Downtown fire: Wilson's transportation bus burns on Blanshard

Fire broke out on a small Wilson's Charter bus downtown during the morning commute today, at about 8:20.

At one point, the 20-passenger mini-coach was fully engulfed in flames, sending a column of thick black smoke high above the city.

Victoria Acting Fire Chief Mike Bourne says when crews arrived flames were shooting up to 2 metres above the roof of the vehicle and throwing a lot of smoke. Bourne says the fire was put out with environmentally-friendly foam which prevents fuel spread and keeps the flames down.  The bus was totally destroyed within minutes and is being examined to determine the cause.

John Wilson, president and owner of Wilson’s Transportation, tells CFAX the driver smelled smoke as the vehicle was stopped at a red light at Blanshard and Fort:

" The bus was stopped at a red light on Blanshard Street, and smoke started inside the bus. The driver was alone, there was no load on board, nobody on board. And he vacated the bus. And he tried to find where the smoke was coming from but unfortunately was unable to do that in a safe manner and left the bus." 

Wilson says the driver, a senior employee, indicated the smoke seemed to be coming from the back of the 10 to 12 year old bus.

Victoria Police closed down the intersection as fire crews deal with the situation, which snarled morning traffic downtown. The route was totally re-opened to traffic by 10:00am.

Wilson is relieved no one was hurt, and is apologizing for the inconvenience to commuters this morning. 

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