Public hearing on bus safety due to bus fire that killed 23 fleeing Hurricane Rita
Last September in Texas, a bus carrying nursing home residents escaping from Hurricane Rita caught fire and burned, killing 23 passengers. On August 8 -9 in Washington, sparked into action by this tragedy, the National Transportation Safety Board will hold a public hearing on bus safety. During the hearing, accident investigators will reveal the first details of their nearly yearlong investigation into how flames from the bus’s right rear wheel spread to the passenger cabin, causing medical oxygen bottles to burst and killing more than half the patients onboard, many of them unable to walk. In addition to focusing on the fire’s cause, board members will discuss transporting people with special needs, bus evacuations, fire detection and suppression, and government oversight of bus companies and tour brokers. Investigators have said that poorly maintained wheel bearings led to a heat buildup that started the fire. Photographs from the scene showed that the bearings were so worn that some had fused together and others had broken off. The photos also appeared to show that some oxygen bottles used by patients were stored haphazardly.
Much as the Winecoff Hotel fire in Atlanta in 1946 led to nationwide improvement in fire safety regulations in hotels, perhaps this bus fire will lead to improved bus safety standards.
The Shigley Law Firm represents plaintiffs in wrongful death and catastrophic injury cases statewide in Georgia, and in other states subject to the multijurisdictional practice and pro hac vice rules in each state. Ken Shigley was designated as a "SuperLawyer" in Atlanta Magazine and one of the "Legal Elite" in Georgia Trend Magazine. He is a Certified Civil Trial Advocate of the National Board of Trial Advocacy, Chair of the Southeastern Motor Carrier Liability Institute and former chair of the Georgia Insurance Law Institute. He particularly focuses on cases arising from truck wrecks and accidents (tractor trailers truck wrecks, semi truck wrecks,18 wheeler truck wrecks, big rig truck wrecks, log truck wrecks, dump truck wrecks.