10 Passengers, driver escape, no one injured
BY BILL DEMAREST
PEARL RIVER – Fire broke out on a Transport of Rockland bus in Pearl River this morning, destroying the bus.
Pearl River Fire Chief Dave O’Brien said the driver and passengers all got off the bus safely and no one was injured. The cause of the fire is uncertain.
Passengers on the bus said that they could detect a burning odor when they got on the green and white TOR bus, and the situation became serious after they heard a pop. The bus stopped, everyone got off and then the bus burst into flames, passengers said.
The bus was a Route 92 bus going from Spring Valley to Nyack with 10 passengers on board. The fire broke out at the rear of the bus, but county officials do not believe it was an engine fire. Officials said that when the driver stopped the bus to check its condition, he could see flames shooting from the rear of the bus and he immediately evacuated the passengers and called 911 to get help.
The fire was reported just before 10 a.m. in the area of 254 West Washington Ave. in Pearl River. O’Brien said the bus was fully engulfed in flames when he and about 30 Pearl River volunteer firefighters arrived. Soon after firefighters arrived – with passengers standing about a half block away – an explosion could be heard coming from the bus.
O’Brien said firefighters needed about 20 minutes to knock down the fire, but it took about 90 minutes to find and put out all the pockets of fire that were in the bus. He said the fire did not damage any nearby homes or utility lines. Orange and Rockland Utilities was called in as a precaution to assist with the utility lines.
With the fire put out, the TOR bus was towed away.