ITHACA, N.Y. — TCAT bus passengers were delayed Monday morning after a fire broke out while it was driving through Collegetown.

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The incident happened around 6 a.m. on bus route 30 near the intersection of Mitchell Street and College Avenue, a Tompkins County 911 dispatcher said.

The fire apparently started after a hydraulic hose leaked onto an exhaust system, said Patty Poist, communications and marketing manager for TCAT.

The bus was being driven by Jonathan Freund who evacuated nine uninjured passengers off the bus, she said.

“We applaud Jonathan ‘s quick professional and careful reaction in getting passengers safely off the bus,” Poist said.

(Screenshot taken from Yik Yak)

“He spotted fire coming from the outside of the bus in the engine compartment.”

Freund then set off a fire suppression system which sprayed fire extinguishing chemicals into the engine.

The Ithaca Fire Department and TCAT Transportation Supervisor Stuart Douglas were called to the scene and a new bus was dispatched to the area, delaying passengers for no more than half an hour.

Poist said all required agencies were informed of the fire and a representative from the office of the Public Safety Transportation Board is in Ithaca to ensure there were no other major issues with the bus or the way the situation was handled — a standard precaution.

She said bus fires have happened on TCAT buses in the past but that they are “very rare.”

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Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.