

Roberts said that Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation employees drove several buses out of the garage before firefighters got there to make room for firefighting equipment to be brought inside.

The bus on fire was about 200 feet inside the garage, and the fire was confined to the one bus, according to reports.

The fire appears to have started in the engine compartment of the bus, and it spread to the passenger compartment before firefighters put the blaze out, Roberts said.

SMART spokesperson Beth Gibbons said the vehicle, a 2003 model, had been in service on the road that day until 3 p.m. and showed no signs of mechanical problems.  

“Employees took all the appropriate steps,” she said, explaining that crews used a fire extinguisher on the bus and contained the fire so it didn’t spread to other vehicles before firefighters arrived.

Firefighters searched the facility, determined that everyone had safely evacuated, then ventilated the smoke from the building. The Troy Fire Department was on the scene for about two hours, and the SMART garage resumed operations afterward.

Gibbons said that SMART employees drove all of the approximately 100 buses out of the garage to “air them out and clean them up” for the Monday morning commute.

She said she believes the fire was due to an electrical problem.

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