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MBTA Bus Catches Fire in Boston

Two employees of the MBTA were taken to a hospital to be evaluated for possible smoke inhalation

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An MBTA bus caught fire in Boston Thursday, the latest safety incident for the beleaguered transit agency.

Images on social media showed the bus on fire near the MBTA bus yard in Forest Hills, then fire trucks putting the blaze out inside the yard. Hours after the incident, the back of the bus remained charred and paneling was dangling from the vehicle.

The bus was out of service at the time of the fire, which broke out shortly after 3 p.m., according to the MBTA. Two employees of the MBTA were taken to a hospital to be evaluated for possible smoke inhalation.

"MBTA personnel attempted to extinguish the flames but were unsuccessful. The Boston Fire Department responded and extinguished the flames," the MBTA said in a statement.

The fire was caught on camera by multiple witnesses, including Darragh Murphy, who took a photo of the bus on fire. She said it was starting to get close to rush hour traffic, but didn't see anyone on board.

“Out of the corner of my eye I saw what looked like flames basically and I looked over and sure enough a bus was driving down Washington Street with flames shooting out the back,” Murphy said.

From adventurous to unreliable, here's how MBTA riders boil down their experience to one word.
From adventurous to unreliable, here's how MBTA riders boil down their experience to one word.

“The bus driver was kind of a hero because from what I saw it looked like bus driver was very calmly trying to get out of traffic and drive to that open parking lot area,” she added.

While no passengers were on board the out-of-service bus, that isn’t any reassurance for commuters like Joa Santos.

“Things have not gotten better, things have gotten worse,” he noted. “Knowing about this, it’s not surprising. Like, what else are they going to do?”

“Would I feel comfortable taking the ‘T’ or the bus? I don’t think that’s a correct question,” Santos added. “The question is: is there an alternative? And there is not and that’s the problem that we have right now.”

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The MBTA has been dealing with a slew of issues lately, which have brought the scrutiny of federal investigators. On Wednesday, officials announced an unprecedented 30-day shutdown of the Orange Line -- which terminates blocks away from the Forest Hills bus yard. Shuttle buses are part of Boston's plan for replacing Orange Line service.

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