BATON ROUGE- Audio recordings obtained by the WBRZ Investigative Unit present a CATS bus driver notified dispatchers about issues on her bus one hour before it went up in flames however was informed to maintain driving.
The audio obtained via a public data request is between a CATS driver and dispatch on June 10, 2022 when bus 202 erupted in flames on the Mall of Louisiana.
The motive force notified CATS that the engine gentle was illuminated, a lot of different lights on the sprint had been lit, and the bus wouldn’t go above 15 miles per hour at 2:20 p.m.
“That is regular,” the dispatcher responded.
Almost 12 minutes go, and the motive force of bus 202 observed one other downside as she was headed to Girl’s Hospital.
“This bus, 202, I’ve actual dangerous fumes popping out again of the bus,” the motive force informed dispatch. “It is popping out dangerous. I am asking, ought to I’m going up right here with this bus like this?”
The dispatcher responded, “10-4, you may be polluting the air, nevertheless it will not hurt anyone.”
One hour after that communication, the bus was engulfed in flames on the Mall of Louisiana.
“202 on fireplace, attempting to place it out,” goes over the radio.
Anthony Garland is the Vice President of the Transit Union at CATS. He stated the motive force did precisely what she was purported to do, regardless of being given dangerous directions from dispatchers.
“In that occasion it’s very incorrect,” Garland stated. “That operator did what she was purported to do, and that bus ought to have been pulled over and brought out of service. Somebody from upkeep ought to have retrieved that car.”
Garland is asking for extra coaching for the dispatchers after logging almost 4 fires on CATS getting older buses up to now two years.
“If the autos are too outdated to be in service they must be changed,” Garland stated. “However, there must be accountability as to what’s going on in every of the incidents which have occurred so the general public can really feel secure on these autos.”
CATS launched the next assertion in response to our questions Monday.
“Security is our first precedence right here at CATS, and our CATS workforce is continually working to make sure that all essential insurance policies and procedures are in place to guard our riders, operators, and people with whom we share the highway.
Whereas the reason for the incident involving CATS Bus 202 stays below investigation, we are able to disclose that the fireplace didn’t originate within the engine. Our data point out that CATS Bus 202 was updated on all required preventive upkeep, and had not too long ago been serviced. Additional particulars can be offered as essential upon the completion of the investigation.”