PARTA bus catches fire

WATCH a video about the PARTA bus fire.

VIEW a photo from the fire.

At 7:52 a.m. this morning the Kent Fire Department dispatch received a call saying a Portage Area Regional Transit Authority bus had caught on fire. The Bus was by the Kent State Student Center when the flames broke out. Three people were aboard the bus including the driver. All three of the passengers exited the bus safely.

“The driver pulled in the student center and noticed smoke coming from the back of the bus, said Joe Yensel, operations manager for PARTA. “The driver and the two passengers exited the bus immediately.”

Yensel said the bus was a “total loss”, about $200,000 in costs.

Kent Fire department, Kent State police and PARTA had the area cleaned up and the bus towed away in about two hours.

“The main thing is nobody was hurt,” said Lieutenant Paula Rossi of the KSUPD.

Yensel said the bus that caught on fire went through a “full refurbishment” three years ago.

“The bus may have been a little bit older, but it was totally rebuilt,” he said. “This was a mechanical malfunction, not necessarily due to the age of the vehicle.”

The investigation as to how the engine caught on fire is still underway.

“All we know is it started in the engine and it was electric,” Yensel said. “We will know more as time goes on.”

This the first time a PARTA bus was considered a “total loss” since 2000.