A school bus carrying a high school track program in New Jersey transformed into a horror story when the vehicle caught on fire just as the team was preparing to depart.
As reported by New Jersey Advance Media, among other sources, the Shabazz boys and girls track team was loading on to its designated bus to travel to Jersey City for the Essex County Relays when the bus caught on fire.
“I started seeing smoke coming from underneath the front of the bus,” Shabazz head coach Damon Harrison told Advance Media. “My biggest concern was that the bus was going to go up in flames before everyone got off, but thank God everyone got off safely before it burst into flames. It was crazy.”
According to Harrison, there were 32 athletes on the bus when it caught on fire, with all of the student athletes able to safely evacuate the bus before it was engulfed in flames. Incredibly, the dramatic fire only delayed the start of the Essex Relays by 15 minutes, with officials also waiving the uniform regulations so that Shabazz could compete fully despite the team’s uniforms and many of its spikes being lost in the early morning fire.
No matter how the team fared at the meet, or the eventual trip there, everyone connected with the program was simply relieved that no one was injured in the incident.
“The athletes in the back of the bus saw the smoke first and started yelling for everyone to get off,” Shabazz assistant coach Justin Gassmann told Advance Media. “I’ve seen smoke from a bus before from lots of exhaust, but this was very different. I’m just glad no one got hurt.”