Passengers rush off BC Transit bus in Victoria as engine emits steam

Passengers rush off BC Transit bus in Victoria as engine emits steam
Screenshot: Carly Crowe
The BC Transit bus in Victoria is pictured on Monday, Jan. 29, 2024.

Passengers on board a BC Transit bus in Victoria were startled Monday night when the engine started emitting steam and a burning smell.

“I was sort of on the back of the bus on the side, and I was listening to music and I noticed a lady kind of speaking loudly. I looked over to her, and there was smoke coming out of the back seat,” recalled passenger Carly Crowe.

“And I heard her say, ‘Fire!'”

Around 10 p.m., the bus was heading north in the 2800-block of Douglas Street when it experienced a cooling line break, “resulting in a significant amount of steam coming out of the back of the vehicle,” BC Transit tells CHEK News.

‘Really awful’ smell

Crowe says she and other passengers alerted the bus driver.

“I got up with a few other people, and we ran to the front and told the driver to pull over because the bus was on fire,” she said. “There were no flames, it was just smoke and this really awful burning mechanical smell.”

She says everyone got off the bus, and the driver, equipped with a fire extinguisher, “quickly realized he couldn’t really do anything.”

Then Crowe pulled out her camera and filmed the incident, later posting the footage to a local Facebook group.

BC Transit says the bus did not catch fire, though fire crews were still called to the scene, noted Crowe in an interview Tuesday.

“The fire department came in like five minutes and took care of it. There was a lot of oil leaking out of the back of the bus,” she added. “Apparently, it ran all the way down to Hillside Avenue.”

Victoria police also responded, along with BC Transit crews.

The transit company says no one was hurt.

“Our Transit Supervisor and member of our maintenance team quickly attended the scene to clean up the coolant, and there were no injuries to anyone onboard or significant damage to the bus itself,” the company said.

“BC Transit appreciates the support of the Victoria Police and Fire Departments in responding to this incident.”

It says the bus “was repaired last night and immediately returned to service.” In the meantime, Crowe and the other passengers had to take another bus.

Bus cancellations due to ‘aging’ fleet

On Tuesday morning, BC Transit said mechanical issues with its aging fleet in Victoria were to blame for a number of cancellations in recent days.

Tuesday cancellations affected 17 routes in the Victoria transit system, with one route seeing up to 11 trips cancelled.

“It’s mostly aging buses in our fleet that are having issues, and our maintenance team is working hard to get more buses on the road and return to full scheduled service,” the company said.

READ MORE: ‘Aging fleet’ causes numerous bus cancellations in Victoria

-with files from CHEK’s Laura Brougham

Ethan MorneauEthan Morneau

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