School Bus Catches Fire on Willowdale Ave. [Updated]

'The fire just roared,' said an eyewitness. 'It was like sparklers or fireworks.'


[Updated: Thursday at 6 p.m.] 

When Jason Uechi looked out from his living room window onto Willowdale Avenue shortly after 8 a.m. Thursday, the last thing he expected to see was a small yellow school bus engulfed in flames and billowing smoke.

But that's exactly what he saw.

Uechi said he saw a “huge amount of black smoke” emanating from the front end and roof of the bus.

"The fire just roared," said Uechi. "It was like sparklers or fireworks." 

Acting Battalion Chief James Ormsby said two Montclair Fire Department fire engines and other vehicles responded to the scene. The fire was "fully involved" by the time the department arrived, said Ormsby, with flames reaching high enough to melt electrical wires above it. 

No residents on the street lost power. 

A driver and school aide were the only two people on board the bus as the fire started, said Ormsby. Both escaped uninjured. 

Ormsby said by 9:09 a.m., the fire was extinguished and the charred bus was towed away. 

Uechi said his wife found broken glass and melted plastic on the street later Thursday morning. 

The investigation into the cause of the fire is still ongoing, said Ormsby. 

emiliac February 08, 2013 at 11:56 AM
I assume there were no injuries.


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