Out-of-service MATA bus catches fire

MATA employees help extinguish bus fires
(Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Photo Source: Viewer video)
(Photo Source: Viewer video)

(WMC) - A Memphis Area Transit Authority bus caught on fire Monday afternoon outside of the bus depot on Watkins Street.

The flames on the bus were coming from the left rear wheel. After the fire broke out, witnesses nearby heard loud noises as the fire spread to the airbag and tire.

"It was a pretty loud explosion," witness Daniel Turbeville said.

Turbeville says he heard the noises and when he walked outside he saw flames.

"There was smoke billowing up from the rear part of the bus," he said.

MATA employees worked to extinguish the blaze before Memphis fire crews arrived and put the fire out in minutes.

An official for the company released a statement Monday evening, saying in part:

"The bus was out of service and no customers were involved. There were no injuries, and the fire was quickly put out by the Memphis Fire Department. Initial observations indicate some damage to the bus exterior and no significant interior damage. The loud pop heard by witnesses in the area was the tire and an air bag.

Gillig officials are expected in Memphis this week to help determine the cause of the fire. Bus #2006 has been placed in confinement and will remain so until Gillig officials complete the investigation."

The bus is a hybrid electric bus bought back in 2010 from the manufacturer Gillig Corporation.

This is not the first issue MATA has had with fire, the trolley line is temporarily suspended because of two trolley fire incidents.

Copyright 2014 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.