Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation H-07-011
Details
Synopsis: On September 23, 2005, a 1998 Motor Coach Industries, Inc., 54-passenger motorcoach, operated by Global Limo Inc. (Global), of Pharr, Texas, was traveling northbound on Interstate 45 (I-45) near Wilmer, Texas.1 The motorcoach, en route from Bellaire to Dallas, Texas, as part of the evacuation in anticipation of Hurricane Rita, was carrying 44 assisted living facility residents and nursing staff. The trip had begun about 3:00 p.m. on September 22. Fifteen hours later, about 6:00 a.m. on the following day, a motorist noticed that the right-rear tire hub was glowing red and alerted the motorcoach driver, who stopped in the left traffic lane and then proceeded to the right shoulder of I-45 near milepost 269.5. The driver and nursing staff exited the motorcoach and observed flames emanating from the right-rear wheel well. As they initiated an evacuation of the motorcoach, with assistance from passersby, heavy smoke and fire quickly engulfed the entire vehicle. Twenty-three passengers were fatally injured. Of the 21 passengers who escaped, 2 were seriously injured and 19 received minor injuries; the motorcoach driver also received minor injuries.
Recommendation: TO MOTOR COACH INDUSTRIES, INC.: Until the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has developed a performance standard for enhanced fire protection of fuel systems in newly manufactured motorcoaches and included it in the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, as requested in Safety Recommendation H-07-4, use materials and designs for fuel system components that are known to provide fire protection for the system.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Highway
Location: Wilmer, TX, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: hwy05mh035
Accident Reports: Motorcoach Fire on Interstate 45 During Hurricane Rita Evacuation
Report #: HAR-07-01
Accident Date: 9/23/2005
Issue Date: 6/27/2007
Date Closed: 1/9/2018
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: Complete Coach Works (Closed--No Longer Applicable)
IC Corporation (Formerly American Transportation Corp.) (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Motor Coach Industries International, Inc. (Closed - Unacceptable Action - No Response Received)
Prevost Car, Inc. (now part of Volvo Group North America LLC) (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Setra of North America, Inc. (now part of Motor Coach Industries International, Inc.) (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Trident Industries, Inc. (Closed--No Longer Applicable)
Van Hool NV (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: Complete Coach Works
Date: 1/14/2008
Response: The Safety Board notes that Blue Bird has recently come under new ownership and is limiting its focus exclusively to school bus vehicles. The Board appreciates receiving the July 16, 2007, press release detailing the recent changes that have occurred at Blue Bird, as well as the references to the organizations that now have responsibility for motorcoach- and recreational-type vehicle manufacture. As this recommendation is specific to motorcoach construction and does not affect school bus construction, Safety Recommendation H-07-11 is classified CLOSED -- NO LONGER APPLICABLE. ( In January 14, 2008 letter to Complete Caoch Works) : In its July 26, 2007, response to the Safety Board, Blue Bird explained the recent changes in ownership and focus that it has undergone, resulting in the transfer of motorcoach products to North American Bus Industries, Inc. (NABI) and CCW. On August 23, 2007, Safety Board staff spoke with Mr. Dan Allen at NABI, who confirmed that all NABI motorcoach interests had subsequently been sold to CCW. The Board is interested in knowing whether and how its recommendations are implemented, both to ensure that the public is provided the highest level of safety and to identify creative solutions that might be shared with others. That is why we monitor the implementation of all our recommendations. We would appreciate receiving an update from you, as the new owner of Blue Bird’s motorcoach business segment, regarding actions taken or planned to implement these recommendations. Please refer to the recommendation by number in your response. A copy of the recommendation letter and Blue Bird’s correspondence are enclosed for your reference. The full report of the Wilmer, Texas, accident is available electronically on our Web site: www.ntsb.gov.

From: Complete Coach Works
To: NTSB
Date: 7/26/2007
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 7/26/2007 3:13:18 PM MC# 2070374: - From J. Stephen Clark, P.E., Director of Quality and Risk Management, School Bus Body: Blue Bird Body Company is in receipt of the June 27, 2007, letter from the National Transportation Safety Board regarding recommendations resulting from the investigation of the September 23, 2005, motor coach fire near Wilmer, Texas. Blue Bird has recently come under new ownership that has undertaken to reconcile the product lines that Blue Bird provides. The focus going forward will be exclusively limited to school bus vehicles. As such, the recommendation in reference H-07-11 does not apply to Blue Bird. Nonetheless, we have forwarded the aforementioned letter of June 27, 2007, to those organizations who now have responsibility for motor coach type product; to wit, North American Bus Industries of Anniston, Alabama, 106 National Drive, Anniston, AL 36207, attention Mr. Dan Allen. Also, Complete Coach Works of Riverside, California, is the new owner of the RV business segment. I have enclosed the press release to assist you in forwarding the letter to them, if that is required.

From: NTSB
To: Trident Industries, Inc.
Date: 1/9/2018
Response: From the Notation 57432: Trident Industries was dissolved as a business in December 2015. Therefore, the Safety Recommendation to this addressee is classified CLOSED—NO LONGER APPLICABLE.

From: NTSB
To: Trident Industries, Inc.
Date: 11/15/2013
Response: We are interested in knowing whether and how our recommendations are implemented, both to ensure that the traveling public is provided the highest level of safety and to identify creative solutions that might be shared with others. Therefore, please inform us about the status of actions to implement Safety Recommendation H-07-11.

From: NTSB
To: IC Corporation (Formerly American Transportation Corp.)
Date: 6/16/2011
Response: The NTSB understands that IC Bus uses fuel system materials and designs that meet existing Federal regulations, with the fuel line routed inside the steel frame rail, providing protection in the event of an accident. Additionally, the rear wheel well area is lined with a steel housing—a single, continuous piece with no access panels—providing a solid metal barrier between the wheels and the bus body. As the design and materials used to construct your fuel system provide the recommended fire protection to motorcoach passengers, Safety Recommendation H-07-11 is classified CLOSED –ACCEPTABLE ACTION.

From: IC Corporation (Formerly American Transportation Corp.)
To: NTSB
Date: 9/14/2007
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 9/25/2007 8:38:11 AM MC# 2070521: - From Michael Cancelliere, Vice President and General Manager, Bus Vehicle Center: IC Corporation, an affiliate of Navistar International Corp. and a leading manufacturer of school and commercial buses appreciates the opportunity to review and respond to NTSB Safety Recommendation H-07-11 regarding fire protection of fuel systems. IC Corporation has not manufactured any buses with tag axles like the Motor Coach Bus that was involved in this specific incident. We understand the importance of proper maintenance and inspection of vehicles once they are in service, as the probable cause of this accident was insufficient lubrication to the tag axle wheel bearing. The heat from the bearing area apparently ignited the tire. The fire appeared to have burned fuel lines that were in or around the wheel well area causing fuel to accelerate the fire. IC Corporation takes great care in designing vehicle fuel systems. All IC Buses are designed to meet FMCSR's 393.65 All Fuel Systems and 393.67 Liquid Fuel Tanks. These FMCSR's establish design and performance requirements for a vehicles fuel system including fuel fill, fuel lines and the fuel tank. The fuel lines are routed inside the steel frame rail to be in a protected area in the event of an accident. In addition, the rear wheel wells have a steel housing to assist in containing any flying debris or fire that may start in the wheel area. IC buses are designed with a vacuum draw fuel system in which the fuel pump draws the fuel from the fuel tank. In the event that the fuel supply line from the tank to the engine is breached, the engine will stall and fuel will not siphon from the tank. We noted as part of this investigation that the NTSB has recommended that NHTSA develop an FMVSS to provide enhanced fire protection of the fuel system of buses. We look forward to working with NHTSA when they initiate activity in this area.

From: NTSB
To: Setra of North America, Inc. (now part of Motor Coach Industries International, Inc.)
Date: 6/16/2011
Response: The NTSB understands that most of Setra’s fuel lines are made from fire-resistant materials and that the few lines without this protection are located near the front axle, concealed from exposure to the outside. These fuel lines are routed over the axle through a steel channel for protection; access covers along the channel are made of steel or fire-rated materials. As this design provides two fire-resistant barriers separating the fuel lines from exposure to any exterior fire, Setra’s action satisfies Safety Recommendation H-07-11, which is therefore classified CLOSED—ACCEPTABLE ACTION.

From: Setra of North America, Inc. (now part of Motor Coach Industries International, Inc.)
To: NTSB
Date: 10/4/2007
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 10/4/2007 9:23:29 AM MC# 2070552: - From Joe Labonte, Compliance and Safety Officer: This responds to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommendation to Setra North America (Setra) on the use of fire hardening materials for the fuel system on motor coaches. The recommendation is as result of the investigation into the Motor Coach Industries, Inc. bus fire near Wilmer, Texas on September 23rd, 2005. The NTSB request we respond on the Setra motorcoach design regarding the use of materials for fuel system components as it relates to providing protection from fire. The fuel tank on the Setra motorcoach is made from steel having a pressure relief system and rollover leak stop system. The tank, fill system and other tank components are for the most part shielded from direct exposure from the outside to fire. Fuel lines are made of fire resistant materials, mainly of steel and fire resistant hose in the engine compartment. There are two short fuel lines near the front axle which are not steel or fire resistant hose, however they are concealed from the outside from direct exposure to fire and are not located in the engine compartment. Fuel lines are routed over the axles through a steel channel as a means of protection from fire and road debris. Access channel way covers are made of steel or fire rated materials. This provides two fire resistant barriers between the fuel and exposure to an exterior fire. The NTSB recommends that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) develop performance standards for fire protection of the fuel system on motorcoaches. Setra further recommends that if the NHTSA develop these standards, they consider existing motorcoach design such as that manufactured for Setra. We appreciate this opportunity to describe fire hardening materials used for the fuel system on Setra motorcoaches.

From: NTSB
To: Prevost Car, Inc. (now part of Volvo Group North America LLC)
Date: 6/16/2011
Response: The NTSB understands that Prévost uses high-pressure steel-braid-covered fuel lines that are routed through a fire-retardant PVC conduit. We also understand that all Prévost motorcoaches are now manufactured with factory-installed engine fire suppression systems and tire temperature and pressure monitoring systems. As the design and materials used to construct your fuel system provide the recommended fire protection to motorcoach passengers, Safety Recommendation H-07-11 is classified CLOSED—ACCEPTABLE ACTION.

From: Prevost Car, Inc. (now part of Volvo Group North America LLC)
To: NTSB
Date: 9/20/2007
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 10/4/2007 9:28:07 AM MC# 2070553: - From Deny Bertrand, Eng., Regulatory Compliance Manager: First, in the name of Prevost Car, I would like to express my deepest regrets about the Wilmer fire tragedy which is the trigger for this NTSB recommendation. Victims and survivors have suffered so much and the whole industry really wishes it had never happened. Prevost Car is one of the two major North American coach manufacturers. It was founded in 1924 which makes it the oldest active one. This longevity is undoubtedly not just a coincidence. Although Prevost Car is proud of its safety record, it is always open to improvements as safety is very important to us. In that sense, Prevost Car participates among other things to NHTSA hearing on Motorcoaches Safety Improvements in 2002, NTSB recommendations H-99-7 and H-99-8 for Motorcoaches, CVSA workshops, Bus Industry Safety Council (BISC) activities and International Trucks & Bus Safety Symposium since several years. Bus fires are taken very seriously and each of them are recorded and analyzed. From all data gathered, we have taken action in order to not only address the cause of these fires but also to go further. However from our experience, the fuel system has never been a significant factor in any bus fire. Unlike smaller vehicles, the fuel system of our coaches is much more protected in case of accident and we are not aware of any situation where a fire has started from fuel spillage after a collision. In fact, it is not uncommon that the fuel tank is intact even after a fire the will destroy the vehicle completely. More specifically about your H07-11 recommendation and what we have done or intend to do, our answer is this. Our fuel system is made of excellent quality fuel hoses from the main tank to the engine. No thermoplastic is used in any section of the circuit. The hoses are then inserted into a conduit which offers a primary protection, including fires. This conduit is made of PVC that has some fire retardation properties. It is also installed in a location where the air circulation is at minimum so it will resist longer. The PVC conduit and hoses are exposed only in the wheel well and of course in the engine compartment. The wheel well is isolated from the luggage bay by a non combustible partition. We believe that this installation is effective and will not contribute to feed a fire before the fire has spread out to the whole vehicle. From all the fires we have recorded, we determined that prevention, detection and suppression had to be addressed and actions have been taken in all of those. We also concluded that the worse cases were tire fires. These fires are normally undetected until it is very late and they will engulf the whole vehicle as soon as the driver stops. The amount of heat and temperature generated by a tire fire is so great that anything in vicinity that may melt or burn will in a matter of minutes. In reference to your recommendation H-07-8, we would like to point out that if too many passengers have limited ability to evacuate, extraordinary procedure must be put in place to avoid situation like Wilmer. Prevost Car is presently working precisely to avoid these worse cases and strongly believe that making sure that a tire will never catch fire is the best solution of all. By doing this, I can say that most of the recommendations where Prevost Car could take action that the NTSB have issued from this tragedy, have been addressed already or will be in a near future. I trust that these comments respond the present recommendation positively. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

From: NTSB
To: Motor Coach Industries International, Inc.
Date: 7/29/2014
Response: In the 7 years since we issued these recommendations, you have not responded to us regarding them, despite our repeated requests for information. Since we have received no information regarding any actions you have taken to address Safety Recommendations H-07-9 through -11, they are classified CLOSED—UNACCEPTABLE ACTION/ NO RESPONSE RECEIVED. If you have taken the recommended actions, please contact us; if we receive such information soon, we will consider reclassifying these safety recommendations.

From: NTSB
To: Motor Coach Industries International, Inc.
Date: 10/30/2013
Response: We are interested in knowing whether and how our recommendations are implemented, both to ensure that the traveling public is provided the highest level of safety and to identify creative solutions that might be shared with others. Therefore, please inform us about the status of actions to implement Safety Recommendations H-01-12 and -13 and H-07-9 through -11.

From: NTSB
To: Van Hool NV
Date: 1/6/2017
Response: In previous correspondence, you indicated that you were investigating methods to improve the fire-retardant aspects of newly manufactured motorcoaches. We are pleased to note that your research determined the importance of prevention, detection, and suppression, leading you to install tire pressure monitoring and engine fire detection and suppression systems as standard equipment on all new Van Hool motorcoaches. In addition, we note that you use fuel system materials and designs that provide multiple layers of fire resistance and ensure that fuel will neither leak into the occupant compartment nor contact the exhaust or electrical systems. Because the design and materials used to construct your fuel system provide motorcoach passengers with the recommended fire protection, Safety Recommendation H-07-11 is classified CLOSED--ACCEPTABLE ACTION.

From: Van Hool NV
To: NTSB
Date: 5/23/2014
Response: -From Hugo De Roo, Area Export Manager and Filip Van Hool, Chief Executive Officer: We refer to your letter dd. December 31, 2013 regarding the NTSB Safety recommendations H-0 1-12 & -13 and H-07-11; our letter no. 14/009 dd. January 27, 2014; our letter no. 14/086 dd. March 27, 2014. With reference to H-07-11 we comment as follows . On new Van Hool motorcoaches the fuel system consists of a fuel tank(s) with filler hole and fuel lines from the main tank to the engine. The tank, fill system and other tank components are shielded from direct exposure to the outside and no part extends beyond the vehicle. The fuel tank is made of corrosion-resistant material, a special aluminum alloy. The tank(s) is not situated in, nor forms a surface of the occupant compartment or other compartment integral with it. A tank below the occupant compartment is placed in a stainless steelplate trunk under the plywood floorboard. The trunk contains apertures to accommodate cables and fuel lines which are so arranged that fuel cannot flow freely from the tank(s) into the occupant compa1tment or other compartment integral with it during normal conditions of use. The float can be accessed by a secured panel in the occupant compa1tment. Every tank is securely fixed to ensure that any fuel leaking from the tank or its accessories will escape to the ground and not into the occupant compartment during normal conditions of use. Tanks are installed behind the front axle for protection from the consequences of an impact to the front or the rear of the vehicle; there are no protruding parts, sharp edges, etc. near the tank. The fill pipe opening is not situated in the occupant compartment, nor in the luggage or engine compartment(s). The tank cap is fixed to the fill pipe: the seal is securely retained in place, the cap is securely latched in place against the seal and fill pipe when closed. Any fuel which may leak when the tank(s) is (are) being filled will be channeled to the ground and will not contact any part of the exhaust nor electrical systems of the vehicle. The fuel will not escape through the tank cap or through the provided vent and/or safety valve(s) during the foreseeable course of operation of the vehicle. The tank has a rollover leak stop system that allows a drip of maximum 30 g/min in the case of ove11urning of the vehicle (90°). Any excess pressure or any pressure exceeding the working pressure will be compensated automatically by a vent and a safety valve, one or two depending on the volume. The vent and safety valve are designed in such a way as to prevent any fire risk (Emco Wheaton Posillock). The fuel tank is equipped with a solenoid shut-off valve for the suction fuel line which will close off the fuel line when the ignition is switched off or when the central emergency switch on the dashboard is activated in case of a fire, in order to prevent the fire from feeding by excess fuel. The fuel tank is equipped with a check (non-return) valve in the return fuel line. The fuel suction and return lines between tank and drive axle are made of common practice thermoplastic material (PA 11) and are in white for the suction line and in black for the return line. The bends in the fuel lines to the tank are covered with heat resistant sleeves (Solar EPDM Kaimann) to keep them flexible. Between the drive axle and engine the fuel lines are made of aramid reinforced HNBR rubber with polyester-braided cover (Eaton GH 1 00) and are connected to the engine by SAE J30R9 certified fuel injection hoses in the engine compartment. If the shutoff valve is not on the fuel tank, the fuel lines from tank to valve are made of steel. Also the fuel lines from the connections in the chassis to the auxiliary heater are made of steel. Fuel lines do not extend below the fuel tank. They are long enough and flexible enough to accommodate normal movements of the parts to which they are attached without incurring damage and they are secured against chafing, kinking or other causes of mechanical damage. The fuel lines between tank and drive axle are located in the centerline trench beneath the passenger cabin floor of the vehicle and secured by PA-clamps (STAUFF) to the chassis. Between drive axle and engine compartment the fuel lines are secured by PVC-clamps to the chassis. We determined that prevention, detection and suppression are paramount in any case and therefore the new Van Hoot motorcoaches come standard with a tire pressure monitoring system (Smartire) and an engine fire detection and suppression system (Kidde).

From: Van Hool NV
To: NTSB
Date: 3/27/2014
Response: -From Hugo De Roo, Area Export Manager and Filip Van Hool, Chief Executive Officer: We refer to your letter dd. December 31 ,' 13 regarding the NTSB Safety recommendations H-0 l-12 & -13 and H-07-11 our letter no. 14/009 dd. January 27, 2014. Since the time that the NTSB safety recommendations were issued in 200 I, much has changed in the motorcoach transportation industry with respect to safety features. Once optional safety features are now standard in the Van Hool coaches, such as 3-Point Seat Belt Passenger Seats (FMVSS), 3-Point Seat Belt Driver Seat, Antilock Braking System (ABS), Automatic Traction Control (A TC), Daytime Running Lights, Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Kidde Fire Suppression System, SmartWaveTM Tire Pressure Monitoring System, Bendix Lane Departure Warning System, Static Aiming Light System, Backup Camera with In-Dash Display and Two Transpec Roof Hatches. Also our single deck coaches are roll-over R-66 compliant. Until now however, the Meritor Wabco OnGuard system which includes adaptive cruise control (ACC) and collision warning system (CWS) technology to alert drivers to traffic ahead, could not be introduced in Van Hool coaches because it is incompatible with the ABS for motorcoaches. Van Hool and ABC Companies support the NTSB recommendations for the prevention of rear end collisions, but were limited by the availability of these technologies from our suppliers. The good news is that the ACC and CWS are scheduled to become available by September' 14 for motorcoaches which have ESC: Van Hool is now refining and testing these systems under all known operating conditions. And the efforts are ongoing with the release of the Meritor Wabco OnGuardPlus system by the end of 2014 for motorcoaches with the next generation of ABS-ESC installed, which will include a Collision Mitigation System (CMS). With the progression of these still fairly new features from optional add-ons to standard items, customers have had a number of years to learn about and become comfortable with these new features, also in their own private environment. For the motorcoach, they are assisted by a complete operational orientation, which is conducted with the customer's representative at the time of each new coach delivery at ABC Companies, the exclusive distributor of Van Hool coaches. This orientation familiarizes the representative with the features of the coach such as possible repositioning of gauges and overview of all safety features including where they are located and how to operate them. At this orientation the representative is also presented with manuals, instructional information and documentation [as shown on the attached Receipt of Documents and Manuals form]. Customers have also been able to gain information on features of Van Hool coaches through online training resources such as "Grab-n-go" webcasts covering various topics related to coaches, online access to quick reference tech tips and immediate access to operator's and maintenance manuals online. ABC Companies also offers every year a series of free four-day training workshops for motor coach technicians throughout the U.S. Now that ACC and CWS will become available on motorcoaches, Van Hool and ABC Companies will continue their efforts to educate and train the commercial operators in these technological solutions for the prevention of rear-end collisions. Our comments w.r.t. H-07- 11 will be addressed in a separate letter. Should you need any further information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

From: Van Hool NV
To: NTSB
Date: 1/27/2014
Response: -From Hugo De Roo, Area Export Manager and Filip Van Hool, Chief Executive Officer: We refer to your letter dated December 31, '13 regarding the NTSB Safety recommendations H -01-12 &-13 and H-07-11 Through this letter we would like to confirm the receipt of the aforementioned letter, which we received on January 16, '14. Moreover, we would like to inform you that we will make every effort to respond within the 90 days' timeframe as indicated. We trust this meets your requirements and will inform you as soon as possible.

From: NTSB
To: Van Hool NV
Date: 12/30/2013
Response: We last received a letter regarding this recommendation from Van Hool, on behalf of ABC Companies Inc., in December 2007. At that time, Van Hool was investigating methods to improve the fire-retardant aspects of newly manufactured motorcoaches. On April 23, 2008, Safety Recommendation H-07-11 was classified OPEN—ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE pending completion of Van Hool’s research and implementation of improved fire protection for motorcoach fuel systems. We are interested in knowing whether and how our recommendations are implemented, both to ensure that the traveling public is provided the highest level of safety and to identify creative solutions that might be shared with others. Therefore, please inform us about the status of Van Hool’s actions to implement Safety Recommendations H-01-12 and -13, and H-07-11.

From: NTSB
To: Van Hool NV
Date: 4/23/2008
Response: The Safety Board is pleased to note that the Van Hool Engineering Department and its materials suppliers are currently investigating methods to improve the fire-retardant aspects, including those for fuel system components, of newly manufactured motorcoaches. The Board would appreciate receiving a copy of the results when the report is finalized. We look forward to learning about the actions Van Hool plans to take to improve the safety of the materials and design used for fuel system components. Accordingly, Safety Recommendation H-07-11 is classified OPEN -- ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE, pending completion of Van Hool’s research and implementation of improved fire protection for motorcoach fuel systems.

From: Van Hool NV
To: NTSB
Date: 12/21/2007
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 1/2/2008 11:48:10 AM MC# 2070777: - From Wilfried Geens, Engineering Department, Compliance and Regulations, Heli Boterdaele, Engineering Department, Research and Development, and Leopold Van Hool, Managing Director: We refer to your above referenced letter dated June 27, 2007, and our reply WG52.138 dated September 20, 2007. We regret not to be able to send you our final résumé of our investigation regarding the use of materials and designs for fuel system components that are known to provide fire protection, within the timeframe as per our letter dated September 20, 2007. We apologize for this inconvenience. We are not ready to draw final conclusions about our research to find fuel line materials more appropriate than those we use as common practice materials and which are covered by a specific fuel line material standard. We certainly will continue our dialogue with the relevant suppliers and, as already decided before, increase our efforts on safe routing and fire protection of the fuel supply and return lines. For such a fuel system change, we need in-depth consultation and agreement with Production before taking a final decision. Unfortunately this takes more time than expected and promised. We will try to finalize our investigation before the end of March 2008. Understanding the need for being in line with your recommendation, we hope again this delay will not adversely affect the issue. At the last day before our Christmas Holidays, we sincerely wish you a Merry Christmas and a prosperous, healthy and safe 2008.

From: Van Hool NV
To: NTSB
Date: 9/20/2007
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 9/27/2007 11:30:17 AM MC# 2070539: - From Wilfried Geens, Engineering Department, Compliance and Regulations, Heli Boterdaele, Engineering Department, Research and Development, and Leopold Van Hool, Managing Director: We refer to the above referenced letter dated June 27, 2007, which was addressed to our US Distributor ABC Companies Inc., recommending the use of materials and designs for fuel system components that are known to provide fire protection. In reply to your request, Van Hool confirms that on US destined motor coaches thermoplastic fuel lines are used from the tank to the engine and vice versa, known as common practice materials for automotive applications. These fuel supply and return lines are located in the upper centre part of the vehicle, secured to the chassis by rubber lined clamps and connected to the engine by means of SAE J30R9 certified fuel injection hoses. Where appropriate, lines are covered with heat-resistant sleeves. The Van Hool Engineering Department together with their material suppliers are currently conducting an investigation on how to improve the fire-retardant aspects of newly manufactured motor coaches. This includes fuel system components in addition to the welded galvanized or stainless steel plates under the plywood floor boards that are already fitted. Meanwhile, all factory installed materials used in the interior of Van Hool motor coaches such as fabric, carpet, floor covering, curtains, side/ceiling trim, polyester mouldings, driver’s seat, Van Hool manufactured passenger and guide seats are compliant to FMVSS 302. Most of those materials also comply with European Directive 95/28/CE, which has similar regulations for horizontal burning rate of the material, but establishes additional requirements for vertical burning rate and melting behaviour for materials used for the interior lining of the walls and the roof. Van Hool will keep you informed of the progress made during this investigation and will attempt to put forward a final résumé before the end of the year. We sincerely hope this short delay will not adversely affect the issue at hand. Van Hool supports your efforts to prevent accidents and consequently save lives, and will do their utmost to be of assistance to you.