A state-run electric bus caught fire Saturday morning, one day after officials lauded the passage of the Connecticut Clean Air Act, which included plans to roll out thousands of electric vehicles, according to CT Insider.
Officials said the CTtransit bus was engulfed by the inferno in a Hamden parking lot and sent two transit workers and a firefighter to the hospital.
“Lithium ion battery fires are difficult to extinguish due to the thermal chemical process that produces great heat and continually reignites,” Hamden fire officials said.
The two workers were hospitalized as a precaution for smoke exposure and the firefighter was transported to the hospital for heat exhaustion, according to officials.
CTtransit spokesperson Josh Rickman told CT Insider the bus was delivered in December and was put into service in January.
“The bus, last operated on July 20, on routes 243 and 265, and was not in service at the time of the incident,” Rickman said. “Bus fires are rare, but can occur similar to cars. This is CTtransit’s first fire incident with a battery electric bus. Bus operators, maintenance staff and others undergo extensive training and safety protocols are in place.”
He added that the electric bus fleet had been removed from service as a precaution after the fire.
“The importance of rider safety is demonstrated by taking these buses out of service and ensuring a thorough investigation is completed prior to any redeployment of the fleet,” Rickman told CT Insider. “We have deployed diesel buses to make sure people get to where they need to be.”
Connecticut state officials, including Gov. Ned Lamont, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Katie Dykes, and Department of Transportation Commissioner Joe Giulietti had gathered in New Haven just the day before to tout the Clean Air Act that would increase electric cars in the state, while decreasing diesel vehicles.
“There are approximately 800 buses that we are responsible for at the DOT that are being replaced with no-emissions electric models,” Giulietti said Friday, according to CT Insider. “They’re quieter, they emit no emissions and they last longer.”
According to a statement from Lamont, public school buses will also be changed over to electric models, in addition to the electric state-run buses.
The Clean Air Act will also prohibit the purchase of diesel buses after 2023, the statement said.
DOT spokesperson Josh Morgan told CT Insider that the Hamden bus fire is under investigation.
“The first battery electric buses came into service in the fall of 2020,” Morgan said. “Today, there are 12 electric buses in Connecticut, and approximately 50 planned to be ordered.”
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.