Bakersfield, Calif.’s Fire Department were dispatched to Golden Empire Transit’s (GET) bus facility to respond to reports of a fire on the property. A section of Golden State Hwy. was closed as firefighters battled the blaze. A portion of the new hydrogen fueling station and a hydrogen fuel cell bus were engulfed in flames.
“It is too early to speculate what happened and the Bakersfield Fire Department is conducting an investigation,” said Karen King, CEO at GET.
Explosions were heard and seen from the tanks on the bus that had just been filled, but the primary tanks of the actual fueling station did not ignite due to safety technology.
The Move to ZEBs
Golden Empire Transit is transitioning to Zero Emission Fuel pursuant to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) requirement that 100% of new public transportation vehicles in California be zero-emission by 2040.
For this reason, GET started the transition and has purchased 10 hydrogen buses and has the first hydrogen fueling station in Kern County. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the transportation sector account for about 27% percent of total emissions in the U.S., making it the largest contributor to air pollution, according to CARB.
GET officials said the situation could have been worse but with the functioning safety mechanisms in place and the swift action of the Bakersfield Fire Department minimized damage and no injuries were reported.