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 advised 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, numerous different lights on the sprint have been lit, and the bus wouldn’t go above 15 miles per hour at 2:20 p.m.
“That is regular,” the dispatcher responded.
Practically 12 minutes cross, and the motive force of bus 202 seen one other downside as she was headed to Lady’s Hospital.
“This bus, 202, I’ve actual unhealthy fumes popping out again of the bus,” the motive force advised dispatch. “It is popping out unhealthy. I am asking, ought to I’m going up right here with this bus like this?”
The dispatcher responded, “10-4, you is likely to be polluting the air, however it will not hurt anyone.”
One hour after that communication, the bus was engulfed in flames on the Mall of Louisiana.
“202 on hearth, making an attempt 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 unhealthy 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 looking for extra coaching for the dispatchers after logging practically 4 fires on CATS getting older buses previously two years.
“If the autos are too previous 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 protected 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 staff is continually working to make sure that all obligatory insurance policies and procedures are in place to guard our riders, operators, and people with whom we share the street.
Whereas the reason for the incident involving CATS Bus 202 stays beneath investigation, we will 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 lately been serviced. Additional particulars will likely be supplied as obligatory upon the completion of the investigation.”