Bus on Fire in Tampa

On Monday morning, a Sunshine Line bus caught fire on Interstate 275 in the southbound lanes near Bird Street, just south of Waters Avenue. While the cause of the fire is still unclear, Florida Highway Patrol reported that the driver pulled over because of mechanical issues. Moments later, the engine was on fire and the bus soon became fully engulfed in flames. The fire was extinguished by 11:30 a.m. but FHP kept the lanes closed until 1 p.m.

The Sunshine Line is a special service that caters to disabled and elderly persons in Hillsborough county. Fortunately, there were no passengers aboard the bus and the driver exited quickly, so there were no injuries.

Accidents Involving Buses in Hillsborough County

While no one was injured in Monday’s incident, the Helping Hands bus fire serves as a reminder that riding mass transit can be potentially dangerous. During one school week in September 2018, there were three accidents involving Tampa-area county school buses (two in Pinellas County, one in Hillsborough County). The first one led to the death of a motorcyclist and an 8-year-old was injured in another. One of the three didn’t result in any injuries. In two of the incidents, the bus driver was cited for the accident.

According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there were over 30,000 people in accidents involving buses in 2017. Of those, 1,139 had possible injuries, 412 had non-incapacitating injuries, 53 had incapacitating injuries, and there was one fatality. One of the reasons that the number of injuries isn’t higher may be because the mass of buses tend to be much greater than the mass of the cars, motorcycles, and pedestrians that they come in contact with. Consequently, the trauma of a bus passenger tends to be less than that of a car occupant. 

What You Should Do if You’re Involved in a Bus Fire

While the Helping Hands Sunshine bus was unoccupied when it caught fire, the potential for an occupied bus fire is relatively high. For instance, the National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB), 379.4 reportable school bus fires occur every year. Most fires originate from the engine area, which is usually in the front, so if you are on a bus that catches fire, move away from the front towards the back exit. Have first responders check you for burns, smoke inhalation, and other injuries. If you are injured in a bus fire, contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your options. Even minor injuries can lead to exorbitant medical expenses.

1-800-Injured is an attorney and medical referral service. We connect accident victims with attorneys and doctors who have experience handling accident cases. Contact us to discuss any injuries you’ve sustained in vehicle fires and other types of accidents.

Category: Car Accidents