TCAT Team Praised for Their Quick Response to 3/23/18 Bus Fire

April 3, 2018
There were no injuries thanks to the quick reaction of TCAT Bus Operator Antoinette Briggs, Vanderpool said.

An electrical issue, though specifics are yet to be determined, is the cause of a March 23rd bus fire on NYS Route 96, near Krums Corner, Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit Inc. General Manager Scot Vanderpool said.

There were no injuries thanks to the quick reaction of TCAT Bus Operator Antoinette Briggs, Vanderpool said.

TCAT has been working closely with the New York State Department of Transportation and the Albany-based Public Transportation Safety Board to investigate the fire’s cause. In addition, Vanderpool said, TCAT’s maintenance crew is ensuring all TCAT buses are safe. The bus, built in 2011, was severely damaged and will be scrapped. (TCAT recently put 11 new buses into service.)

“I am just so grateful that no one was hurt and I am very impressed with the swift reaction of our employees, who put their best efforts forth to protect passengers and then to thoroughly investigate the fire,” said Vanderpool. He lauded the efforts of Briggs, as well as those of TCAT Transit Supervisor Frank Howells, TCAT Operations Manager Michael Smith and TCAT Transit and Safety Compliance Supervisor Phillip Smith.

Phillip Smith, who led the investigation on behalf of TCAT, said Briggs was driving the Route 21 on the late afternoon of Fri., March 23, on NYS Route 96 when a passenger detected smoke on the bus and alerted her. Briggs immediately pulled over as far as she could on the roadway and immediately evacuated the three passengers who were on the bus at the time. Briggs then took a fire extinguisher to investigate the source of the smoke.

“Antoinette did not open any panels or hatches during her initial investigation as she knew that it would make the fire spread more rapidly,” said Phillip Smith, who was a first responder along with Howells and Michael Smith. “I am very proud that, in such a stressful situation, she followed all TCAT protocols swiftly, calmly and professionally.”

Phillip Smith also thanked the Trumansburg Fire Department, the Ithaca Fire Department and the New York State Police for assisting at the scene. He also thanked TCAT’s Safety, Security and Training Manager Clarence Clink and TCAT’s Maintenance Managers Scott Bloss and Bill Armitage for their comprehensive follow-up work and to ensure the safety of all TCAT buses and TCAT riders.