Bus on Fire?


Forum Probie
Hm, been a while since i've been here...

Hi all,

Well...me and my partner were driving down a crowded LA street, going to pick up a patient on a routine transport call (our last one for the day), when i smelled something burning. My partner didn't notice it at first, but as we got closer, we noticed that a Metro bus was pulled over, and the engine (located in the back) had caught fire. We glanced at each other, groaned slightly, and pulled over to see what was going on.

Notified dispatch, lights turned on, stopped/redirected traffic real quick, blah blah...

When we got down and got closer, the interesting thing was that no one was really around. Now the bus was filled with smoke, which got me scared a bit because i could barely see inside. I, at that point, did not know whether there were people inside or not. My partner actually opens the door (he's an experienced EMT by the way, 10 years he claims) and ACTUALLY RAN INTO THE SMOKING BUS screaming, "Is ANYBODY in there?" <_<. He came out coughing , saying that no one responded.

Hm, I thought...looked around, and at the way end of the block, hiding behind a building, taking pics with his camera phone and waiting expectedly, I noticed a man in a Metro bus driver uniform. "EXCUSE ME, SIR! COULD YOU COME HERE FOR A MOMENT PLEASE"

This guy was SO paranoid/convinced that the bus was gonna explode, that it made ME paranoid at that point because i hadn't really even thought of it. "Uh oh," i thought, and I second guessed myself. Can it really explode? I remember hearing/reading that cars RAREELLYYY actually EXPLODE (like in tv/movies), but I wasn't really sure at that point? Anyways, he got close enough to give me confirmation that no one was inside, and we awaited for Fire, who came and promptly put it out.

Any comments on the scenario? And please be gentle to my partner guys, who gave himself high flow O2 via Mask after the incidence ;) ... hope he doesn't read this post lol...

Good to be back, btw. :p


Forum Captain
This one hits home because I drive a transit bus on my day job . I'm curious .

Did the driver try to put the fire out ? Every bus is required by law to carry an extinguisher .

Where were his passengers ? We're trained to evacuate the passengers to a safe area and keep count .

Why didn't this bonehead come up and tell you the bus had been evacuated ? I would've had words with a supervisor . The driver definitely wasn't doing his job . This should be reported .

If you have a situation like this in the future , take a quick look around for the driver and passengers before taking action . They should be nearby but at a safe distance . The driver should be able to give you a passenger count and let you know of any that may be trapped .

13 year driver , First Transit


Forum Captain
What type fuel do those buses use in your area. Around here they use CNG (compressed Natural Gas) which can under the proper conditions "explode" in its storage tank. We are instructed to stay 100 yards away from any transit bus until FD has vented the tanks.


Forum Deputy Chief
well your partners an idiot, but you knew that.

other than that, well there isnt much to comment on. keep in mind, the most important person on an emergency scene is you.


Forum Deputy Chief
So, as your partner is running through the burning bus, screaming 'Is anyone in here?' Did it cross your mind to say "Yes, you! Ya moron! Get out of there!"


Forum Lieutenant
So, as your partner is running through the burning bus, screaming 'Is anyone in here?' Did it cross your mind to say "Yes, you! Ya moron! Get out of there!"

I second that thought


Community Leader
We all do silly things when we are hyped up on adrenalin. And it can take years to live it down :).

Around here, the transit buses are MOSTLY diesel. Some of the local transit agencies may have a handful of CNG buses that they were using as a trial.

I would look for the driver first before running on the bus. Depending on the situation, I'd be inclined to knock down the fire with the extinguisher from both the bus and my ambulance... but I'd try to stay off the bus unless I couldn't find the driver and/or I had reason to believe that there were still people at the bus.

If I saw something like this, while enroute to a call, I'd stop, notify dispatch, verify there were no injuries, and probably wait until the police were onsite. If the call was for a routine transport, and I was looking to kill time, I'd probably hang out until the FD arrived, but if I was going to an emergency call... I'd try to clear ASAP and perhaps still take my original call.

Of course, if your SOP's/SOG's and/or protocols call for a different approach... do it that way if possible - it will keep your bosses happy.