LAKE COUNTY, Ind. — A bus owned by an Illinois church caught fire here on Saturday morning, but all passengers aboard were able to escape unharmed.
At about 12:45 a.m., a blue 2000 Champion commercial bus, owned by Herscher, Illinois-based Herscher Christian Church and driven by Sue Stevenson, was headed south on I-65 when the bus had a tire failure, according to a bulletin from the Indiana State Police. Stevenson said she saw sparks coming from the right rear tire.
As Stevenson pulled the bus over onto the right shoulder, the right rear tire caught fire. All 18 passengers — 16 teenagers and two chaperones — were able to exit as the fire quickly spread through the rear of the bus, according to the bulletin from the Indiana State Police. The bus was fully engulfed in flames within minutes.
A state trooper and a local towing company were able to transport all the passengers to an establishment at a highway exit, where they were able to make arrangements to get home.
The bus was transporting the teens home from an event in Michigan, according to a news release from Herscher Christian Church. The bus is a total loss, along with some of the luggage on board.
“We want to express thanks to the Indiana State Police, assisting EMS, the Indiana Highway Department, local Fire Departments, and all those that gave of their time and talents to assist with this situation,” said Jacob Garett, the senior pastor of the church, in the news release.