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Santa Monica Big Blue Bus Evacuated After Fire Suppression System Goes Off  
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By Lookout Staff

April 27, 2017 -- Passengers aboard a Big Blue Bus that runs on Ocean Park Boulevard were evacuated Thursday morning after the bus' fire suppression system shut the engine down, Santa Monica transit officials said.

The shut-down -- which sends "a flume of white powder" from the engine compartment and rear end -- took place on Bus 1710 on Route 8 as it was traveling eastbound on Ocean Park at 31st Street.

"Just before the system went off, the engine shut down," transit officials said in a statement. "This is what it’s designed to do.

"We can confirm that there was no fire this morning on this bus. At this time, we are not clear what triggered the system to engage and we are conducting an investigation into the cause."

The passengers were safely evacuated and boarded an alternate bus that was deployed, officials said.

"All passengers, though inconvenienced, were soon back on their route to their destinations," they said.

The smart fire suppression system in every Big Blue Bus is "engineered to engage when the sensors detect a fire -- or even pre-fire conditions -- in the engine compartment," officials said.

"When the system goes off as it did this morning, it sends a flume of white powder out of the engine compartment and the back end of the bus, which aids in extinguishing the fire," officials said.

The powder is similar to the residue on vehicle airbags, they said.

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