NEWARK — A group of senior citizens was able to avoid injury in a bus fire incident Tuesday evening in Columbus. The Licking County Aging Program was transporting 75 seniors to The Spaghetti Warehouse to eat and later to watch the fireworks of Red, White and Boom with the passengers riding on an LCAP bus and a bus chartered from Brewster Travel of Martinsburg.
Sometime before 5 p.m., before arriving at The Spaghetti Warehouse, while traveling on Interstate 670, a tire blew on the Brewster charter bus, causing it to catch fire and spread to the bus. The passengers were all able to exit the bus without injury, said Earl Jenkins, director of transportation with LCAP.
The LCAP bus reportedly pulled over to the side of the highway while the passengers on the burning bus exited. Police officers assured the passengers’ safety while directing traffic around the group.
Jenkins was unsure just how long it was before a second Brewster Travel bus arrived, but, “It was not very long at all,” he said. “Everybody was OK. They all worked really fast and made sure everything was taken care of really quick.” The passengers boarded the replacement bus and were taken to their destination in plenty of time for dinner and the fireworks.
Jenkins said that LCAP has used charter buses many times with Brewster, located in Martinsburg, in the past and have not had any problems. “It was just a fluke accident; nothing you can control,” said Jenkins. Calls to Brewster Travel were rerouted to their insurance company and were not returned.