Brake System Failure Caused Nonthaburi Bus Fire, BMTA Confirms

A fire on a Nonthaburi’s route 522 bus that left a woman injured was caused by a failure in the vehicle’s brake system, the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) said.

The BMTA revealed the details on Tuesday, after inspecting the air-conditioned bus that was destroyed by the fire, explaining that a system failure caused the brakes on the right rear wheel to stick and overheat.

Bus maintenance and repair company Cho Thavee Plc said the brake discs, usually replaced every 60,000 kilometers, had rusted and caused the brake system to stick due to exposure to water, as many areas were flooded during Thailand’s rainy season.

Authorities asked Cho Thavee to inspect engine systems and accessories, the electrical system and the brake system with more frequency before the rains begin to prevent similar accidents from reoccurring.

The bus operated on the Rangsit-Victory Monument route and ran on compressed natural gas, also known as CNG. It caught fire in front of the Pantip Plaza shopping mall on Ngam Wong Wan Road during a drive to the Phong Phet intersection in Muang district, Nonthaburi province, at around 8:30 p.m. Monday.

The vehicle’s driver, Amnart Wanyusob, said he heard a loud bang near the right rear wheel as he approached the bus stop near Pantip Plaza and asked passengers to leave the vehicle as soon as he realized a fire had started.

Mr. Amnart tried to put out the flames with a fire extinguisher, but the blaze continued spreading and engulfed the bus. There were about 30 people on the bus at the time, driver Natcha Phannut said.

Passengers fled as flames erupted, but a woman suffered burns to her left arm. According to a report from authorities, the injured passenger was rushed to the Paolo Hospital.

Firefighters brought the fire under control after 30 minutes, but the bus was already destroyed. They found nine natural gas fuel tanks on the vehicle’s roof.

The fire also reached and damaged some 50 meters of adjacent electrical and communication cables, police and firefighters reported.