Videos: School Bus Bursts Into Flames On Freeway
Dozens of water polo players had a close call after their school bus burst into flames on the way back from a match.
The bus, carrying 41 athletes and an assistant coach from Foothill High School, was heading back from a game against Capistrano Valley High School on Wednesday night. While traveling northbound on the 5 Freeway near Jeffrey Road in Irvine sometime after 6 p.m., the bus driver noticed engine problems and smelled smoke, reports NBC LA. The driver of the bus then pulled over to the shoulder and, with the help of the assistant coach, quickly evacuated as black smoke began billowing from the back of the bus. "She was incredible," assistant coach Derrick Lozano said of the bus driver. "She was actually the one that made sure to go back to the bus and to make sure the student athletes were off while (the bus) was smoking."
While the students were evacuating flames began spreading from the back of the bus. The entire bus caught fire within two minutes or less according to Lozano. "The smoke started to intensify, which followed flames, and then the bus started to incinerate from the back moving forward."
Everyone was evacuated from the bus safely and no injuries were reported. The Orange County Fire Authority reported to the scene—along with Irvine police and CHP—after receiving calls around 6:30 p.m.
The cause of the fire was not immediately clear, but O.C. Fire Authority Capt. Stephen Horner told the L.A. Times that the check engine light did come on according to the driver.
A second school bus later arrived to pick up the stranded students, coach and driver.
Videos and images of the dramatic scene were shared on social media as drivers passed the scene along the freeway: