Safety

School Bus Catches Fire on California Freeway

Thomas McMahon
Posted on March 12, 2018
Authorities say that a school bus driver noticed smoke and pulled to the shoulder, and four adults assisted 23 children in safely evacuating before firefighters arrived. Photo courtesy CHP West Valley
Authorities say that a school bus driver noticed smoke and pulled to the shoulder, and four adults assisted 23 children in safely evacuating before firefighters arrived. Photo courtesy CHP West Valley

WOODLAND HILLS, Calif. — No one was injured when a school bus caught fire on a busy freeway here on Wednesday, authorities said.

The incident occurred after 1 p.m. as the school bus was transporting students back from a field trip. According to the Los Angeles Fire Department, the driver noticed smoke and pulled to the shoulder, and four adults — the driver and three teachers who were on board — assisted 23 children in safely evacuating the bus before firefighters arrived.

The Fire Department said in a press release that the school bus became “well involved with fire.”

Officer Daniel Sanchez of the California Highway Patrol told SBF that the bus was a 2006 Thomas Built Type D diesel model, equipped with lap-shoulder belts. He said that no issues were reported with evacuating the students.

Sanchez noted that the school bus driver did a good job in pulling over to a safe location and getting the kids away from the bus.

“Everybody made it out safely,” Sanchez said. He added that the bus was a total loss.

The school bus was operated by contractor Safeway Enterprises, transporting fifth-grade students from St. Jude the Apostle School in Westlake Village.

Traffic was reportedly backed up in both directions on the 101 Freeway. George Rihovsky, who was driving through the area on business, described seeing a group of about 20 students in burgundy polo shirts standing next to the freeway.

“Then I saw a bunch of fire trucks and police cars on the shoulder," Rihovsky told SBF. "Then I saw the school bus. It wasn’t burning anymore, but the top half of it was all black.”

(Full disclosure: Rihovsky is the father-in-law of SBF Executive Editor Thomas McMahon.)

Sanchez, the California Highway Patrol officer, said that another bus arrived to pick up the students. As of press time, the cause of the fire hadn’t been determined.

“We’re still working on that,” Sanchez said.

Here are more photos of the scene from KCAL/KCBS aerial photo journalist Stu Mundel:

Related Topics: activity/field trips, bus fires, California, evacuation drills, law enforcement, seat belts

Thomas McMahon Executive Editor
Comments ( 5 )
  • Buslady

     | about 9 months ago

    nobody refers to them as Type D anymore, they Type 1. ':-P everything turned out good, nobody be hurt. Except the bus. good driver in charge there.

  • See all comments
More Stories
News

Truck Collides With School Bus, Killing 2

A semi tractor-trailer reportedly enters the opposite lane of traffic and collides head-on with a school bus in Illinois, killing the driver of the truck and a school volunteer, police said.

News

School Bus Veers Off Road in Crash, Motorist Gets DUI

Christy Gilpatrick of Rhode Island crashes into the bus while driving allegedly under the influence of alcohol, causing the bus to veer off the road and land in the woods. Several students and adults on board were injured.

News

School Bus, SUV Catch Fire in Crash

As a Tennessee school bus driver starts his morning route, his bus reportedly strikes an SUV, which hits a utility pole and both vehicles catch fire. No students were on board at the time.

Be the First to Know

Get the latest news and most popular articles from SBF delivered straight to your inbox. Stay on top of the school bus industry and don't miss a thing!