Fire sidelines Aspen public bus for the winter

Rick Carroll
The Aspen Times

The last day of the year started on a fiery note for the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority.

Shortly after 9 a.m. Wednesday, RFTA reported to authorities that one of its buses had caught fire. The bus was vacant and located at RFTA’s bus barn off of Highway 82.

Enough damage was done to the hybrid bus to knock it out of commission for the winter season, said Kenny Osier, RFTA’s director of vehicle maintenance.

“It will definitely go back into service,” he said. “My guess is it will be out for the remainder of the ski season.”

Osier theorized that the bus’s air brakes had low pressure and got too hot.

“And when it gets that hot, it’s actually hot enough to start a fire,” he said.

One of the bus’s tires caught fire, Osier said, resulting in floor damage to the bus and some seats being ruined. There were no flames in the coach of the bus, he said.

“As soon as we realized what happened, we had guys out there with a fire extinguisher and throwing snow on it,” he said.

Osier said he was especially appreciative of the Aspen Volunteer Fire Department, which has a satellite station close to the Aspen Business Center.

“Thanks goes to the Fire Department,” he said. “They got right over here and minimized it.”