Volume 95, Issue 26

Thursday, October 18, 2001
Search the Archives:
Tips for searching
Campus and Culture
Submit Letter
Contact Us
About the Gazette


Protest chaos headed for London?

The world at war

Drag queens tuck, strut with pride

Flaming tires plague LTC buses

Sher talks Truscott travesty

Gay clubs on campus to represent

News Briefs

Flaming tires plague LTC buses

By Erin Conway-Smith
Gazette Staff

The wheels on London city buses may go 'round and 'round, but lately they have also been causing a whole lot of smoke and fire around Western.

In the past two weeks, the London Fire Department has responded to two reports of smoke coming from the rear of London Transit Commission buses located on the Western campus, confirmed Deb McKutcheon, supervisor of communications for the LFD.

In an Oct. 2 incident, fire fighters used water to cool down the tire and rim areas of a smoking wheel, McKutcheon said.

On Oct. 15, fire fighters responded to the report of a bus with a wheel on fire.

"When [the LFD] arrived, there was light smoke coming from the rear wheel – and the smell of brakes overheating," she said. LTC mechanics were brought in to deal with the situation.

David Anderson, director of plant and equipment for the London Transit Commission, said there have been six incidents so far this year of bus wheels overheating, causing smoke and, in some instances, fires.

Anderson said the smoke and fire is caused by grease seals leaking onto the overheated brake drum of wheels.

"With heat generated by the brake, from time to time this will ignite the grease," he said. "Wheels generate a lot of heat from constant braking."

"It's not just a case of where you see smoke, you see fire," he said, adding the incidents are not dangerous.

The smell of burning grease alerts bus drivers, giving them time to react before the smoke becomes a problem, he said.

In the case of a fire, the bus would be evacuated and the fire department called, Anderson said.

"We just want [bus drivers] to look after passengers."

LTC buses undergo different levels of inspection on a daily, monthly and bi-annual basis, he said.

"We shouldn't have any [wheel incidents] – but it's going to happen at least once a year."

Third-year honours political science student Larissa Wasyliw said she witnessed the incident on Oct. 15 in front of Alumni Hall.

Police officers and fire fighters were gathered around the rear wheel of the bus, she said.

"It's somewhat alarming that this could happen," she said.

To Contact The News Department:

Copyright The Gazette 2001