Bus fire report received

Mercedes-Benz has received a report on the bus fire which prompted Sydney bus drivers to strike this week

Bus fire report received
Bus fire report received

By David Goeldner | October 19, 2011

A report commissioned by Mercedes-Benz in August into Sydney’s gas bus fire which led drivers to take strike action this week was received on Tuesday night, proving the cause of the fire to be ‘inconclusive’.

Mercedes-Benz Australia-Pacific General Manager Jan Moreth says it was coincidental the report was received on the day of the strike action.

Investigators from Europe, independent of Daimler and Mercedes-Benz, travelled to Sydney in August to compile the report after the July 29 CNG bus fire at Hillsdale.

The report is yet to be translated from German into English, but will form the basis of on-gong discussion between Mercedes-Benz and the NSW State Transit Authority in coming weeks.

Based on Moreth’s technical experience with CNG buses, he says fires of this type can be mitigated by turning off the gas at the driver’s console before flames spread to the CNG tank.

Moreth says his first reading of the report, which at this stage remains confidential, suggests a few possible causes for the fire.

He declined a request to make the report’s findings publicly available until further discussion took place with STA.

"We don’t want to go down a path that may later prove incorrect until each party has had the opportunity to study the report and make their own conclusions," he says.

Of the approximately 700 CNG buses in the State Transit Authority’s Sydney Buses fleet, 254 are Mercedes-Benz CNG OC500LEs, all of which have been inspected by STA mechanics and Mercedes-Benz since the fire.

Australia’s mainstream media outlets went into overdrive on Tuesday when news of the Sydney bus driver strike action emerged after a video of the fire had been posted to the social media website YouTube.

NSW Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian labelled the action taken by Sydney’s bus drivers and the union as ‘disgusting’, and condemned the strike as illegal and ironic.

She says the NSW Rail, Tram and Bus Union’s strike action was held at a time when drivers are negotiating a new pay deal.

Sydney’s CNG bus fire video is at www.youtube.com

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