Metro Takes 94 Buses Out of Service After Fire

2nd bus fire reported in a week

A Metrobus fire Tuesday morning has forced WMATA to remove 94 buses from service while investigators determine the cause of the blaze.

An Orion VI bus caught fire just after 6 a.m. Tuesday on Route 50 between Interstate 95 and the MLK Highway in Prince George's County.

No passengers were on the bus at the time of the fire and no injuries were reported. A mechanic was driving the bus to test it at the time.

Last Thursday, an Orion VI bus caught fire on I-66 in Fairfax. There were no passengers aboard and no injuries.

"Safety is our highest priority, and this is a prudent step until we fully understand the cause," said Metro General Manager and CEO Richard Sarles. "We will do everything possible to minimize customer impact while these buses are out of service."

The 94 Orion VI buses operate using diesel fuel and were delivered to Metro in 2000.

Metro said it reduced the usage of Orion VI buses following last week's incident, and Metro asked an outside fire protection engineer to take part in the investigation and identify a cause.

The buses will remain out of service until further notice.

"We're going to let the process determine the timeline instead of the other way around," Metro spokesman Dan Stessel told News4's Chris Gordon. "So we don't know exactly how long these buses will be out of service yet but we won't put them back in service until we understand the cause and there's a fix in place."

Metro operates a fleet of 1,492 buses.

"We're going to spend the afternoon hours configuring the bus fleet to make sure our strategic buses, our reserve buses, are in position and pressed into service," Stessel said. "So if everything goes according to plan, customers should not notice much of a difference at all."

Metro said it was operating normal service Tuesday evening.

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