A small transmission leak is believed to have caused the breakdown and small fire on an elaborate float during the 130th Rose Parade, the float’s manufacturer said Wednesday.
A small fire erupted aboard the Chinese American Heritage Foundation float about 90 minutes into Tuesday’s parade, bringing the flowery procession to a temporary halt at the intersection of Orange Grove Boulevard and Green Street.
No injuries were reported.
Tim Estes, president of Fiesta Parade Floats, which built the float, said in a statement that “preliminary information” indicates a “small leak created a fine mist of transmission fluid that made contact with a hot exhaust pipe.”
“The contact with the pipe created a small flame and a lot more smoke,” Estes said. “The small fire was quickly extinguished and the float was immediately stopped by the driver. Everyone was immediately evacuated for safety.”
The train-shaped float, called “Harmony Through Union,” depicted the Transcontinental Railroad’s completion on May 10, 1869, when two trains met face to face on the railway. Several descendants of the Chinese, Irish, German, African and Mexican laborers who built the railway were onboard the 95-foot float.
Once the fire was extinguished, a tow truck was brought in to move the disabled vehicle.
Despite the mishap, the float still went on display at the post-parade Showcase of Floats which continued Wednesday at Sierra Madre and Washington boulevards in Pasadena.
Estes said that once the Showcase of Floats is over, the company will work with Tournament of Roses officials to “determine and verify the exact cause” of the fire.
“Our primary concern is always safety and preventing issues like this from happening in the future,” he said.
It was not immediately clear if the company could face a fine from the Tournament of Roses, which puts on the annual parade. Such a determination will have to await a more thorough inspection of the float.