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Fire causes CTtransit to suspend use of electric bus fleet

An electric bus burns at a CTtransit bus depot in Hamden Saturday morning July 23, resulting in the state’s fleet of 12 battery electric buses being removed from service until a full investigation is completed.
Electric buses account for about 1% of CTtransit’s bus fleet.
Hamden Fire Department
/
Courtesy
An electric bus burns at a CTtransit bus depot in Hamden Saturday morning July 23, resulting in the state’s fleet of 12 battery electric buses being removed from service until a full investigation is completed. Electric buses account for about 1% of CTtransit’s bus fleet.

An electric bus fire over the weekend has led the state Department of Transportation to temporarily halt the use of its entire electric bus fleet, officials said Wednesday.

The fire broke out on a bus at a CTtransit bus depot in Hamden Saturday morning. Officials said the bus was not in service the morning of the accident.

In a statement, the Hamden Fire Department said Saturday that two CTtransit workers were transported to the hospital as a precaution for smoke exposure, and one firefighter was sent to the hospital for heat exhaustion.

As a result of the fire, the state’s fleet of 12 battery electric buses has been removed from service until a full investigation is completed, a spokesperson for CTtransit said Wednesday.

The agency estimated the price tag of the bus that caught fire was roughly $900,000.

CTtransit said the cause of the fire remains under investigation.

The Hamden Fire Department said lithium ion battery fires are difficult to extinguish because the batteries produce lots of heat and can constantly reignite.

The 12 electric buses account for about 1% of CTtransit’s bus fleet.

Patrick Skahill is a reporter and digital editor at Connecticut Public. Prior to becoming a reporter, he was the founding producer of Connecticut Public Radio's The Colin McEnroe Show, which began in 2009. Patrick's reporting has appeared on NPR's Morning Edition, Here & Now, and All Things Considered. He has also reported for the Marketplace Morning Report. He can be reached by phone at 860-275-7297 or by email: pskahill@ctpublic.org.