Old video of London bus garage blaze shared as recent

By: Rajeswari Parasa
June 14 2023

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Old video of London bus garage blaze shared as recent


The Verdict False

An old video from May 2022 is being circulated as a recent fire involving electric buses in London.

Claim ID 18f8546d


A video of electric buses being engulfed in flames and smoke is being circulated on Instagram with the claim that local government body Transport for London recalled 90 electric buses after one caught fire. The reel was posted on Sunday, June 11, and garnered more than 27.9k views at the time of writing this fact-check.

The caption of the reel states, “Transport for London has recalled 90 electric buses after a fire involved one of them on Sunday. The precautionary measure has been decided while the company investigates causes of the blaze at Potters Bar depot in Hertfordshire, run by Metroline. Six buses were damaged. Due to the suspension of the e-bus fleet, disruption will involve around five routes.” The creator added an unquoted text as an opinion: “Renewables are neither good for the economy or the environment.”

However, this claim is false.

In Fact

Our research found that the fire accident video is about a 2022 incident. A keyword search of electric buses on fire in England led us to the same video shared on Twitter a year ago, on May 22 last year by James Rossi, who describes himself as a member of a bus driver union under the Labour Party. The tweet read: “An electric bus exploded at potters bar bus garage setting fire to 5 or more buses.”

Further research about the incident led us to news reports published in May 2022. The caption in the viral reel has been taken verbatim from an article published back then on the website called Sustainable Bus. The article stated that Transport for London recalled 90 double-decker e-buses after the fire. The Express UK and the Evening Standard also published reports about this incident. 

We also searched for videos of fire accidents involving electric buses in London on YouTube, which led us to another video of the fire from a different angle. This was posted on The Sun's YouTube Channel on the day of the accident. This shows that the video is over a year old and is not recent. 

According to a report in the BBC, in May 2022, Deputy Chief Fire Officer Aindy Hopcraft said that at least six buses were involved in the accident, and four diesel-powered and two electric hybrid buses were affected. The report adds that all the personnel were successfully evacuated and there were no injuries, and ​​a joint investigation by the police and fire officials was launched into the incident.

While the cause of the 2022 incident is not yet known, some isolated incidents related to electronic vehicles (EV) are being used to spread misinformation by climat change deniers. Social media posts often claim that EVs are more destructive to the environment than gas vehicles. However, the U.K. government as well as the United States Environmental Protection Agency have both debunked such myths and have established that greenhouse gas emissions from with an electric vehicle over its lifetime are “typically lower” than those from an average gas-powered vehicle, including manufacturing. Additionally, EVs are also getting cleaner over time, as electricity generation moves away from typical carbon sources.

Here's a Logically Facts article on the green credentials of EVs.

Lithium batteries that are used in EVs are generally safe if designed and manufactured properly, as per protocol, and in safe conditions. According to the United States’ Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), while lithium batteries are “normally safe”, they “may cause injury if they have design defects, are made of low quality materials, are assembled incorrectly, are used or recharged improperly, or are damaged.

The Verdict

An old video of electric buses catching fire in May 2022 has been shared with the claim that it shows a recent blaze at the Potters Bar bus garage in London. Therefore, we are marking this claim as false.

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

We rely on information to make meaningful decisions that affect our lives, but the nature of the internet means that misinformation reaches more people faster than ever before