CNG fuels spectacular bus fire in Italy

·1 min read

The constant churn of shock-value internet clips has spit out yet another Spectacular Burning Vehicle™ clip, this time featuring a city bus geysering massive columns of fire in multiple directions. While most viral vehicular immolations these days are fueled by lithium-ion batteries, this bus near Perugia, Italy, is (well, was) powered by a good, old-fashioned internal combustion engine, albeit one that burns compressed natural gas — like your farm boy neighbor's Super Duty (or last-gen Ford F-150).

According to, nobody was injured when the bus caught fire while being driven on provincial road 344 by a company mechanic, who was able to escape before the flames got out of control. The fire spread to adjacent woods but was controlled and eventually extinguished by Perugia's fire brigade. CNG bus fires aren't particularly commonplace, but when they happen, boy howdy do they happen.

The thing is, spewing a massive column of fire isn't a bug, but a feature. The Autopian explains that the flames are following columns of natural gas that are deliberately being vented away from the burning bus, keeping as much of that fuel away from the inferno as possible and buying passengers time to escape.

This incident where a bus struck an urban tunnel in Stockholm, Sweden, in 2019 shows what can happen when there's limited clearance for those flame jets (hence the multitude of warning signs ignored by the driver); only the driver was injured in the incident:

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