On Tuesday, July 30, 2019, at approximately 4:46 p.m., a bus en route to Hycroft Mine caught fire and was destroyed shortly after passengers were evacuated due to safety concerns noticed by the driver of the bus.
The bus, owned by Nevada Busing LLC., was one of two in a caravan transporting Hycroft Resources & Development employees to the mine site when Nevada Busing Owner Patrick Schommer said the driver smelled what he described as a “brake smell” and pulled to the side of the road in a turnout area just past the railroad tracks on Jungo Road.
Upon inspection, the driver of the bus noticed that the passenger side brake area was smoldering, asked all the passengers to evacuate the bus and gathered two fire extinguishers to try to cool off the smoldering.
Schommer said that all passengers had enough time to safely grab their belongings and exit the bus but that when the bus driver returned with the fire extinguisher the tires were on fire and it was not able to be extinguished with a fire extinguisher due to the high burn temperature of tires when ignited.
“We know that it started at the passenger side drive tires in that area, and because of the damage done we can only assume, but what I would guess is that we picked up a rock and it broke one of the airlines and built a bunch of heat on the brake and by the time the driver noticed it, it was too hot,” said Schommer.
There were no injuries to passengers or the driver and Schommer said there was never any smoke inside the bus and that passengers were safely loaded onto the second bus in the caravan and continued to the mine site, arriving approximately an hour to an hour and a half late to work.
“I’d like to thank the driver for getting everybody off safely, it’s very important to us that the driver did his job, that he noticed something was wrong and pulled off to safely and got everybody off the bus safely,” said Schommer.
Hycroft mine is located approximately 54 miles west of Winnemucca on Jungo Road, which is often reported to be very bumpy and rough once the pavement ends, with a series of bumps causing a washboard effect which Schommer said can be hard on the suspension and tires of a vehicle.