Charter Bus Filled with Kids Catches Fire on Tristate Tollway

No one was injured and the driver is credited with good judgment after he heard a tire blow on the Tristate Tollway.

Courtesy of Deerfield-Bannockburn Fire Department
Courtesy of Deerfield-Bannockburn Fire Department

A charter bus carrying Indiana middle schoolers and chaperones to Great America caught fire after blowing a tire on the Tristate Tollway in Deerfield Wednesday.

The driver heard the telltale pop of the tire and pulled off the highway a little after 11 a.m., according to the Deerfield-Bannockburn Fire Department. He pulled onto Deerfield Road, where the bus was emptied.

The fire started in the wheel area and spread to the engine compartment at the back of the bus before spreading to the cabin as fire trucks arrived, the fire department said. It took about 15 minutes to put out the fire.

No one was injured and the kids were able to get to Great America on another bus.

Deputy Chief Ray Larson credits the driver, Walter Lay, with quick thinking in getting the bus off the highway in order to get the passengers off safely.

“The tollway is extremely dangerous for anyone to stand on or nearby,” Larson wrote in a press release. “His and the staff’s direction to quickly evacuate the students on the bus prevented any injuries to the students.”

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