School bus, cars destroyed by fire in Queens; 6 students rescued safely

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Wednesday, May 24, 2023
School bus, cars destroyed by fire in Queens
Several students were evacuated safely after a fire engulfed an entire school bus in Queens on Tuesday. Lucy Yang has the details.

REGO PARK, Queens (WABC) -- Several students were evacuated safely after a fire engulfed an entire school bus in Queens on Tuesday.

First responders received a call around 3:45 p.m. of multiple vehicles on fire at 65-44 Saunders Street in Rego Park.

Newscopter 7 was over the scene and captured a school bus engulfed in flames with black smoke swirling into the sky. The fire was so intense that it also spread to nearby cars parked along the street.

Firefighters are battling a fire burning through a school bus in Rego Park, Queens.

About six units and 30 firefighters responded and worked to put out the fire.

However, it was thanks to a real-life hero that this disaster did not turn tragic.

The school bus driver, with more than 30 years behind the wheel, is being given all the credit for shepherding half a dozen young, frightened students off the bus and away from danger.

"The bus driver did a great job, again there were six kids still on the bus and as soon as ignited was able to get them off quickly and get them safe and out of the way and none of the kids were hurt," FDNY Battalion Chief Brian Hanrahan said.

"The bus driver was fabulous," one neighbor said. "I think he's a true hero and the kids, thank God nobody was hurt. The cars can all be fixed."

The six students all attend a private Yeshiva in Queens about 15 minutes from the scene.

There's no word yet on how the blaze was ignited, but it is suspected that the fire started in the engine of the bus, then quickly grew, fed by the diesel fuel in the tank.

The battalion chief says he needed extra hose lines to battle not just the burning bus but also the burning cars and to keep it from engulfing the nearby apartment buildings.

The community was especially grateful that this did not end in a tragedy.

"It's all the sudden. Nobody could imagine something going to happen like this. Terrible," resident Lika Palag said.

Once the scene cooled down, the charred skeletons of the vehicles were towed away.

Fortunately, no one was injured.


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