Early on Saturday morning, 40 passengers travelling in a Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) bus from Bengaluru to Chennai had a narrow escape after the bus caught fire.
The bus had slowed down near the Nazarathpet check post at 8.20am, when certain commuters on two-wheelers informed the driver that smoke was emanating from the back of the bus.
The alert driver and conductor managed to get all the passengers out of the bus safely before the fire engulfed the bus.
However, firefighters could not reach the spot due to traffic bottlenecks in the area and soon the bus was in flames and burnt out within an hour.
The KSRTC bus driver, Sridhar, who spoke to the media, said that he was the first one to get out to inspect the smoke coming from the rear of the bus.
"It was obvious that the bus would catch fire soon as the fire was spreading. Conductor Ramachandra and I got all the passengers out safely before things could go out of hand,” he added.
Immediately, firefighters at Poonamallee, Madurvoyal and Ambattur fire stations were alerted.
“The vehicle began burning near the check post, which led to a severe traffic jam on the Sriperambudur-Poonamallee stretch. The police were very effective in dispersing the traffic but by the time the firefighters arrived, the entire bus was gutted,” said KSRTC PRO Latha TS.
Luckily, no one was injured but a case has been registered at the Nazrathpet Police Station.
The KSRTC PRO said that officials have gone to Chennai to inspect the bus and determine the cause of fire, which according to the driver, began at the place where the engine is housed. The bus had left Bengaluru on Friday night at 10pm.
One of the passengers on the bus wrote on Facebook: "Here is a report from my friend who was on the bus. >>My Life Saved...Thank God & All Well-Wishers. The KSRTC AIRAVAT Bus # KA01F8288 that I traveled from Bengaluru to Chennai suddenly was on fire this (12-Aug-2017) early morning hours near Poonamallee. Thanks to local public crowd who came running shouting "fire, fire, fire, come out, come out"...in just matter of minutes we all came out and safely escaped before heavy smoke spreading inside the bus. As it was early hours, many passengers were sleeping whilst few just got up basis their alarm clock .Should appreciate passenger's cooperation while deboarding the bus though few were in their panic state of mind. Good news is that everyone came out so safely including their luggages and driver's box (metal box secured with locker) also got recovered."