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Tour Bus Carrying Suburban High School Students Catches Fire In Michigan, None Hurt

(CBS) -- A charter bus returning 40 Bloom Twp. High School students from a Michigan college tour to Chicago Heights caught fire Wednesday.

All aboard the bus managed to exit safely.

The fire occurred near Saugatuck, about 70 miles south of Grand Valley State University, in Allendale, Mich., which the 40 students and their chaperones had been visiting.


Saugatuck Twp. Fire Chief Greg Janik told WBBM that the driver heard a "pop" and pulled the tour bus to the side of the road about 2:15 p.m. Chicago time near Exit 41 on I-196. When he saw a tire on fire, he told everyone else to get off the bus.

Janik said the orderly evacuation was complete by the time the first firefighters arrived, only to find half of the bus already burning.

As firefighters extinguished the flames, they were taken to the nearby Spectators restaurant, where co-owner Pat Paquette told WBBM many of the teens were laughing off the incident.

The students and their chaperones were delayed for about 90 minutes, until they could obtain another rental bus from nearby Holland, Mich., to complete the trip home. They were underway at about 3:45 p.m., Paquette said.

Janik said it appears the bus' brakes overheated and caused the fire.

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