Brave city cleaners sweep in to put out bus blaze

The fire-damaged bus on Old Dalkeith Road
The fire-damaged bus on Old Dalkeith Road
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A STREET cleansing team has been praised for tackling a bus fire which broke out when its engine exploded.

Fifteen passengers had to evacuate the number 33 bus to Baberton after the blaze struck as they travelled along Old Dalkeith Road at around 10.20am yesterday.

But council workers, who spotted heavy smoke pouring from the rear of the bus, parked their truck in the middle of the road to prevent cars passing and used on-board water jets to fight the flames – confined mostly to the engine compartment – before fire crews arrived.

One resident, who lives nearby but did not want to be identified, said: “There was a loud bang and I’d thought there had been a car crash.

“My neighbour had been on the bus when the fire happened and said everyone had been led off it.

“When I came round there was a street cleaning vehicle which had been putting out the flames.

“Someone told me there had been quite a lot of flames coming from the back end of the bus.”

The heroic street cleaners earned a large cheer from passengers and local residents while taking on the blaze.

Councillor Robert Aldridge, the city’s environment leader praised the bravery of his innovative staff.

“Thanks to the quick-thinking and cool heads of our street cleansing staff, a potentially serious situation was averted.

“Very well done to the staff involved – they should be very proud of themselves for acting so quickly and responsibly and are a credit to Edinburgh.”

Firefighters from Tollcross and Liberton used breathing apparatus and two hose reels to finally extinguish the blaze.

Scorch marks could be seen on the double-decker before it was towed away by a Lothian Buses repair vehicle and back seats inside the lower deck had been torn away from their fittings.

Operations director for Lothian Buses, Bill Campbell, said: “A fire incident took place on a number 33 bus on Old Dalkeith Road.

“Nobody was injured as a result of the incident.

“A full investigation into the cause of the fire is under way.”

An ambulance spokeswoman said everyone on the bus at the time had managed to get off it safely and nobody was injured.

She added: “The driver managed to evacuate the bus and get everyone to safety.

“Two ambulances attended as a precaution because there were people on the bus, but nobody had to be removed from the scene.”

david.mccann@edinburghnews.com