NEW: Bus fire accidental, fire officials say

Teresa Wright
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Emergency services respond to a Superior Coach Line bus that caught ablaze on Upton Road near the Trans-Canada Highway Sunday, Sept. 23. Guardian photo by Mitch MacDonald

A fire that ignited a Superior Coach Lines bus Sunday night in Charlottetown is not considered suspicious, fire officials say.

On Sunday at 10:13 p.m., the bus had returned to P.E.I. from Fredericton and was at the intersection of the Trans Canada highway and Upton road when the driver noticed flames in the rear of the bus.

He pulled over and attempted to contain the fire himself with two fire extinguishers. After believing he had successfully put the fire out, the driver returned to the front of the bus, only to discover more flames flaring.

That’s when he called 9-1-1.

By the time emergency responders arrived on the scene, the bus was completely enveloped in flames.

RCMP closed a section of Maypoint Road for several hours while firefighters doused the fire and cleared the area.

A number of nearby residents reported hearing an explosion related to the bus fire. Many believed the bus or something on it had exploded.

Charlottetown Fire Inspector Winston Bryan said this was simply the back tires of the bus bursting.

Although a fire of this nature is an unusual occurrence, Bryan said the cause is not deemed at this time to be suspicious.

“It’s being treated as an accidental fire,” he said.

It was likely a mechanical problem that led to the blaze, he added.

Charlottetown Deputy Police Chief Gary McGuigan said the matter is still under investigation, but early evidence suggests the cause of the fire may have been a gas leak.

“It doesn’t appear as though there was any sign of foul play,” McGuigan said.

The Charlottetown Fire Department will continue its investigation to conclusively determine the cause.

No one was injured during this incident. Prior to discovering the fire, the driver had safely dropped off the hockey team that had been travelling in the bus.


Organizations: Trans-Canada Highway

Geographic location: P.E.I., Upton Road

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Recent comments

  • JM
    September 25, 2012 - 10:28

    Also relieved no one was injured - how is the bus driver?

  • SG
    September 25, 2012 - 09:59

    It's too bad Eastlink, CBC, the Guardian, Radio, couldn't report on such happenings earlier. Many people in Ch'town were more than perplexed as to what had taken place. If the loud Booms heard were serious, if the incident was near their location? The Loud Booms, the Red Sky and Dark Clouds of Smoke are very concerning when Residents don't know what is going on, if they are near enough to be affected, etc. I didn't read any Reports on this situation until Monday Evening.

    • reality check
      September 25, 2012 - 10:58

      @ SG.... You didn't find out because it wasn't a safety issue affecting your property. If it had been a safety issue affecting your property, you would have had a police officer or firefighter at your door telling you to leave and where to go. Since it wasn't a safety issue affecting your property, it is deemed none of your business. The police blocked off the road near the fire and kept control of the scene to keep Charlottetown's infamous accident/fire gawkers at bay. That is all.

  • On The Scene
    September 25, 2012 - 08:03

    I was one car behind the bus when it caught fire. The fire was very small for quite awhile. It seemed to take forever for fire trucks to arrive. Very lucky it wasn't a more serious fire and a bus filled with passengers. According to the time on our cell phone we called 911 at 10:03 and the first fire truck with water arrive at 10:19. There was a small fire vehicle there earlier; a supervisor truck perhaps. It seemed unfortunate because the North River fire department is only about a mile away; but this was within city limits and the Charlottetown Fire stations are much farther away. I'm not complaining about the city response; just stating that it was unfortunate that the closer station couldn't respond.

  • Plan Buses?
    September 25, 2012 - 06:21

    The government never should have fired those Sherpa Guides that led the buses through the treacherous mountain passes in Bonshaw. Clearly, Mr. Ghiz and Mr. Vessey are correct to state that Plan B is needed because the present road causes these buses to strain too hard and blow up. Ten million tax dollars is worth saving our buses! Support Ghiz/Vessey - support Plan B! ee goats falling off the road, it's really the buses that

    September 24, 2012 - 15:17


  • SG
    September 24, 2012 - 13:24

    I am so Glad to hear no one was injured. How fortunate the Hockey Team had already been dropped off. We heard a large Bang like something blew up and we're quite a distance away from where this happened. The sky was red and then there were Heavy Black Clouds of Smoke.

  • House shook
    September 24, 2012 - 12:40

    Was watching TV last nite and it felt like someone had bumped into my house as there was a noise and shaky feeling. Muted the TV and then heard a huge bang and then the sirens. Couldn't figure out what was going on. Glad that no one was hurt.

  • Smelly
    September 24, 2012 - 09:42

    You could smell the tired from far away.