At 9:55 pm officers were dispatched to assist HRM Fire Dept. with several buses that were on fire in the Metro Transit compound in Burnside. HRM Fire Dept. were able to quickly extinguish the fire but 3 buses were destroyed. Investigators from both HRM Fire and Halifax Regional Police attended and examined the scene. At this time the cause of the fire has not been determined. Investigators will continue their investigation today during the daylight hours.Spokesperson Tiffany Chase tells me this morning that the fire occurred out in the yard, not in the building proper, and that fire investigators are still investigating.
The destroyed buses were two 40-foot conventional buses and one Access-A-Bus. The conventional buses were in regular service, and both were low-floor buses manufactured by the New Flyer company. Bus #1022 was acquired by Metro Transit in 2003, while bus #1054 was acquired in 2004. Neither was air conditioned. The Access-A-Bus was out of service, used only for parts. Chase did not provide a bus number for it.
At eight and nine years old, the conventional buses were what used to be about halfway through their expected lives, but Metro Transit has made good progress in recent years retiring older buses and replacing them with longer, 60-foot buses. The longer the life expectancy, the increased maintenance cost. Most years, the company acquires 15 new buses, replacing five old ones and expanding the fleet with the other 10.
It's too soon to know for sure, but presumably insurance will cover the cost of replacing the lost buses, which might mean that the fire is actually a good thing in that it helps modernize the fleet at a quicker pace than expected.
Chase says there will be no loss of service, because there are enough spares to cover the routes.