UNION, NJ — Early in morning on Thursday, Feb. 20, the passengers of a charter bus on I–78 escaped just moments before the bus suddenly burst into flames.
The fire broke out just before 7 a.m. on the eastbound express lanes of the highway, in the vicinity of Exit 50 near Springfield Avenue. Video footage from ABC 7 Eyewitness News showed the bus parked in the eastbound inner lanes where the road splits into local and express lanes in Union.
Sgt. Lawrence Peele, of the New Jersey State Police, said that no injuries were sustained.
“The driver of the bus pulled over before the bus caught on fire,” Peele told LocalSource in a Feb. 21 phone interview. “There were no injuries. The cause is still under investigation.”
It is unclear how many passengers were on board, but at least 13 were seen waiting in the median for another bus to pick them up.
The eastbound express lanes on I–78 were closed, causing heavy traffic during the morning commute. All lanes were reopened around 8:30 a.m., but there were delays stretching back about 5 miles to Exit 45.
The bus had left Lehigh Valley International Airport in Allentown at 5:35 a.m. and made stops at a park and ride in Bethlehem and in Clinton before continuing east on Interstate 78 toward Wall Street, according to New Jersey 101.5 radio.
Mike Scanio, chief of the Union Fire Department, said the bus fire was still under investigation as of Monday, Feb. 24.
“As of right now, there is no update on Thursday morning’s bus fire,” Scanio told LocalSource in a Feb. 24 phone interview. “I can’t confirm how many passengers were onboard. The incident is still currently under investigation.”
The bus was operated by Trans-Bridge Lines, which runs daily service from western New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York.