The presence of mind shown by a bus driver averted what could have been a major tragedy and saved the lives of 52 passengers on board a Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (UPSRTC) bus after the vehicle caught fire.
The incident took place near Raj Nagar District Centre, Ghaziabad, on Saturday afternoon.
The bus had started from Anand Vihar and was on way to Moradabad. When it reached the RDC flyover, bus driver Suresh Singh spotted smoke coming from the front portion of the bus and stopped the vehicle immediately near Hotel Mela Plaza on Ghaziabad-Hapur Road.
“I had just descended the flyover when I sensed the fumes. An auto driver also signalled me about the fumes from the engine area. I stopped the bus immediately and the conductor and I alerted the passengers to move out safely,” said Singh.
While Singh and conductor Mohammad Amir were busy in evacuating passengers, a truck driver alerted the fire tender deputed outside the office of the district magistrate, nearly 200 metres away. The fire personnel said the truck driver stopped near the DM’s office and told them that a bus was on fire.
“The driver and the conducter showed amazing presence of mind and evacuated passengers to avert a major tragedy. We will recommend them for commendation. They also tried to use the fire extinguisher in the bus but the fire had spread by then. It seems to be a case of a short-circuit. All seats except the last two rows were damaged in the fire. A total of 52 passengers were inside the bus,” said PK Bose, regional manager, UPSRTC.
Fire officials also roped in two more tenders to douse the flames. It took more than an hour to douse the bus. The officials said a new bus was sent to ferry passengers to their respective destinations. Although no injuries or loss of life was reported, the luggage of some passengers were burnt.
In a similar incident on May 2, a school bus from Fr Agnel School in Vaishali caught fire due to a leak in the CNG cylinder. The locals, bus staff and firemen rescued 17 children who were trapped in the bus. The incident took place at Ahimsa Khand in Indirapuram while the bus was dropping children back home.