Bus Blamed for Starting Ellis Co. Grassfire

By Frank Heinz
|  Friday, Jul 22, 2011  |  Updated 3:13 PM CDT
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Bus Blamed for Starting Ellis Co. Grassfire

A charter bus with engine trouble sparked a grassfire in Ellis County near Italy Friday afternoon.

The bus driver pulled over to the shoulder of Interstate 35E after the rear engine compartment caught fire. 

All 30 people on the bus were able to get off safely and most were even able to grab their luggage from storage areas before the fire spread, damaging the bus and starting several grassfires.

Five fire departments quickly worked to control the blaze, which destroyed an estimated 30 acres.

The passengers gathered in a parched, unburned part of a field near the bus while they waited for a second bus to pick them up.

The National Weather Service said temperatures were near 90 degrees at the time of the fire.  The forecasted high for Friday was 100.

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