A Charlotte Area Transit System bus taking commuters from Charlotte to Rock Hill caught on fire as it traveled south on Interstate 77 Friday morning, stalling traffic for miles during morning rush hour.
Two passengers and the operator were on the bus when a fire ignited on the back of the bus, near the engine, near Gold Hill Road in Fort Mill, S.C., said CATS spokeswoman Krystal Greene.
The fire was on the outside of the bus, not in the interior where passengers were sitting, she said. Everyone inside was escorted off the bus and no injuries were reported.
As emergency crews responded to the incident, two lanes on the interstate were blocked. By 7:45 a.m., traffic was moving steadily again.
Lance Cpl. Gary Miller with Highway Patrol said the bus driver called Highway Patrol after the vehicle started smoking and she parked it in the fire lane. After everyone aboard got off, the fire apparently burned through the brake lines and the empty bus rolled backwards into the divider wall, blocking two lanes of traffic.
“That time of morning, it’s a miracle it didn’t hit a car,” Miller said.
The bus was headed towards Rock Hill, possibly while performing a “reverse commute” which mainly involves picking up passengers in Charlotte and taking them to Rock Hill, Concord or Gastonia, Greene said.
CATS plans to investigate the cause of the fire.