MANATEE — A Greyhound bus with 14 people bound for Tallahassee caught fire in a Samoset neighborhood Tuesday afternoon.
Southern Manatee Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Rick Blanco said neither the driver nor passengers were hurt from the fire that spread from the rear engine compartment to passenger seats.
Firefighters received the call at about 3 p.m. Tuesday of the bus being fully involved. Two people were treated at the scene for chest pain and smoke inhalation.
Diesel fuel leaked into the street as firefighters sawed into the back of the bus checking for fire. When the fire was burning, flames reached about 25 feet and nearly touched power and cable lines, Blanco said.
John Castner of Louisville, who was riding on the bus, said the bus had issues accelerating up to full speed.
“(The driver) pulled over and restarted hoping we would not have the same problem,” Castner said.
Castner said the bus continued to drive until an SUV began honking, flagging the bus driver over, near the intersection of 30th Avenue East and 12th Street Court East.
The bus continued to burn as passengers evacuated, Castner said. Passengers were loaded onto a Manatee County Area Transit bus at the scene. Firefighters managed to salvage the luggage, Blanco said.
Abby Wambaugh, spokeswoman for Dallas-based Greyhound, said all passengers were placed on another bus to reach their destinations.
The company will conduct an investigation of what sparked the engine fire. She said other buses would be checked to see if there are similar issues.