UPDATE: Sale Creek Jr ROTC safe after bus fire during trip
A bus fire Saturday ended safely for a group of Junior ROTC students returning home from a trip.
UPDATE: A bus fire on Saturday ended safely for a group of Junior ROTC students from Sale Creek High School returning home from a trip.
They were on their way back home from Charleston, South Carolina when the trouble began on Interstate 20 near Augusta, Georgia.
Students and their chaperones said it started off with the bus blowing a tire on the interstate. That's when the driver pulled over and noticed smoke and flames prompting everyone to get off the bus.
"It was kind of crazy, but I just kept calm and made sure to lead all the cadets away. Keep everybody safe. Keep everybody calm," Lt. Col. Megan Holloway, a senior at Sale Creek High School.
All of the 46 students and nine others aboard were able to get off the bus safely before the fire spread.
Cadet Lt. Col. Megan Holloway was one of the students on the trip.
The group was in the Charleston, South Carolina area visiting sites like The Citadel and the USS Yorktown.
They were about half way back home when a tire blew out on the interstate, which led to a fire.
"They saw a lot of smoke and then when we saw flames coming out toward the top, we knew that this was bad," Lt. Col. Dave Story of Sale Creek High School said.
Within minutes, a portion of the interstate was shut down to traffic.
The bus driver's fire extinguishers weren't enough to put out the flames, so firefighters from the North Augusta Department of Public Safety and Belvedere Volunteer Fire Department were called in to help. Students and chaperones watched all of this happen from the side of the interstate.
"I wouldn't think you'd have to plan for a bus fire or evacuating, but as long as they do what they're supposed to do and listen to you, then there's not going to be a problem," Storey said.
As they look back on the situation, they're grateful no one was hurt.
"Everybody was safe that was the biggest thing. I was very, very thankful that was the case," Holloway said.
It took a few hours for a replacement bus to arrive. People who noticed the group stranded along the interstate stopped to drop off snacks and water.