By Ingrid Fernandez
Passengers aboard a West Line Bus on Tuesday morning had a terrifying experience as the bus suddenly erupted in flames near mile 60 on the George Price highway.
According to Manager of the West Line Bus Company, Usbaldo Castillo, the bus was transporting workers that morning to the Santander Sugar Factory. Around 6:00 a.m., he received a call from the driver reporting that heavy smoke was coming from the front of the bus.
He reported that an electrical wire connected to the engine had caught fire. He immediately asked the 45 passengers to get off the bus and they did so promptly.
The driver attempted to control the fire with a fire extinguisher and some gallons of water, which were on the bus, but by then the fire had engulfed the engine and the front tires. The blaze then quickly spread to the interior and lit up the seats.
Castillo said there were no injuries to any of the passengers but the bus was extensively damaged, and will have to be replaced.
It could have been tragic were it not for proper safety measures, like keeping a fire extinguisher and water aboard and following protocol by asking passengers to leave the bus, Castillo said.
The bus was later removed from the highway and the passengers transported to their place of work on another bus.
The Belize Fire Department reportedly took 30 minutes to reach the scene and extinguish the blaze.