Report on bus fire in Bærum in Akershus county, 25 January 2016

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Description

On 25 January 2016 at approximately 02:40, four hybrid busses from Nettbuss, parked in a parking space in Furuveien 8 in Bekkestua in Bærum municipality, caught fire. The fire started in one of the buses and spread to another three of the buses. No personnel was injured in the fire.

The investigation showed that the fire started in the 230 V electrical equipment installed in the bus, when coupled to an external power source during charging. This equipment amounted for a marginalized construction, not installed in compliance with the suppliers guidelines, and had no declaration of conformity.

A declaration of conformity was not submitted by the vehicle producer, or asked for by the regulators, even though there is a claim in the regulations to produce it.

The AIBN sees potential in improving the safety for vehicles coupled to an external power source by coordinating the regulations for approval of vehicles by the authorities.

The busses were situated in a 230 V charging area overnight, and the busses were attached to an external 230 V power supply, which served the bus compartment heating system, the diesel engine’s water heater, battery charger, and a heating cable for the lithium-ion batteries.

The investigation revealed that corrosion, heat development, creeping and arcing contributed to start the fire in the T-connector behind the 309-connector placed in the front of the bus. The wear and lubrication of the connector suggests that the safety monitoring of this equipment was deficient from the bus owner and user side. The wiring, couplings and connectors overall amounted for a marginalized construction. In addition, it came clear that the T-connector was not installed in compliance with the supplier’s guidelines, and placed in a corrosive environment.

During the bus approval in Norway, the producer of the bus showed no declaration of conformity of this equipment, even though there is a claim to produce it. The regulator did not ask for such a declaration upon approval, because it is considered as a plug-system that does not need approval or control.

Safety recommendation

Safety recommendation ROAD No 2016/17T

The investigation of the fire in the busses at Furubakken in Bekkestua on 25 January 2016 has uncovered that the bus electrical 230 V installation with safeguards, couplings and DEFA-wiring was not adequately customized to the consumers installed power output of 3900 watts. Combined with faulty installation it caught fire during charging. The declaration of conformity that documents the installation was not shown to the authorities. Even though no governmental authority asked for this declaration, it represents a safeguarding process to accommodate and ensure the installation is within the regulations.

The Accident Investigation Board Norway recommends that the Volvo Bus Corporation improve its routines considering the mounting of equipment subject to the electrical regulations and documents that the safety regulations are fulfilled through a declaration of conformity.

Safety recommendation ROAD No 2016/18T

The investigation of the fire in the busses at Furubakken in Bekkestua on 25 January 2016 has uncovered that The Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection (DSB) considers that it is no need for special supervision of the 230 V equipment as a plug-system in vehicles subjected in this investigation. This even though the installation demands a declaration of conformity through the Norwegian electric regulations. The vehicle type approval regulations does not demand a control of the electrical installation or a declaration of conformity in vehicles, and does not cover this issue in a sufficient way.

The Accident Investigation Board Norway recommends that the Norwegian Public Roads Administration and The Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection (DSB) coordinate and improves the approval and control of the external electrical systems in vehicles.

Location
Furubakken, Bekkestua in Bærum municipality
Occurrence date
25.01.2016
Accident type
Fire in vehicle
County
Akershus
Police Disctrict
Asker og Bærum
Vehicle type
Bus or coach
Type of Transportation
Passenger transport
Road region
Eastern Region
Accident category
Ulykke med buss
Skriv ut
Reports same county
Reports same vehicle type