HARRISON TOWNSHIP, OH (FOX19) - Passengers are crediting the bus driver's quick response with everyone's safety after a Chicago-bound Megabus caught fire on Thursday morning.
Emergency crews were called to a fire Thursday morning on a Megabus.com bus carrying 51 passengers on westbound Interstate 74 in Harrison Township, about three miles from the Ohio-Indiana border.
The company said at approximately 8:45 a.m. the double-decker bus departing from Cincinnati en route to Chicago experienced a tire issue that caused a fire in the bus' luggage compartment. Riders were immediately evacuated.
"The driver did an excellent job bringing the bus safely to a stop and getting everyone off the bus quickly and safely," Megabus.com said.
Passengers agree. Jordan Templin was on her way back to school in Chicago when the bus caught fire.
"We heard a loud noise and then, before you know it, there was dark gray smoke filling up the bus," explains Templin. "The bus driver was really quick. In about 15 seconds, he yelled everyone get off the bus. Not only that, but telling us to run away from the bus. No one knew whether it was the gas tank or what was causing all of the smoke."
Templin considers herself lucky following the fire.
"Less than five minutes later, we started to see the flames. It's kind of a reality check. We were on that bus less than five minutes ago," says Templin.
The company transported customers to a nearby community center following the accident. Some waited for another bus to continue their trip to Chicago. Others, including Templin, were picked up at the community center by a loved one.
"The bus was supposed to leave Tuesday but got canceled because of snow," explains Templin. "After today, I'm going for the third try tomorrow morning. Third time's the charm and hopefully I will be in Chicago by tomorrow night."
The company said the fire destroyed some luggage and it will reimburse customers for their losses. The company also said it is fully cooperating with local officials and the company is doing its own investigation.