South Africa News

Putco bus catches fire on N1 highway

A Putco bus with no passengers caught fire on the N1 yesterday causing major traffic congestion.

Witness Ronnie Matlatle said he saw the driver jump out of the bus as the fire began to engulf it.

“Firefighters arrived to find the bus fully ablaze on the N1 direction south, nearest to East Lynne.

“There were no injuries sustained and the fire was subsequently extinguished without any challenges.

“It was crazy because it all happened so fast that one moment I was looking at the driver, who was still trying to make sense of the whole thing, and the next moment I was looking at a fire eat away an expensive asset.

“I do not think your eyes can ever get used to seeing a vehicle go up in smoke and suddenly turn into a scrap of burnt metal.

“By the time emergency services people arrived the bus was already finished. There was nothing to salvage there. No seats left and honestly nothing much that can still be sold. The smoke eventually caused (a traffic jam) as the fire began eating away the flammable material.”

Tshwane Emergency Services spokesperson Charles Mabaso said the cause of the fire was still not known.

Putco spokesperson Matlakala Motloung said the technical engineer had been to the site for preliminary investigations.

“There were no skid marks, no diesel leaks and the bus will be inspected to check maintenance history or any defects. Majority of our breakdowns are due to vandalism.

“Fuel pipes and/or electrical harnesses are cut to create a breakdown. After breakdown is created, batteries, fuel and tyres are stolen from our buses.

“Generally, a cause of fire could be as a result of brakes dragging or binding, under-inflated tyres that could heat up and cause fire, fuel leaking on to the hot manifold and electrical faults.

“We are grateful that there were no injuries,” she said.

Motloung said when such accidents happen, their drivers contacted their monitoring control centre through panic buttons installed in all buses.

The centre then contacts the drivers to gather more information on the breakdown or incident, and depending on the emergency, centre controllers notify the relevant breakdown recovery teams, emergency personnel, police, fire brigade or ambulance.

-Pretoria News

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Masechaba Ndlovu

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