San Jose bus fire 2nd in less than 2 years for tour bus company

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- There were no injuries reported after a charter bus caught on fire in San Jose Tuesday night, but ABC7 News has uncovered safety violations.

The company is not commenting about what those safety violations are on camera.

CHP is investigating the bus fire as an accident rather than an incident investigation.

It was a fast thinking driver who pulled the Medina Tours & Charters bus off to the side of the road after the engine caught fire.

"Fortunately the driver caught it in time and was able to get everybody off safely," a CHP officer said.

All 16 passengers, and the driver was going from San Jose to Milpitas, then on to Graton Resort and Casino according to a casino spokesperson.

People on Highway 101 and Northbound I-880 snapped pictures of the flames just before 10 p.m. Tuesday night.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the San Jose-based company has a conditional safety rating, meaning it is out of compliance with one or more safety requirements.

Out of 37 vehicle inspections over the last two years, 10 vehicles were placed out of service for violations.

That's 6.6 percent higher than the national average. The most severe violation was worn down tires.

The driver of the 2002 Van Hool Coach that caught fire Tuesday night attempted to put the flames out.

"With his fire extinguisher which he's required to carry and he had but he wasn't able to extinguish the fire," CHP Ofc. Tom Bowen said.

Safety records also show the company had no fire extinguisher or one that was discharged or unsecured during three recent inspections. This past June and November and January of 2015.

This is the second bus fire for the company in the last year and a half.

CHP confirms this 1998 Van Hool Coach caught fire on Highway 101 in Redwood City in March of 2015.

The bus from Tuesday night's fire was still dripping with water as a tow truck arrived to pick it up with passengers already on their way to the casino on another bus.
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