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Friday, 17 November 2017 08:49

Students unharmed in bus blaze

Amazingly, more than 50 school students and staff were unharmed when their bus was destroyed by fire on Wednesday afternoon between Bruthen and Nowa Nowa. The quick-thinking bus driver ensured the safety of all passengers, who disembarked the bus before it was engulfed by flames. A mechanical issue caused a fire, which moved to the engine and soon engulfed the vehicle, leaving nothing but the bus’s frame and two front tyres intact on the Bruthen-Nowa Nowa Road. Mossi-Tambo, Johnsonville, Lakes Entrance and Buchan fire brigades joined the Bruthen unit at the scene after receiving a call at 12.47pm. The fire was under control at 1.50pm. CFA district 11 operations officer, Miles Malcolm, said passing traffic had stopped in an attempt to contain the blaze, however efforts were fruitless until fire brigades arrived. “Some people had stopped and tried to put out the blaze as there where several empty fire extinguishers beside the vehicle,” he said. “The fire had also got into the nearby grass and there was some run off in the gutter.

“There was also damage to the road such was the heat of the fire. We contacted VicRoads and the EPA to notify them of those issues.” Mr Malcolm said his number one priority was ensuring the children were safe. “Once we were able to ensure the welfare of the children was okay, which was our priority, we then were able to extinguish the fire,” he said. “The driver was able to pull over onto the side of the road and fortunately no one was injured. “We had another bus called in to take the children to their destination and we were able to signal it through the area and move the kids off quickly.” The blaze came on one of the hotter spring days the region has seen and Mr Malcolm believed that played a factor in the time it took to fully extinguish the fire. “We used a thermal imaging camera to identify any hot spots, particularly inside the bus with seats and other things. “The camera has a thermostat and a lot of the steel inside the bus was still at a very high temperature long after we’d extinguished the fire.”