All members and coaches of Central Catholic High School’s junior varsity team were safely evacuated from the burning charter bus after the driver pulled over on Highway 26 near Portland.
What a way to start off the season.
A bus carrying a junior varsity football team went up in flames Thursday while en route to an away game near Portland.
The members of the Central Catholic High School JV football team were on their way to the first game of the season when their charter bus caught fire.
The 49 Central Catholic High School players and their two coaches safely evacuated the burning vehicle, and Oregon Department of Transportation video footage shows them looking on as firefighters battled the blaze.
Bus driver Jodi Fritz told KGW that she heard a few explosions and saw fire coming up the sides of the vehicle while they were on Highway 26.
“We pulled over and evacuated everybody,” she told the station. “I just told them, ‘We’re on fire,’ and, ‘Get out,’ and they did.”
The team tried to put out the flames with fire extinguishers, but it was no use. The driver, as well as a person passing by, called for help, and Portland Fire & Rescue crews arrived on the scene to douse the flames, KGW reported.
The team tried to put the flames out with fire extinguishers, but the blaze was too big, the bus driver said.
Fire officials told The Oregonian that a battery malfunction in the engine compartment sparked the flames.
Central Catholic High School confirmed on its Facebook page that no one was hurt.
“Thanks to the calm leadership of coaches Grant Hampton and Jon Taylor, the students are all safe and injury free. They are to be singled out for their handling of this potentially very dangerous situation,” Central Catholic Principal John Garrow told KGW.
The team did lose some equipment and personal property, but that will be covered by insurance, KPTV reported.
The game against Sheldon High School in Eugene was canceled and will be rescheduled for a later date.