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Mechanical problem caused BoltBus fire, officials say

A bus was seen in flames on the Mass. Pike Monday afternoon.Richard Stand

A mechanical problem caused the fire that destroyed a BoltBus traveling on the Massachusetts Turnpike in Newton Monday afternoon, authorities said.

The fire began in the bus’s engine, and a buildup of hot gasses inside the burning bus led to an explosion that blew out the vehicle’s windows, State Police spokesman Dave Procopio said Tuesday in a statement.

“The investigation determined that no passengers were carrying any hazardous material that could have contributed to the explosion,” he said.

The driver and 47 passengers got off the bus just minutes before it caught fire at about 5 p.m. Monday, according to a statement from Dallas-based Greyhound Lines Inc., which owns BoltBus.

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“Once the driver noticed smoke, the driver safely pulled over, evacuated the bus and called local authorities,” Greyhound said. “All 47 customers on board were unharmed and were able to retrieve all their belongings. A relief bus arrived at approximately 6 p.m. on Monday and customers were transported safely to their destinations.”

The bus, which left New York at 11 a.m. for Boston, made an unscheduled stop at a rest area in Southington, Conn., Greyhound spokeswoman Lanesha Gipson said in a telephone interview. She said the cause of the stop was under investigation and no other stops were made.

Procopio said it was a maintenance stop.

The bus driver, a 47-year-old woman from Newark, N.J., is not being charged at this time. Because of the interstate route of travel, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will investigate whether the vehicle was in violation of any federal motor carrier laws, Procopio said.

Greyhound said, “We are fully cooperating with local authorities and the local fire department on their investigation and conducting an investigation of our own.”

Watch video of the fire:

#BREAKING: A bus has caught fire on the Massachusetts Turnpike. Here's what we know ---> http://trib.al/7bUMaKo

Posted by NECN on Monday, May 11, 2015

Aneri Pattani can be reached at aneri.pattani@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @apattani95.

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