'Fire Ball' Causes Traffic Chaos At LAX After Empty Passenger Buses Catch Fire

More than 20 firefighters responded to the fire emergency at Los Angeles International Airport on Saturday night. No injuries were reported.

Two unoccupied passenger buses caught fire at Los Angeles International Airport on Saturday night, briefly exacerbating already-snarled traffic conditions as hordes of holiday travelers bustled in and out of the busy airport.

Around 9 p.m. local time, LAX officials said the Los Angeles Fire Department was responding to a “significant fire emergency” near the new LAX-it rideshare pickup lot. Fire officials said they arrived at the scene to find two liquid propane-powered buses fully engulfed in flames. A third bus also sustained damage from the fire, officials said.

It took 25 firefighters less than 20 minutes to extinguish the blaze completely, the LAFD said in a statement.

“There are no injuries, and no subsequent hazards identified. Though the fire’s cause remains under investigation, there is NO reason to consider it suspicious at this time,” the department continued.

Rob Pedregon, a Los Angeles Airport Police spokesman, told the Los Angeles Times that a “mechanical issue” was likely to blame for the fire.

Disgruntled travelers on Twitter shared their horror at the chaos caused by the burning buses.

“’Tis the season to walk to your LAX terminal because a bus is legit on fire and all the lanes are closed,” one woman lamented.

By late Saturday, the LAX-it facility had been reopened and was fully operational, airport officials said.

They warned, however, that “traffic remains very heavy around the airport if you are driving in tonight.” 

Earlier on Saturday, airport officials had warned that “traffic this upcoming week will be bad. Very bad.” 

“We are in the thick of the holiday travel season so please leave lots of extra time,” LAX tweeted hours before the bus fires erupted.