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Author Topic: Coaches and buses bursting into flames - why are they apparently so combustible? (merged topic)  (Read 14514 times)
bignosemac
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« Reply #30 on: May 22, 2017, 11:49:57 pm »

Glad to read that everyone is okay.

My first thought on the cause is that maybe a radio/cassette unit had been supplied by Derek Trotter.
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #31 on: May 23, 2017, 10:59:15 am »

It does look as if the fire started in the luggage compartment. It might have been in the transmission I suppose though.

As to the flammability of buses, surely it's because they're made of, or rather contain, lots of foam plastics and similar. I did once see a motorbike catch fire on the M4. I think the cause might have been a canvas pannier slipping on to hot exhaust – it overtook us and I noticed smoke, then some minutes later we saw it in considerably more smoke, lying on the ground, the rider having jumped off and all the traffic stopped (by a rather brave and very cool-headed woman stepping out of her car and giving an unmistakeable stop sign in lane 2). It took several more minutes till it really got going; it wasn't till it reached the petrol tank that it really flared up. But a coach won't have petrol so that's not a factor.
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Chris from Nailsea
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« Reply #32 on: November 22, 2017, 11:19:51 pm »

From the BBC:

Quote
Ashington driver 'crashed to save passengers' in French Alps


The coach quickly became a "complete inferno", the inquest heard

A bus driver died when he deliberately crashed to save his passengers from plummeting off a road in the French Alps, an inquest has heard.

Maurice Wrightson drove into boulders on the narrow mountain road when he realised his brakes had failed.

Mr Wrightson, 63, from Ashington, died in the April 2013 crash and four of the 50 passengers were seriously injured.

French investigators said the driver "undoubtedly prevented" a more serious crash, Berwick Coroner's Court heard.

The coach, which was carrying British staff from the French ski resort Alpe d'Huez, was approaching the 21st hairpin bend on the D211 road.

Nathan Woodland, 39, the co-driver of the coach operated by County Durham-based Classic Coaches, told the inquest he felt the bus twitch and quickly became aware something was wrong.  He said: "Suddenly Maurice looked at me with a very shocked look on his face.  He said 'it's not stopping us'."

He said Mr Wrightson gripped the wheel very tightly and braced himself against his seat to apply more pressure to the brake.  Mr Woodland said: "I stepped into the aisle and shouted, 'grab a hold, hold tight'."

He then described how the coach smashed into the boulders and he was thrown a number of rows back.  As he picked himself up he saw people desperately trying to escape and flames begin to engulf the coach, which quickly turned into a "complete inferno".

He said the clothing of one woman, who was sitting behind the driver, caught fire as she was pulled from the bus by another passenger.

Speaking at the time, French transport minister Frederic Cuvillier said Mr Wrightson "showed remarkable courage" and avoided a "much heavier loss of life".

The inquest jury heard the French report concluded the brake failed as the pad had been "completely destroyed by excessive heating" due to the "poor condition of the hydraulic retarder".

The inquest continues.


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Chris from Nailsea
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« Reply #33 on: March 09, 2018, 02:56:07 am »

Another incident, from the BBC:

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'Amazing escape' for students after bus catches fire



The driver of this school bus has been praised for his quick-thinking after it burst into flames in the Malvern Hills in Worcestershire

Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service said the vehicle was travelling on the A449, near British Camp, at 08:39 when it caught fire and the students had to be quickly led to safety.

The road had to be closed while the blaze was put out and the fire service called it "an amazing escape for a coachload of students".


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William Huskisson MP was the first person to be killed by a train while crossing the tracks, in 1830.  Many more have died in the same way since then.  Don't take a chance: stop, look, listen.

"Level crossings are safe, unless they are used in an unsafe manner."  Discuss.
stuving
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« Reply #34 on: March 09, 2018, 01:13:08 pm »

Another incident, from the BBC:

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... the fire service called it "an amazing escape for a coachload of students".

Why 'amazing'? Buses are designed so passengers can escape quickly in the event of a fire, and teenagers (or even younger children) should be able to do that if anyone can.
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stuving
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« Reply #35 on: March 10, 2018, 06:50:39 pm »

Chobham Rugby Club coach fire: Players forced to abandon match after watching huge flames swallow coach and belongings
From getSurrey:
Quote
A coach carrying members of Chobham Rugby Football Club caught on fire on Saturday (March 10)
ByAnn Yip    17:37, 10 MAR 2018Updated17:47, 10 MAR 2018

Members of a rugby club abandoned a match after their coach caught on fire.

About a dozen Chobham Rugby Football Club members who were on their way to a memorial match against Paignton RFC luckily escaped the burning coach safely.

They were left with no option but to watch as huge flames swallowed the vehicle and their belongings.

Players from the club's veterans team said the back of the coach they were travelling on caught fire at about 11.30am on Saturday (March 10) near Exeter Airport.

The coach driver was warned by passing car drivers of a fire at the back of the bus. It was then that the driver stopped the bus to allow passengers out.

A coach with Chobham Rugby Club members caught on fire (Image: Chobham Rugby Club)

Rugby club members were unable to open a door to retrieve their valuable kit and belongings.

Duncan Souster, a Chobham Rugby member who was travelling on the coach, said: "We were two-thirds of the way down the journey and a car passed us on the outside lane. They were flagging us down and wanting us to talk to the driver.

"He had his window down and was waving his arms out to tell the driver there was a fire at the back of the coach.

He added: "So the bus driver quickly pulled us over on the hard shoulder and we got out and watched the bus burn.

"Everybody just got up and got off the coach immediately and I realised that there was actually fire at the back. I thought it would just be smoke.

"All of our kit was in the first locker by the door, but we weren’t able to open the door. That was all of the playing strip, all our overnight bags, our personal possessions.

"We were supposed to wear our tour rugby shirts which we've had for years. Some guys have lost wallets and car keys.

"We had to stand at a distance and watch the fire happen.

"There were flames licking beyond the central reservation. It blew all the windows out, all the tyres, the whole bus was gutted. They stopped traffic in both directions for about an hour.

"We've managed to walk a mile to get a £100 cab down to Paignton," he said.

Mr Souster said if not for the loss of their playing kits, he would have been happy to continue with the match, which had been scheduled for 1pm.

He said: "Unfortunately, the game couldn't happen.

"This fixture has been going on for more than 20 years. Nothing would have stopped us playing the game. It's a memorial match as well."

Speaking about what happens now, Mr Souster said: "We’ve got to go buy some clothes and things overnight and we’re waiting to find out about a coach to get home tomorrow.

"The coach company said they’d sort that out for us.

"I haven’t worked out what was in my overnight bag which was lost in the fire. My rugby gear, my playing top. I’ve got no clothes for changing into."
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LiskeardRich
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« Reply #36 on: March 11, 2018, 09:30:09 pm »

And another near Tiverton Parkway today,

https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/m5-coach-fire-captured-video-1326344

Edwards Van Hool YJ11AOC ex Parrys by the looks of it.
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Chris from Nailsea
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« Reply #37 on: May 09, 2018, 01:38:12 am »

From the BBC:

Quote
Why do Rome's buses keep catching fire?

A public bus engulfed in flames in a European capital - but no one in Rome thought to blame terrorism.

Instead they wearily pointed the finger at the city's beleaguered transport authority, Atac.

The blaze on the number 63 bus, which happened on the busy Via del Tritone shopping street in the city centre on Tuesday, was the ninth this year and follows 22 more last year.

So frequent have the fireballs become that they have their own social media hashtag #flambus (which rhymes with Trambus, Atac's previous name).

"Only in Rome does a bus explode in the heart of the city and people immediately blame Atac, with no thought of terrorism. It says a lot about our emergencies," said journalist Raffaella Menichini on social media.



Atac blamed an ageing fleet and said the number of incidents was down on last year.  In its statement, Atac said no passengers had been hurt. But local media reported that a shop assistant working in a store near where the bus caught fire had been taken to hospital suffering from a burn to the arm and shock.

No passengers have been hurt in previous fires either, local reports say. But observers fear that it is only a matter of time before there are victims.  "Every day there is greater risk," wrote transport consultant Fabio Rosati, adding that an "urgent plan" to replace buses was needed.



Journalist Michele Galvani accused the city authorities of "playing with citizens' lives".  "Today could have been a massacre. In which other European capital do buses explode like this? These jokers play with citizens' lives and continue to make announcements," he said.



In March after the year's fifth bus fire, union officials warned of the risks to travellers.  "Atac services are unsafe. Drivers just have to pray that nothing happens and we don't want to think about what could happen when the hot weather comes because if we wait for this authority to solve the problem then we're in trouble. Or indeed, incinerated," the Faisa Confail union's regional secretary Claudio De Francesco told Roma Today.

The transport authority said the Mercedes Citaro bus that caught fire in Via del Tritone dated from 2003 and said its fleet "unfortunately has a very high average age".

Preliminary investigations say the bus suffered a short circuit before the blaze broke out, La Repubblica reported.


Unions say the buses suffer from a lack of maintenance

The fire began at the back of the bus and the bus driver quickly evacuated passengers before the flames spread, the newspaper said.

Video posted on social media appeared to show smoke pouring out of the back of the bus before an explosion accompanied by a loud bang that scattered onlookers.

Initial attempts to put the fire out with fire extinguishers failed but firefighters were on the scene shortly afterwards.

Drivers' unions say the buses suffer from a lack of maintenance. A series of internal investigations have failed to stop the fires.

Last month a bus that was just five years old caught fire, The Local reported.

Atac insists that it has increased fire-prevention measures and says that these have reduced fires by a quarter this year.

That is not enough for some, however. Carlo Rienzi from the consumer rights group Codacons said the "umpteenth" fire had prompted his organisation to demand that the public prosecutor take buses out of circulation if safety cannot be guaranteed.  "We can no longer be silent about what seems to all intents and purposes an emergency," Codacons said in a statement.


The blaze left a nearby building's facade blackened

Some on social media have blamed the administration of Mayor Virginia Raggi.  She is from the populist Five Star Movement and won power in 2016 promising to improve the city's notorious transport, water and rubbish services, which have long been plagued by corruption and a lack of investment.

Rome newspaper Diario Romano said Ms Raggi had not got to grips with the city's transport problems and accused her of "two years of failure".

One left-wing activist even compared her leadership to that of Emperor Nero from classical Rome, who is popularly said to have played the fiddle as fire devastated the city in the year 64.  "Not even Nero did what Raggi is doing," the activist said on social media.


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William Huskisson MP was the first person to be killed by a train while crossing the tracks, in 1830.  Many more have died in the same way since then.  Don't take a chance: stop, look, listen.

"Level crossings are safe, unless they are used in an unsafe manner."  Discuss.
broadgage
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« Reply #38 on: May 09, 2018, 12:18:48 pm »

In view of the number of such incidents, I wonder if the engine compartments of buses should be fitted with automatic fire extinguishers ?
These are often fitted to the engine compartments of motor yachts.

IIRC the London Fire Brigade trialled a new piece of equipment for this sort of fire. It consisted of a length of steel pipe  with a sharpened steel point at one end, and a coupling to connect to hose reel tubing at the other end. The pointed end had a number of small holes.
To use, the pointed end was used to pierce the bodywork near the fire and the water turned on. The applied water to the seat of the fire without firemen opening doors and admitting air to feed the fire.
I saw this in use once and it seemed very effective, but I know not if it was generally adopted.

It was known as "the pig sticker" ! As the fire engine pulled up, the leading fireman ordered two men to "get to work with the pig sticker"
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stuving
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« Reply #39 on: May 09, 2018, 04:52:58 pm »

In view of the number of such incidents, I wonder if the engine compartments of buses should be fitted with automatic fire extinguishers ?
These are often fitted to the engine compartments of motor yachts.

In this case, the rest of the world has beaten you to it. Bus and coach safety is governed, for odd historical reasons, but UN (UNECE) regulations. For new full-size coaches (class III vehicles) fire suppression in engine compartments is compulsory from this year. For buses (classes I and II) this will be so also from 2020.

There are still technical issues around how best to do this in practice. The fire service's approach, water flooding, calls for so much water it would be very hard to fit it in (boats have an advantage here). Gas flooding only works in almost sealed compartments. The systems on offer use alternatives such as dry powder, foam, mist, etc. I imagine that vehicle makers have also been working on different ways to put boxes round the engine and other systems to help with this.
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #40 on: May 09, 2018, 07:47:21 pm »

Quite a lot of motor vehicle regulations are governed by UNECE. Or used to be, at least. When you see a component marked with a circle and a capital E inside it followed by a number, that indicates it conforms to UNECE regs.
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broadgage
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« Reply #41 on: May 09, 2018, 09:12:16 pm »

In view of the number of such incidents, I wonder if the engine compartments of buses should be fitted with automatic fire extinguishers ?
These are often fitted to the engine compartments of motor yachts.

In this case, the rest of the world has beaten you to it. Bus and coach safety is governed, for odd historical reasons, but UN (UNECE) regulations. For new full-size coaches (class III vehicles) fire suppression in engine compartments is compulsory from this year. For buses (classes I and II) this will be so also from 2020.

There are still technical issues around how best to do this in practice. The fire service's approach, water flooding, calls for so much water it would be very hard to fit it in (boats have an advantage here). Gas flooding only works in almost sealed compartments. The systems on offer use alternatives such as dry powder, foam, mist, etc. I imagine that vehicle makers have also been working on different ways to put boxes round the engine and other systems to help with this.

On boats, vaporising liquid fire extinguishers used to be favoured, but these are prohibited for new installations due to the ozone destroying properties of the materials used.
The modern approach tends to be foam, stored in a small pressure vessel very like a portable extinguisher, and released via spray nozzles when fire breaks out.
Another approach is water under great pressure such that it forms a fine mist or fog.
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"When customers say that they want a seat, they dont mean they want to sit with their knees behind their ears so that 4 more can sit down. They mean that they want an extra coach so that 74 more can sit down"
"Capacity on intercity routes should be about number of vehicles, not compressing people"
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